We are the How to destroy angels collective: Mariqueen Maandig, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Rob Sheridan. Our debut LP "Welcome oblivion" is out today at http://store.destroyangels.com and streaming free at http://soundcloud.com/howtodestroyangels

We have about an hour to answer questions (busy day). We'll indicate which of us is answering each question.

Verification: https://twitter.com/destroyangels/status/309016890334924800

EDIT: This has been fun, thanks everyone for asking some great questions - far more than we could ever hope to answer. We have to head off to other commitments now. We will do this again in the future.

Comments: 1474 • Responses: 34  • Date: 

minusxero467 karma

Trent: In the Sound City documentary, Dave Grohl describes you as being a musician that uses technology as a tool or instrument, rather than a crutch. Which musicians currently creating music today would you point out as doing the same? Who out there impresses you with their use of technology to create music?

destroy_angels673 karma

[Trent] I'm not sure if this answers your question or not, but... I don't really care if you can play an instrument or not. I don't think that's a mandatory skill required to make music that can connect with people. I do think computers have made it easy to make lazy music that sounds nice. I find a fair amount of what's championed today feels to me like it falls in that category - much more fashion than substance. There's also a lot of current music I think is great - and as someone pointed out below, The Knife is a good example.

thuh_dood_man335 karma

My question is for Mariqueen, Atticus, and Rob. Is it annoying that so many people are aksing about NIN in this AMA?...myself included. Do you feel that HTDA will ever rise out of the shadow of such a collasus?

Edit: For anyone wondering. The question I asked regarding NIN was if Trent, and the rest of HTDA, would be open to a HTDA/NIN tour.

destroy_angels1492 karma

[Rob] It's not something that really annoys us - it's fairly inevitable. I do find it funny that the NIN fans who don't like HTDA equally cite that it either is too much like NIN or not enough like NIN. What's weird to me is that these people focus so much on the comparison one way or another, and aren't able to just judge HTDA on its own. Do you think it's not enough like NIN? That's why it's called something different. Do you think it's too much like NIN? The band is made up of Trent, two guys he's been working closely with for 10+ years, and his wife - of COURSE it's going to have similarities. How much it was or wasn't like NIN was never a goal or concern for us in creating HTDA. It's simply what we wanted it to be, and we're extremely proud of it.

moonyj303 karma

I turn away for a second and Rob Sheridan is in the band. How did Rob go from NIN art director to joining the band? It's a pretty fuckin' cool transition if you ask me.

destroy_angels585 karma

[Trent] He's like that. Gotta keep your eye on that dude.

ninjawpb248 karma

Atticus Ross : I really loved soundtrack for Touching Evil, any chance to leak it to us by mistake ? looks like this show is dead (even if i ripped and translated both us and french dubbed version, and also bought the only episode on dvd)

destroy_angels499 karma

[Atticus] That's a good idea. I'll hunt through the old drives.

pado_204 karma


destroy_angels303 karma

[Rob] There will be multitracks. We're just figuring out the best way to put them out there. What do you guys think? The record label has suggested using indabamusic.com as a way to have an organized remix contest - thoughts on that site? We're not familiar with it. Other ideas?

pado_82 karma

Why not Remix.nin.com ? You managed to put Saul Williams, Jane's Addiction and Street Sweeper Social Club, does it have to do with the record label ?

destroy_angels164 karma

[Rob] The problem with remix.nin.com is that it's tremendously out of date. We just haven't had a budget to modernize it, and it just doesn't feel like the best place for an HTDA contest right now. I really love what we started over there though, and hope we can revisit and modernize it.

link343166 karma

Hi guys. I have a few questions:

  • With the news of NIN coming back, is HTDA over or will it be an on-going project?
  • Are there any plans for additional HTDA tour dates beyond the 13 up now?
  • This mashup (Head Like a Hole x Call Me Maybe) popped up on my twitter Timeline this morning. Thoughts?


destroy_angels229 karma

[Mariqueen] 1) HTDA is definitely not over. We'll continue to work on it as long as it's fun and rewarding to do so. 2) Quite possibly... 3) Honestly I haven't even heard it yet. But I'll make that priority #586 for today.

indecisean146 karma

On track 7 of "Welcome oblivion" ("Too late, all gone") there appears to be a mastering anomaly where part of the song plateaus on a lower audio spectrum. With some artists I'd assume this was a mistake in mastering, but with the parties involved in HTDA…………seemed maybe it was intentional? Can you tell us any more about that, please?

