I don't even know why I'm saying this in an interview situation, but I always feel like I'm not good enough for some reason. I wish that wasn't the case, but left to my own devices, that voice starts speaking up.
People want to listen to a lot of music and do whatever they want with it. They don't want DRM, they don't want subscriptions. They don't want a player that only can do this but can't do that and you only have one copy. They don't want that. You know? I don't want that.
I'd rather not get into what I'm talking about lyrically. I think it's impossible not to demystify a song when saying what it's about. Music and art can be damaged severely by too much information; I say that as somebody that has participated in that.
My experience with record labels throughout my career has generally fallen into wishing I could do things that they're not built to do, whether it be arguing about having a nicer package - because I do believe some people care about that - to trying to always bank on art-versus-the-easy-commerce route; there's always been headbutting involved.
'Downward Spiral' felt like I had an unending bottomless pit of rage and self-loathing inside me and I had to somehow challenge something or I'd explode. I thought I could get through by putting everything into my music, standing in front of an audience and screaming emotions at them from my guts.
If you can use a search engine, you can find any piece of music that's been recorded for free. I'm not saying that's right, but it's a fact, and I'm surprised that more people don't accept or acknowledge that and try to adapt in some way.
I lived a fairly average, anonymous small-town life till I got the idea to do Nine Inch Nails. Then I locked myself in a studio for a year, and then got off the tour bus two years after that, and I didn't know who I'd turned into.
I spent a long time experimenting, saying, 'Here's a record that's free, or $5 if you want a nice version or $250 if you'd like a really nice coffee-table thing.' Everything felt like the right thing to do at the time and then six months later would feel tired. And I would feel tired. So that's one reason for returning to a major label.
As long as it feels valid to me and feels sincere, I'll do what I do under the moniker of Nine Inch Nails if it's appropriate. I would hate to think I would ever be in a position where I'm faking it to get a paycheck.
When David Fincher called me up a few years ago and said, 'Hey, I'd like you to score this film 'The Social Network,' I said, 'I'm flattered, but I really don't have any real experience scoring films, and I'd rather not screw it up on a high-profile project. And I like you and I don't want to compromise our friendship.'
When your culture comes from watching TV every day, you're bombarded with images of things that seem cool, places that seem interesting, people who have jobs and careers and opportunities. None of that happened where I was. You're almost taught to realize it's not for you.
I used to buy vinyl. Today, if you do put out a record on a label, traditionally, most people are going to hear it via a leak that happens two weeks - if not two months - before it comes out. There's no real way around that.
I often find myself listening to a record because a lot of people or magazines have told me it's good and I'm supposed to like it, and I try to stay in touch with what's happening and I'm also a fan of music. I find myself trying to like something that I really don't think is that great.
I do actually believe in love. I can't say that I'm 100 percent successful in that department, but I think it's one of the few worthwhile human experiences. It's cooler than anything I can think of right now.
A lot of what I've done as Nine Inch Nails has been governed by fear. I was trying to keep the songs in a framework that was tough, and I learnt a lot from Jesus and Mary Chain about how to bury nice pop songs in unlistenable noise - the idea being if you can get behind that wall, you find there's a pearl inside.
The idea of politics is just so uninteresting to me - I've never paid much attention to it. I don't believe things can really change. It doesn't matter who's president. Nothing really gets resolved. I don't know. I guess that's not the right attitude to take.
My life has been many examples of shortsighted goals that I thought would fix things. You know, if there's something broken inside me, if there's a hole in there, I thought: If I could just write a good song someday, then I'd be OK. You know, if I could just be on stage in front of people I'd never seen before and be validated by them.