For all the grim, artfully arranged violence that surrounds them, Trent Reznor’s lyrics have always contained a hefty dose of truth. (“Love sucks.” “We all have a tendency toward self-destruction.” “I want to fuck you like an animal.”) So it’s not entirely surprising to hear Reznor—who’s gearing up to tour again, after a long stint working as an (Oscar-winning) soundtrack composer and consultant for Apple—lay out his opinions on our current president in bluntly accurate terms, i.e., “The president of the United States is a complete fucking moron.” That’s the Nine Inch Nails rocker talking to The Village Voice, as part of a much longer profile on his modern-day approach to misery. “That’s what gets me the most” Reznor added, elaborating his opinion on moron-in-chief Donald Trump. “That he’s this vulgar, grotesque dope, everything I hate in people.”
Reznor had just finished describing how he talks about politics with his four kids, where his stance is more inclined toward letting them make up their own minds. “Look, I don’t think he’s a good guy,” he recently told his six-year-old son, after being asked whether Donald Trump was a bad guy. “Some people do. I don’t think he believes in science and I don’t think he believes people should be treated decently and I don’t think he tells the truth. That’s why I don’t like him,” which, fair enough.
Aside from politics, Reznor seems weirdly satisfied as a 52-year-old dad, albeit one who occasionally still has to yell at his lighting designer for setting him up with a fancy white curtain to perform in front of, instead of the “piss-stained sheet” he’d asked for. If nothing else, he seems completely self-aware, discussing his anxieties about NIN’s role as aging elder statesmen at festivals, and the weirdness of becoming “Trent Reznor, corporate employee” during his time at Apple Music. Discussing the release of his latest EP, Add Violence—but only after first asking, “Is drinking apricot LaCroix going to harm my credibility?”—Reznor goes off on a brief tangent about its narrative qualities, before pulling himself back down to Earth. Declaring the album “an interesting narrative that feels important and relevant to what is happening in the world right now,” Reznor pauses. “I sound pretentious.” Still better than being a grotesque, vulgar moron, at least.