P.S. Congrats on the release of the record! Really enjoying it (and have loved Rob's contributions/the Pitchfork premiere microsite).

destroy_angels197 karma

[Trent] Intentional. We mastered that song several times, and that one sounded the best to us, hence its inclusion on the record.

Aubron134 karma

Posed towards Trent: You've made clear that you've been disappointed with the "tip jar" method of music release. What hopes do you have for change in distribution models in the future? Streaming services like Spotify have proven to be great alternatives to piracy for consumers, but apparently far less profitable for artists. Anything you can share with us about Beats Electronics new music subscription service and how it will be different for consumers and artists?

destroy_angels189 karma

[Trent] Regarding Beats: Rob has been involved from the start on this project as well, and I will turn this answer over to him while I go pee. [Rob] The opportunity to work on the Beats Music service happened to come up at a time when Trent and I had, as music fans and consumers, been collectively identifying a lot of shortcomings with the existing (legal) music services. This has led us to create a service that considers everything from the perspective of what is best for the user's experience. Basically, we're designing what we wish a music service would be, and it's been an exciting challenge. We're also taking into consideration the needs of artists, and incorporating tools to help artists out in every way that we can while bolstering the artist-fan relationship. It's exciting enough that I find myself anxious for it to be finished so I can use it myself.

anxdiety125 karma

A long time fan here, so thanks for doing this. I've got a few questions:

Trent/Mariqueen: Will your children (Lazarus Echo and ????) be on the tour with you? How has being parents changed your perspective of touring and being on the road?

Rob: How has things changed for yourself going from being in the shadows and behind the scenes to being a stage performer and direct influence on the music itself?

General: Nine Inch Nails was renown for their live performances in the way of lighting and visuals. What can we expect with the live performances of HTDA? Any special surprises planned along the way?

The new album is awesome (Strings and Attractors being my favourite thus far). I cannot wait to see you in Toronto in April.

destroy_angels169 karma

[Trent] We haven't toured yet, so I'm expecting there will be more diapers packed than usual. [Rob] So far it hasn't changed much, but doing the live shows is going to make it quite a bit different. I'll be running visuals live from the stage - having never done that before, I'll have to let you know after the first show how it is being a stage performer. I think it's going to be a blast though. Regarding the visual presentation of the live performances, this will be very different from NIN shows, but an extremely visual experience. We're thrilled to be working with Roy Bennett and Moment Factory again...

Ret0x28 karma

More or less talcum powder than previous tours? Or was that flour?

anxdiety23 karma

Talcum powder instead of the cornstarch is an awesome idea.

destroy_angels198 karma

[Trent] Actually, that's not an awesome idea.  Douse yourself in it, run around screaming and sweating for a couple hours (preferably drunk) and see what happens.  Stick with the Argo.

scorpiusdiamond90 karma

There seems to be an underlying theme to the album, (like albums The Downward Spiral or Year Zero) was this an intention from the start, something that happened over time, or just a coincidence due to the mood surrounding the making of the album?

Also thematically, was your interest in glitch art (like used in the album artwork and graphics) an influence on the music, or did it just seem appropriate for the music as it sounded when it finished?

destroy_angels214 karma

[Mariqueen] We started by experimenting with musical ideas to see what caught our interest. We ended up getting the most excited by old sequencers and analog gear. We as a group spent a lot of time talking about various ideas, and realized we all felt a sense of paranoia about the times we live in. The rate of information, and how everything has become less personal, the way people interact, the consequences of technology moving faster than we as a species can keep up with, and its impact on society. That sense of paranoia provided the backdrop for the subject matter of most of the songs, and it matched up perfectly with the music we were excited about.

Frothy_Ham78 karma

This question is for Atticus.

My Big Hero is one of my favorite albums...great stuff. Any plans for a new full length 12 Rounds album?

destroy_angels105 karma

[Atticus] Not right now... but you never know.

sublimitlcc77 karma

Who's the best at SmashTV?

destroy_angels148 karma

[Trent] Of course, I am.

destroy_angels124 karma

[Rob] It's true. He's untouchable at the dual-stick shooters like that and Robotron.

miyan977 karma

HTDA: who's idea was it to add the _ at the end of the name and will you ever adopt any other cool symbols for future releases?

destroy_angels446 karma

[Trent] That move was mine. I'd like to work my way up to an umlaut, but I wanted to ease into it.

Ret0x77 karma

For Trent: You seem to be working a lot recently (HTDA, Movie scores, new NIN tour/album(?) coming up, family life). How is it juggling all of these things?

