Nine Inch Nails will unveil their new album, Bad Witch, on June 22nd. The six-track effort marks the completion of their trilogy of releases that began with 2016’s Not the Actual Events EP and continued on with their Add Violence EP last year. With about a month to go before the big day, NIN have shared the first single from Bad Witch.
It’s called “God Break Down the Door” and can be streamed in full below. Take a listen.
In an interview with Beats 1’s Zane Lowe, frontman Trent Reznor discussed the song, and how it features a particularly unique vocal performance (transcription provided by NIN’s representative):
“We find if we don’t watch ourselves we tend to try to get somewhere comfortable, because it feels better. And from the sound of the drums to the kind of frantic drumbeat to looking around the studio and seeing the untouched baritone tenor and alto sax that are sitting there. They’re there because they remind me that I can’t play them as well as I used to be able to. For 20 years, I’ve been saying I’m going to really get my technique back because it would be fun to do. And there they sit taunting me in the corner. We pulled them out and we just started fucking around really, led with Atticus [Ross] arranging. I was just kind of going, an hour performance kind of turned into this thing that felt like we hadn’t been there before and that started to reveal a whole different character. The space changed and then we felt motivated. When it came time to sing I was really just trying things out, just to see. I never had the courage to sing like that, I didn’t know I could sing like that.”
Reznor revealed more interesting tidbits about NIN’s upcoming material, including the trilogy’s evolution and Bad Witch’s place within it:
“Let me drop some cryptic information on you. The idea of this three EP thing was all too find truth in us figuring out who we are now and how we fit into the world. The first EP, Not the Actual Events, was meant to be from a personal angry self-destructive of reflection on that question and defining how I feel in a world, it feels stranger, part of that’s aging. Part of that’s because the world is getting weirder. Finding your place in a world that looks different every day little bit changes and reacting to that in the first EP through anger and self-destruction and sitting alone setting a match to your life.
The second EP, Add Violence, was meant to the same question. But looking for answers externally. Maybe it’s because of this and there’s comfort in that. Maybe there’s a reason things feel kind of crazy and it’s not that I’m insane that I’m in a situation that’s insane.
There was the third EP which has grown into an LP (Bad Witch). It was coming to one final look at that question from rejecting what EP No. two says, and it wasn’t an easy answer… The entire system has a much more bleak and pessimistic outlook and I want to say too much because it gives away kind of the what the thing is. But it wasn’t necessarily what we thought it was going to be when we started. I thought it was going to go more science fiction. I don’t really want to overwhelm you with cleverness and deep diving and part of that felt like an arms race and it also felt like a cop out.”
This September, NIN are expected to tour North America with The Jesus and Mary Chain in a supporting role. According to Reznor, NIN’s touring plans — specifically the decision to play smaller venues — was inspired by LCD Soundsystem.
“We felt largely inspired by LCD Soundsystem’s show at the Palladium. You know they could’ve played at the Forum but chose to play a bunch nights in a smaller room and we went there and we left talking about it for a week,” Reznor explained.
“We like LCD but we were blown away by it, it just felt good and it was exciting and it was right there and everybody was into,” he added. “We thought we want to do something in the world of that, where it feels like if you get in to see the show, you get a unique experience.”
Listen to the full interview below.