Matzah Interviews Aaron North (of Nine Inch Nails)
Aaron North (on tour with the Icarus Line in 2004, © Jason Nocito)
Aaron North doesn't mess around. While opening for the Distillers, Aaron, playing with the Icarus Line at the time, was hit in the head with a bottle. Chaos ensued, with Aaron, singer Joe Cardamone, and bassist Don Devore in the crowd, beating the shit out of the fan who threw it. Soon thereafter, the fan was ejected from the venue with nothing to show for it, except blood and bruises. The same attitude goes for Aaron's other endeavors. Having started Buddyhead in 1998 with friend Travis Keller, the two have managed to trash the reputations of shitty celebrities and musicians alike, interview cool bands, and put out great records. Now in Nine Inch Nails, Aaron continues with the same passion he began with. He sat down with 'Get the Door, It's Matzah' and talked about Nine Inch Nails, the Icarus Line, Buddyhead, and most importantly, why he cut his hair.
Matzah: What's in your rotation?
Aaron North: In N' Out, Del Taco, Panda Express, Tommy's.
Matzah: Who are your influences as a musician?
Aaron North: I'm a musician? If so, the list would be long and boring. It would start with a bunch of people who could barely play but made the most of it with soul and panache. People such as Ron Asheton, Bob Dylan, Syd Barrett, etc.
M: Could you give us a history of your musicianship/music career?
AN: Started playing guitar when I was 14. Played in a really bad hardcore punk bands through my teens. Played with the Icarus Line people from 1996 to 2004. That about covers it.
M: When did you take a larger interest in music, aside from playing (i.e. interviews, reviews, starting a label)?
AN: Punk rock is what made me really want to be involved in music. Up until discovering that, music seemed way too hard and technical to get caught up in. I liked Guns N' Roses and Metallica, but there was no way I'd ever be able to cut that shit, until I heard Black Flag and I realized I could probably do that stuff myself and it seemed more fun and pertinent anyway than soloing and worrying about technique and all that crap.
M: What are your hobbies besides music?
AN: Mexican food. Sleeping. Dudes.
M: What music blogs do you read? If any?
AN: None. Not a big internet fan.
M: How do you feel about the growing role of the internet in music (filesharing, music blogs, etc)?
AN: I dunno. I don't really participate in the file sharing stuff and I don't participate in or read anything on the internet besides Buddyhead.
M: What role do you play with Buddyhead now that you've joined NIN?
AN: Same as I always have, run the fucker with Travis.
M: Could you give us a brief history of Buddyhead?
AN: Started as something fun to do cos we were bored, about 1998 we put out some records cos we thought it'd be fun and we were bored. Still do it wheneverit seems like fun and we're bored.
M: Something I know a lot of people enjoy about Buddyhead is the gossip column. Short and to the point, but sarcastic and hilarious at the same time, you and Travis have successfully managed to piss off the likes of Fred Durst, among others. Who writes the gossip?
AN: Me and Travis write the gossip.
M: Did you guys ever 'make up' with Fred Durst? Or, better yet, have you had any confrontations with him since?
AN: Naw. That kind of shit isn't even really on my radar anymore.
M: How did the opportunity to join Nine Inch Nails come about?
AN: They asked me to be in the band. I said, "ok."
M: Are you planning to stick with NIN through the summer tour or continue afterwards as a permanent member?
AN: Haven't thought about it.
M: Do you have any plans for after NIN?
AN: Not really. Haven't thought about it.
M: Aside from the money, what are the benefits for you as a musician playing in NIN than in the Icarus Line?
AN: None. What's more important than money?
M: Also, I know that NIN is scheduled to play Coachella on May 1st. How does it feel to be headlining Coachella? Are you nervous?
AN: Hmmmm, not really. Haven't thought about it. I've played festivals before. Playing to that many people isn't nearly as frightening as playing a solo show to a handful of your closest friends.
M: What bands are you excited to see?
AN: Hmmmm, not really too hyper-stoked on any of the bands really. There's some cool stuff I wanna check out, but nothing I'm wetting my pants over.
M: I also wanted to ask you a few questions about your former band, the Icarus Line. When did you officially split with the band?
AN: Late last year.
M: Was the Icarus Line split amicable?
AN: I dunno. I didn't stick around for a reaction. I just quit. You'd have to ask them.
M: Have you heard the new Icarus Line material ('Fashion Fever' maybe?) If so, what do you think of their direction?
AN: Haven't heard any new stuff from them. Hasn't really peaked my interest to check anything out.
M: Do you keep in touch with anyone from the band?
1. Why'd you cut your hair?
AN: I wasn't born with long hair y'know. I was starting to look like I was either a wrestler, or homeless, or both. Not cool.
2. Choose one to have sex with, one to marry, one to kill: Travis Keller [of Buddyhead], Trent Reznor [of Nine Inch Nails], Joe Cardamone [of Icarus Line].
AN: I wouldn't want to fuck, marry, or kill any of those people. Sorry.
3. Were you a dork in high school?
AN: No. The dorks were the ones who actually went.