Edit: Pardon me. Rob and Atticus are involved in some of those other things. I'm not sure of Mariqueen's involvement in projects outside of HTDA.

destroy_angels147 karma

[Trent] At this very moment it feels a bit overwhelming, as everything is converging at the same time. However, I enjoy the challenge.

pushingreality71 karma

Rob: I have consistently admired your art direction for NIN, and am completely enamored with the visual work you've done for HTDA thus far. The amount of detail and painstaking effort put into capturing photos processed through what looks like the craziest setup I've ever seen is inspiring; the results are fantastic. What inspired the vision for the album, and has it been a collaborative process on the visuals, or more your own direction?

destroy_angels126 karma

[Rob] Thanks. The visual direction of this album came about first from the concept of the record. Trying to express the anxiety of information overload, the end of mankind as both terrifying and transformative, apocalypse and evolution, etc. I was inspired by the way Trent and Atticus set up rules for themselves around the way they record music for each project, and the analog methods they were experimenting with for this record that tied into its themes. So I started looking for a visual analogy for that, and also a visual analogy for information overloading the pipeline it's being sent through - of signals unable to display coherently. It led me down the road of experimenting with analog cables and old CRT monitors and VHS decks. The result was a set of rules I came up with for creating the visuals. As much of a pain in the ass the process is sometimes, it's strangely freeing to work within constraints. Not only does it force a rigid visual consistency, it takes Photoshop out of the equation entirely (the CRT texture makes the images largely uneditable in post, besides color corrections). Sometimes there's something extremely daunting about a blank document in Photoshop, because you can go absolutely ANYWHERE with it. Setting up some limitations has proved really useful.

Bachy60 karma

Absolutely love the album and the music videos you've released for it thus far.

Are you all planning on releasing any other videos for the album?

Also, is it safe to say that the live performances you've currently got lined up will be as much of a visual experience as it will be musically (ala NIN LITS tour)?

destroy_angels108 karma

[Mariqueen] Thank you. We have a couple ideas kicking around for videos, we'll see if they come about or not. We've spent the last year working on the presentation of the live show, and we're excited for you to see it. It's very much unlike anything you've seen before.

russizm40 karma

What will the camera policy be at these shows? It was always awesome to see the show you just saw online the next day but also has the spoiler element to it. Should I go in blind?

destroy_angels134 karma

[Rob] Our intention is for an open camera policy, but we haven't dived into specifics with the venues yet, so I don't want to make any guarantees. In the case of this show, I think if you are able to see it in person you should go in blind. It's going to be a difficult thing to convey on video (although we'll try our best for the Coachella live stream). Also, regarding the comparison to NIN's Lights in the Sky: The HTDA show will be a very visual experience, and all of the creative team from Lights in the Sky is working on this. BUT, please do not go in expecting Lights in the Sky, because this is a very very different presentation from NIN. This is going to be more of a statement, more of an audio/visual installation than a rock concert. Probably a lot of people aren't going to "get" it, but hopefully they'll walk away saying "I'm not sure what the hell I just watched, but it was pretty cool."

Ciemnika49 karma


destroy_angels77 karma

[Atticus] A wide variety. Trent got his Serge system just as we were beginning writing the record, which features heavily along with a consistently changing recipe of exotic modules, and a bedrock of the classics (ARP Odyssey, Moog Voyager, Korg MS-20, etc). Although the emphasis was on hardware, a number of soft synths were used alongside.

brettrosey48 karma

Trent - How much has HTDA influenced the way you're planning on changing things up with NIN?

What have you learned about yourself during the process of creating an album for a band other than NIN?

destroy_angels117 karma

[Trent] Working with David Fincher taught me a lot about collaboration, and HTDA allowed me to work in a band environment that I found very rewarding. I don't know that I was ever comfortable enough with myself earlier in my life to be able to open up and collaborate. Regarding NIN, what's interesting to me about re-assembling it is trying some new things out with a different type of lineup. We're not deep into NIN rehearsals yet, but the idea is exciting.

sonicnurse46 karma

Trent- Rob has been your collaborator for more of your career than any other (so it seems) and has recently earned full fledged status in the band. Can you tell us more about how this collaboration came to be and how it has evolved? What is a typical workflow / brainstorming process between the two of you? Thanks for the sound + vision!

destroy_angels85 karma

[Trent] Rob has been an integral part of my creative world for years, and when HTDA was forming we thought it would be interesting to have him involved as an equal partner from inception so that a visual voice was present even before the music was being recorded. It's made for an interesting new form of collaboration and it's helped shaped the sound as much as anyone playing any instrument would.

