Nine Inch Nails have unveiled "God Break Down the Door," the first single from their forthcoming album Bad Witch, out June 22nd. The new track finds Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross shaking up their somber industrial palette with some otherworldly saxophone action, culminating in a chilling chorus. It premiered today (May 17th) on Zane Lowe's Beats 1 show on Apple Music, accompanied by a short interview detailing the new LP, the band's upcoming fall tour with the Jesus and Mary Chain (and its controversial pre-sale), and more.
Discussing "God Break Down the Door" with Lowe, Reznor described his and Atticus Ross' songwriting approach as a conscious attempt to connect with his past.
"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," Reznor explains. "For 20 years, I've been saying I'm going of 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 arranging. I was just kind of going. An hour-long 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."
Later, Reznor dropped a bombshell about the trio's long-planned trilogy of EPs, which began with 2016's Not the Actual Events, continued with last year's Add Violence, and was ostensibly set to conclude with Bad Witch, until the project grew into an LP.
"The idea of this three EP thing was all to find truth in us figuring out who we are now, and how we fit into the world," Reznor told Lowe. "The first EP, Not the Actual Events, was meant to be a personal angry self-destructive reflection on that question, and defining how I felt in a world that 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, 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, it's that I'm in a situation that's insane," he continued.
And then there is the third EP, which morphed into an LP — Bad Witch. "It was coming to one final look at that question from rejecting what [Add Violence] says, that it wasn't an easy answer," Reznor said of the upcoming release. "I can't point at that as a formula and that's what it was, and that the entire system has a much more bleak and pessimistic outlook ... 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."