Trent Reznor Doesn’t Get Drake’s Success, Calls Ashton Kutcher an ‘A–hole’
As a member of the Apple Music team, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor has found himself broadening his circles and in a new interview with Vulture, he discusses some of the experiences of learning about other musicians and the tech world as a whole.
During the chat, Reznor was asked about Drake, who has done several Apple Music exclusives and hosted his own Beats 1 show. The singer admitted that he's not really understood the appeal of the rapper, though he's been able to view how Drake has engaged his audience.
"I see what Drake’s been able to pull off in terms of being omnipresent and constantly engaging an audience that seems to enjoy the way he’s engaging them. I’m just not part of that audience. I’m not as well-rounded as I used to be about pop culture," admits Reznor.
He adds, “I’m not saying pop music isn’t well-crafted or the people who make it aren’t wonderful, but it’s not for me. I’ve asked people, 'What is it that’s good about Drake?' I’ve said to my friends at Apple: 'Explain to me why.' As the old guy, I don’t see it."
Reznor said it wasn't meant to be a cynical question, but he never really got the answer he was looking for. "Knowing the right way to interact with your crowd in a way that feels cool is a good thing," says Reznor. "I'm just doing it for a different sized audience. The stakes aren't the same for me, and that's fine."
Meanwhile, Reznor went on to address his place in the tech world, lamenting, "My experience with Beats Music, and then at Apple largely was dismissed from outside, maybe justifiably, as here’s another celebrity moron holding up a phone and expecting some sort of credit."
He continues, "That kind of situation, which mine isn’t, would be insulting to the people that actually are doing the important jobs. And I don’t want to hear about Ashton Kutcher’s a f--king tech genius. I don’t give a s--t about that. He seems like an a--hole." Kutcher has a history as a venture capitalist, investing in companies like Skype, Foursquare and Airbnb, but Reznor's work in tech is more hands-on than that.
He laughs, "I don’t know where that rage just came from. But all I can say is that I’ve learned a hell of a lot from working at Beats and Apple. I’ve seen a lot, and it’s interesting to be behind the scenes and meet really cool, smart people that I highly respect. Now, and I’m not talking about Apple here: I’m not yearning to be a tech guy. Being in that world has made me realize the true value of being an artist. The economics of music aren’t what they should be, and the culture isn’t giving the arts its fair due, but humans are always going to respond to emotion and storytelling. I believe that as much as I ever did. More, even."
These days, that artist side is getting more of the spotlight. Reznor has continued building a strong career in music scoring with his partner Atticus Ross, and Nine Inch Nails recently delivered the second piece in a trilogy of EPs titled Add Violence. The group just returned to the road for the first of several dates in the coming months.
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