Leutberg46 karma

The band: At first, thank you very much for a wonderful record, I really enjoyed it. Trent: Regarding the promised NIN The Fragile 5.1 reissue – is there any chance multitracks would be released (at least for some songs)? I know the record is heavily sonically layered, so the number of files would be pretty damn high…but that’s also the reason I’m asking – having the chance to hear that incredible mix deconstructed would be great. Thank you.

destroy_angels151 karma

[Trent] I see The Fragile 5.1 is the new Tapeworm... so the only appropriate answer I can give you is "soon."

DBritann42 karma

Hello. Thank you for releasing new music, especially on my birthday; which is today btw. Kudos to you all for the music and the videos. Trying my hardest to make it to the Chicago show. :)
One question: Can I get a "Happy Birthday" from you all? :)

destroy_angels124 karma

Happy birthday!

soulsteelgray34 karma

For anyone: Did y'all ever get around to listening to some of the voicemails left on Daisy's Music Hack Day app? And if so, what was one of the more memorable voicemails that was left (hopefully memorable in a good way)? Myself, I am not ashamed to say that I'm picturing a fan breaking into sobs halfway through a voicemail, and that could be taken as good or bad...

destroy_angels57 karma

[Rob] Thanks for the reminder, I need to get those from Ian. I'm sure the results are horrific.

Darknight00732 karma

Just wanted to say that you all did an amazing job on the album I bought it this morning and I am just hooked! I'm hoping to see you guys at the fox theater in Pomona. My question is how was the writing and recording process on the album? Which songs were your favorite to write and which ones are you looking forward to perform?

destroy_angels65 karma

[Mariqueen] We spent a long time writing the record. For the most part I focused on lyrics and melodies, and Trent and Atticus developed the music, but that wasn't always the case. Favorite track to write? Ice Age was one I found very easy to write, but we had a hard time mixing it to get it right. And the track Welcome Oblivion sounds like it will be fun to perform live.

voidnz28 karma

Is there any plans to release some live footage online for those of us overseas and can't experience it?

destroy_angels66 karma

[Mariqueen] We are planning on being part of the Coachella webcast for this very reason.  We have no details on this yet but check their site (or ours) for details closer to showtime.

nin341425 karma

Trent/Atticus - are there any plans on incorporating some of the work from The Social Network/TGWTDT into HTDA's live set?

destroy_angels70 karma

[Atticus] No.

Ret0x25 karma

Any chance of touring in Canada other than Toronto?

destroy_angels72 karma

[Rob] This is an answer to every "are you coming to city/country X" question: We don't know. With NIN tour plans falling into place, future HTDA tour dates are completely up in the air, and not something we are directly in control of right now. The HTDA production is a complicated one to move around, so we'll just have to see how this first run of dates goes and take it from there.

paul_guyet23 karma

Did anything originally intended for HTDA end up on one of the scores or vice versa? What, in particular?

destroy_angels59 karma

[Atticus] No, every project is specifically approached as its own entity. The leftovers from each project (and there are many) don't get re-used on the next.

Shnoorum21 karma

A quick question to Rob. I absolutely love the artwork. The album cover in my opinion is the best album cover ever. Sorry, enough ass kissing. I'm wondering if theres any plans on releasing a DVD with a compilation of videos, live footage, and artwork? Probably a bit early to ask but hell, no harm in asking. Thanks for your time

destroy_angels37 karma

[Rob] Thank you. It's too early to say, but I'd love to compile all the visual elements into something cohesive, especially when we have live tour footage to include. I'm thrilled with how many videos we've been able to pull off for this release, and hopefully there's more to come.

Ret0x21 karma

Rob: In the past you've been primarily the art and media guy on the projects. But now it seems you're performing on the album? Which instruments do you play?

destroy_angels71 karma

[Rob] Check our other answers for a bit more clarity on this, but my role in the collective is primarily visual, influencing the project in visual and conceptual and presentational ways. We're trying to expand the idea of what a "band" can be, make it more holistic and treat visual contributions as equally important. This will be much more clear in the live shows where I'll be running the visuals from on stage - but I'm capable of playing a synth part here and there, so I've done a bit of that as it pertains to executing the music in a performance setting (like in the Keep it together video).

paradox121618 karma

Was the musical shift towards a more ambient sound on Welcome Oblivion a conscious decision or did it just happen completely naturally?

destroy_angels38 karma

[Atticus] It was a completely natural shift, somewhat informed by the discoveries and techniques we'd come across doing film scores.