Sometimes it takes thinking outside of the box to create something truly memorable. How one takes that adage on board is entirely at their discretion. At the end of the day, you have to do what's right for you and your art.
In some cases that can be as simple as trying out a new song structure or adding an orchestra. In other scenarios bands can go to some rather extreme places to make something that will live on forever.
Some need a change of surroundings and record their next great album in a new setting. Some need to take a look at how the whole thing is produced and mixed and find a way to switch up that part of the process. Alternatively, some artists just take an insane amount of drugs and just kind of see what happens.
Even if the finished product is simply okay, you’ve at least done something memorable and gained some valuable experiences. Also, oftentimes, plenty of interesting and bizarre stories to tell.
Whether it’s recording in strange places, with strange equipment or experimenting with strange substances, all of the following records have some seriously weird recording stories.
10. Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral
Out of all the places in America to record in, Trent Reznor just had to pick the building where some of the country’s most renowned murders took place.
Nine Inch Nails’ seminal hit The Downward Spiral represented Reznor at his most dangerously fragile, suffering from drug addiction and refusing help so that his pain could manifest into art. That album came into being in 10050 Cielo Drive, the home where Sharon Tate and company were murdered by Charles Manson.
The band rented the building in 1992, dubbing it “Le Pig” after a message written in Sharon Tate’s blood on the front doorway, and Reznor has said he immediately felt disturbed and terrified by the place. More than anything, he described the house as “peacefully sad”. Setting up a studio within, Nine Inch Nails spent the next 18 months there working away on their magnum opus.
In December 1993, as the band drew to a close on the project, Trent met Patti Tate by pure coincidence who asked the musician if he was exploiting her sister’s death. It stunned Reznor and changed his perspective on things. He had recorded there out of his interest in folklore perhaps without thinking of the humanity of things.