'I Understand Where He's Coming From': Grizzly Bear's Daniel Rossen Responds To Trent Reznor

12 August 2017 | 10:15 am | Staff Writer

The Nine Inch Nails frontman recently said that hearing the New York band's music in advertising 'kind of bums me out'.

More Grizzly Bear More Grizzly Bear

New York band Grizzly Bear are set to release their fifth studio album, Painted Ruins, next week, their first new work since 2012's Shields.

The group's career hasn't always been the easiest journey to navigate, despite a significant uptick in critical acclaim from the mid- to late-2000s; like many working musicians, they've had to turn to other revenue streams beyond album, ticket and merch sales — such as the ever-increasingly lucrative arena of sync deals — to help keep themselves comfortably afloat.

Somewhat bizarrely, the band were specifically targeted for engaging in this now-widespread practice by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, who remarked in a recent interview with Vulture that, although he "like[s] Grizzly Bear a lot", hearing their songs in commercials "kind of bums me out".

In Reznor's defense, the comment was part of a wider reflection on the general shift of seeing musicians move towards treating corporations as benefactors rather than being an outright attack on Grizzly Bear but, for someone of his stature, it arguably plays as a bit out-of-touch with the reality of what it's like to be… well, not Trent Reznor.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

"As long as it’s not the most evil corporate empire in the world, then that can be a way for bands like us ... to fund our ability to keep making interesting music."

But, speaking to The Music writer Anthony Carew in an interview about upcoming fifth album Painted Ruins, Grizzly Bear vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Daniel Rossen offered a remarkably cordial response to Reznor's comments.

"I understand where he’s coming from," Rossen told The Music. "It is a little sad that that’s such a reality for so many bands, that it’s one sure way to get a cheque.

"I feel that, as long as it’s not the most evil corporate empire in the world, then that can be a way for bands like us — who don’t make particularly poppy music — to fund our ability to keep making interesting music. That feels like an okay kind of trade-off.

"But, I certainly get why that’s frustrating from a consumer side. I don’t like selling our music for products. I don’t like thinking of our music as a product. That comes up all the time, whether you’re talking about licensing or not. Everything turns into this mad hustle to try and get people to pay attention to you, instead of just keeping your mind focused on exploring what you want to make, and make it from the position of being a musician or an artist.

"And from a listener’s side, that’s what you hope your favourite artists are doing. You want to think of that person that way, too. You don’t want to think of them making a soundtrack for a car. I totally get that, and I respect that opinion."

Although Rossen says that he doesn't have "an ostentatious, glamorous lifestyle", he does acknowledge that his work with Grizzly Bear "has afforded me the ability to make music and live independently in the world".

"But it's not as easy, now, to make money as a band; that's true," he told The Music.

"You end up either touring like crazy, and playing a tonne of shows — which can be fun, but is totally exhausting — or you end up licensing your music a lot. That does happen to most bands.

"That's the reality of the music industry now. And it's only getting harder."

Grizzly Bear's Painted Ruins will be released on Friday 18 August. Keep an eye out for the full interview with Daniel Rossen on theMusic.com.au soon.