Recentemente il magazine americano "Wired" ha pubblicato un'articolo che riporta una dettagliata descrizione della genesi di una canzone del nuovo gruppo di T.Reznor,How To Destroy Angels; eccolo riportato integralmente!
Constructing a Song (“The Believers”)
by Bryan Gardiner
Lots of musicians have studios; Trent Reznor has an alchemist’s laboratory. On hiatus from touring, the Nine Inch Nails frontman has stuffed a converted garage with blinking electronic doo-dads, from modded synthesizers and sequencers to archaic drum machines. Reznor is using all this gear for his new band, How to Destroy Angels. Here’s how one song off the group’s forthcoming EP evolved from a seeming cacophony of beats and weird noise into a dense, polyrhythmic track.
Using a technique they perfected on NIN’s 2007 album, Year Zero, Reznor and producer Atticus Ross began by recording disparate families of musical noise. “We would create -with no preconceived notion of what it was going to sound like- several different rhythm sections or drumbeats and then chop between them to create something else”, Reznor says.
Reznor used his roomful of instruments -a vacuum-tube-powered drum machine, a Casio SK-1 keyboard with a bent circuit board, and so on- to put together a library of analog and electronic beats. He transformed those loops with software so they’d have a uniform tempo and loaded them into a keyboard. Then he could play them back on top of each other or cut between them.
Reznor’s wife, Mariqueen Maandig – former lead singer of West Indian Girl – came up with a title for the track (“The Believers”) and a snippet of lyric. Reznor and Ross wove it into an ominous, bass-heavy loop. “We won the battle as soon as that beat came out,” Reznor says. “It sounded cool and matched up with what Mariqueen was looking for.”
Building on top of this substructure, Reznor and Ross spent two days recording ancillary melodies on a Moog MiniMoog Voyager, an out-of-tune African marimba, a Ukulele, and other instruments. “It seemed like a good collision of things, a nice blend of organic and electronic,” Reznor says. They extracted and mixed in the best parts.
Maandig recorded three verses into a mic connected to sound-processing software called Speakerphone. Reznor sang the verses again an octave lower. Because “The Believers” wasn’t turning out to be a traditionally structured song, Reznor decided on a slow instrumental buildup to the first and second verses, another instrumental section, and then a sinister third verse to finish things off.
Once all the parts had been blended into ProTools, coproducer and longtime NIN collaborator Alan Moulder gave “The Believers” its final layer of polish using the studio’s mixing board. Moulder honed each element, mixed the track down to left and right channels, and sent it off to get mastered. Time from start to completion: seven and a half days.