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Trent Reznor Admits He Was ‘Intimidated’ By The Idea Of Working With Halsey

Halsey came out with one of the year’s most intriguing pop (or at least pop-adjacent) projects, If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, thanks in part to her collaborators, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails. Now, the trio is the subject of a new Billboard interview, and in it, Reznor admits that he and Ross were initially intimidated by the idea of working with Halsey.

Reznor says when the possibility of collaborating with Halsey was presented to him, he was concerned that the expectation was for him to adapt his sound into something more pop-friendly:

“We haven’t paid that much attention to popular music in the last few years. I couldn’t name most songs by people in the top 100. It’s not out of being elitist or ‘It’s not cool,’ it just doesn’t feel like it’s for me, and music is a thing that I need to help me figure out who I am. And to come along and work with Halsey, I think initially, we were intimidated. ‘Is it a pop star, and does that mean there are big businesses affiliated with it and it has to feel a certain way?’ We don’t want to f*ck that up, and we’re not out to troll. We were envisioning, to go to [the] worst-case scenario, ‘At some point, someone’s going to talk sense into Halsey that this could be career-sabotaging because it’s not going to be a TikTok track.’ But we were really impressed with [Halsey’s] artistic fearlessness. What matters is good music and having something to say that feels authentic and communicates with people. And on a real level, it’s not filtered through an algorithm or a group-think element weighing in.”

Halsey has spoken extensively about how much she admired Reznor, Ross, and Nine Inch Nails before working with them, and she feels the same way still. After being reminded that they sang “Don’t meet your heroes / They’re all f*cking weirdos” on their Manic track “929,” Halsey said with a laugh, “Thank God this experience has proven me wrong.”

Check out the full feature here.