Trent Reznor claims Kanye West and The Weeknd "ripped off" Nine Inch Nails' live shows
The accusation comes just weeks after Reznor lashed out saying Kanye's latest LP 'ye' sucks and that the rapper had lost his mind.
Trent Reznor recently took a shot at Kanye West during the press cycle for Nine Inch Nails’ new EP (oops! I mean album) 'Bad Witch', telling The Guardian that Kanye's new album 'ye' "sucked" and that “the guy’s lost his f**king mind.” But it looks like Reznor wasn't done yet. Now he’s accusing Kanye — as well as the Weeknd — of ripping off the immersive live shows he claims NIN pioneered.
In a new interview with Lauren Laverne on BBC Radio 6 Music, Trent Reznor claims that Kanye West and the Weeknd have “ripped off” Nine Inch Nails’ live shows. Reznor begins by discussing his band’s early usage of “screens and experimental production techniques.” He then says, “I remember us watching a string of bands on Coachella from the comfort of our couch. And every band has a video playing behind them. And every band is synced up with a convenient, polite lighting package, you know?" He adds, “And I saw Kanye West blatantly rip off–and the Weeknd rip off– our tours production-wise, which I’ll say without any hesitation. And they know.”
Reznor then went on to discuss how NIN have adapted their live show and their plans for their ongoing tour. He says, “When I think back to the Cure, when I saw them for the first time in the mid-’80s, or Jesus and Mary Chain when we opened for them, and all I remember of that was smoke, maybe a color, a little bit of someone’s hair, and real, real loud guitars. That’s exciting and I don’t see that happening much. So we went the opposite of the arms race we had been in of immersive, technological-based production.... It’s music being played somewhat sloppily with an element of danger and uncertainty and unpredictability.”
That became the template for what we’re doing now.” You can see a clip of the interview below. The full chat will air tomorrow (June 27) on BBC 6 Music.
Of course, whether Kanye and The Weeknd were inspired by NIN or whether they "ripped off" the stage design is the big question here, and knowing Reznor, it wouldn't be unfair to say that he was being a bit harsh with his accusations. As Pitchfork notes, Nine Inch Nails and Kanye have both worked with production designer Martin Phillips (the creator of the iconic Daft Punk pyramid from Coachella 2006) in the past.
In a 2017 Billboard interview, Sooner Routhier and Robert Long, the Weeknd’s lighting and production designers for his “Starboy: Legend of the Fall” tour, acknowledged Reznor's influence on their work. “We’ve always called [the Weeknd’s] aesthetic the Nine Inch Nails of R&B,” they said. “His music has so many dynamics and the visuals and lighting have to reflect that. But, it still has to be simple.” Routhier added, “I have always looked up to and respected Roy Bennett. His lighting designs for Nine Inch Nails and Prince have inspired me since I was in college.”