Michael Azerrad

As a journalist, I'm not supposed to be the subject, but as an author, I'm fair game - another ingredient in the media soup.

I'm always very careful to make the distinction between music criticism and music journalism. A lot of people don't. But criticism doesn't require reporting. You can write criticism at home in your underwear. On the other hand, journalism takes legwork - you have to get out there and see things and talk to people.

There's a whole apparatus for indie bands now, but back in the eighties it was just getting built. The early people really took it on the chin.

Nine Inch Nails' sound is dominated by clanging synths and sardonic, shrieking vocals.

Naturally, no one knows more about music than musicians. They talk about their own work all the time, but they rarely get to talk about other people's music.

Ten percent of the American population thinks that Barack Obama is a Muslim. Those are the people that have not learned the skill of filtering information from the vast barrage of inaccurate information that we're all faced with everyday. I think that's a very 21st century skill.

The online musical universe has become Balkanized, with many sites focusing on minute niches. That works well for reaching very specific demographics, which is wonderful for advertising, but it flies in the face of the common wisdom that people's tastes have become more diverse as music of any description has become a mouse-click away.

I really believe in the power of music - and I mean literally the power of musical tones - to rearrange the way you can think.

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