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Nine Inch Nails Drummer Ilan Rubin on Band’s Return, Work With Angels & Airwaves + Paramore

Ilan Rubin
Jo Hale, Getty Images

The year 2013 is turning into quite the busy one for drummer Ilan Rubin and he wouldn’t have it any other way. The multitalented rocker just released the ‘Exhibit A’ EP from his own band the New Regime, has returned to the drum kit for the resurrected Nine Inch Nails and has used his spare time to work with Paramore on their album and touring and with Angels & Airwaves on new music, as well.

Loudwire spoke with Rubin who gave us an update on all of his projects. He went in-depth about The New Regime in Part 1 of our interview here. In Part 2 our interview below, Rubin speaks specifically about Nine Inch Nails’ return and balancing his other musical projects.

You joined Nine Inch Nails toward the end of the band’s touring prior to a long break. How gratifying is it for you that Nine Inch Nails are back and that you’re still part of the process?

Well, it was a nice call. It was definitely an honor to be called back. Nine Inch Nails are kind of notorious for having various lineups, so like I said, getting the call back was very cool.

I really, really enjoyed the Nine Inch Nails experience. It felt like the kind of band that I should be part of, so the fact that it’s back three or four years later is kind of cool. That span of time really kind of flew by. So it’s just an exciting thing to get back to and I like the amount of work that goes into it. And we’ve got the shows, the summer and the fall, so it’ll be a great experience.

You mentioned the varied lineups and there is a new grouping of musicians yet again, but these guys are very much pros in the industry. When you’re starting fresh with new players, how long does it usually take to get up to speed and form a comfort level?

Well last time I was stepping into a band that had already been playing together for quite some time. This time it’s a completely fresh lineup. I’m sure it’s going to go well because as you said, they’re all pros. But stepping in day one, it is going to be a completely new thing. I mean five or six guys have never played together before. So not only that, but some of these guys are going to be playing these song for the first time and I have the luxury of having gone through most of this material before. So it’s going to be a very new experience, and I’m intrigued as well, but I’m sure it’s going to go well.

And I saw some things where there might be seeds of song ideas, but just curious if you had any idea on how things are coming on new Nine Inch Nails music?

I don’t know to be honest with you. That is truly Trent [Reznor]‘s world.

The New Regime is where you have the most control over things, but you’ve worked with Nine Inch Nails. You spent time in the studio with Paramore on their last record and have worked with Angels & Airwaves. Does each project bring its own set of challenges or is it old hat for you playing with a variety of groups?

I don’t want to reduce it to “a gig is a gig” because I take everything I do as seriously as possible, but everything is it’s own thing, I should say. I will always try to bring as much to the table as I can. With Angels, for example, I was playing piano on a song or two and playing synths and drums on a song and everything I do kind of demands its own thing and whatever anybody needs from me is what they get. But they all are very different.

For example this year, it was very fun playing with Paramore for some odds and ends. We did an Australian tour, some Asian dates and European shows and some TV stuff and that was a lot of fun, but no matter what, when you’re playing shows you have about 20 songs to get into and practice and all the time put in for that. And it’s a pretty serious operation, but I enjoy that though — gearing up for a tour, learning all new material and having it become second nature, it’s always fun.

Obviously we know about Nine Inch Nails and The New Regime, but any other projects filling your time these days?

Well earlier this year I was writing with Tom [DeLonge] on some new Angels stuff. It was very casual, but I would say we got about 7-8 songs pretty done. So whenever I have the time, and he’s busy with his own things as well, but whenever we can get together I’m sure we’ll keep adding to that and sooner or later we will have an album’s worth of material. So that’s it’s own thing.

And then something that I’ve been dabbling with in hotel rooms and whatnot is composing some music for film trailers and stuff like that. I find that very appealing. There’s nothing specific I can talk about, but it’s that feel that I’m intrigued by, scoring for film, and I’m very intrigued by that stuff.

Are you coming up with things you think might be cool for a movie or are you actually shown scenes and writing around that?

Well what I’m doing right now is I’m talking to a music licensing and production company who have a handful of composers that they get music from and that stuff gets sent out to trailer houses and gets placed if they like it. So it’s one of those things where I’m contributing to a pool of music. But it’s fun and a whole new process that I’m enjoying.

Our thanks to Ilan Rubin for the interview. You can catch him behind the kit with Nine Inch Nails at festival dates this summer and fall. The New Regime’s new EP, ‘Exhibit A,’ can be purchased here.

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