Add Violence

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Halo 31: Add Violence
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Physical component

Add Violence (also known as Halo 31) is the third proper EP from Nine Inch Nails. It was released digitally on July 21, 2017, though pre-orders through allowed for a download two days early. This EP acts as the second installment of a trilogy, following the 2016 release of Not The Actual Events, and preceding the 2018 release of Bad Witch.

Track List

  1. "Less Than" – 3:30
  2. "The Lovers" – 4:09
  3. "This Isn't The Place" – 4:44
  4. "Not Anymore" – 3:06
  5. "The Background World" – 11:44


Akin to the first EP, Add Violence is available as a CD, a 12" vinyl and a physical component. It had a wide digital release on July 21, 2017, under Trent Reznor's label The Null Corporation, and was followed by the release of a physical component the week of August 8 and a CD release on October 13. A 12" vinyl version followed on November 17. Physical versions were put out by Capitol Records.

Regarding the physical component, the official description reads:



The EP was officially announced on July 13, 2017. Its first track, "Less Than", was released digitally on July 13, 2017, with an accompanying music video directed by Brook Linder. "This Isn't The Place" was made available on the official NIN YouTube channel on July 18, 2017.

As quoted in a press release on

"ADD VIOLENCE finds Nine Inch Nails becoming more accessible and impenetrable at the same time. The sonic palette expands significantly from Not The Actual Events, incorporating elements of beauty into the dark dissonance. The narrative arc linking the three records begins to emerge through the disassociated lyrics and the provocative and clue-filled cover artwork and accompanying physical component, available exclusively through the store."

The official website description states (akin to Not The Actual Events): "PART TWO. THE VIEW WIDENS AND EVERYTHING IS IN QUESTION."

Trilogy concept

In an interview with Lizzy Goodman posted on, Reznor explains the trilogy’s concept in detail:

"But to be clear, the record isn’t about Trump, it’s about making sense of the world. The first record, Not the Actual Events, was more of an internal fantasy of what if I lit a match to my life and just embraced burning the whole fucking thing down. You know? All of this is an illusion and I really should be dead or lying in a ditch somewhere. Who I really am is an addict that self-destructs. That’s my true nature and this is an illusion and some borrowed time. It wasn’t a pleasant thing, but it felt like, that’s a story to tell. And if felt like something I needed to internally process.

And that supported other things that were interesting to us like aggressive music and a sense of the self-referential, looking back at other albums and pilfering bits of the art design to confuse people and also because I was thinking about those records. To try picking up a guitar, which I told myself I would never do again for whatever reason and finding, you know what? It sounds fucking good. Listening back and going, you know what? That was a good song from 25 years ago, it’s not bad to play something like that. There are no rules. That was the first record.

It wasn’t fully mapped out but it was meant to feel like if we broke up one big record – if it was Downward Spiral, which has acts, if we do an album like that, but release one act at a time, it will be more immediate and the level of adrenaline and momentum will be higher. And maybe it will be consumed in a way that feels more digestible to an outside world that doesn’t have long attention spans anymore.

With the second one, Add Violence, the idea was, loosely, to zoom out, to be more global and to imply that maybe we’re all in a simulated reality. And that might introduce the concept of meaninglessness but also provide a safe container to explain why everything feels off.

By the time we got to the third one, we had an idea in mind but it felt … rehearsed. Predictable. In the end, what felt true was to say that we as a society and as a species are probably an accident, a mutation. Really what we are is fucking animals. And the illusion was enlightenment. The more we’ve connected with each other the dumber we’ve gotten and the more we decide we want to kill each other. We’re not some elevated transcendent beings, we’re bacteria in a jar. I wanted the art direction of Bad Witch to feel like shadows on a cave wall and we’re trying to figure out what it is and really there’s no nice, clean, safe scientific explanation. We’re just an accident. String theory and quantum physics is a fucking trick. And we’re not going to suddenly elevate ourselves into transcendent beings. We’re kidding ourselves. I know this will be an unsatisfying conclusion for some people. It isn’t what they want. They want it to be full matrix virtual reality, and this is the opposite of that, this is dirt and a broken computer chip and everything you believe in is really just bullshit."

EP Title

As with "Not The Actual Events", the title is derived from lyrics from the EP's first track. In this case, add a little violence from "Less Than".

Hidden Themes / Possible ARG

With the amount of clues hinted at and unmistakable lyrical correlations present throughout both EPs, Reznor stated the following in an interview posted online on July 26, 2017:

"With the new EPs, I liked world-building, and writing music that can sit in that world. I was always the guy who desperately wanted the Dark Side of the Moon to line up with The Wizard of Oz. I wanted to believe somebody was so far out of their mind that they figured that out. Fuck, I got goose bumps just thinking about that possibility right now — the idea that someone could be thinking so hard about an album.

What the obsessives maybe don’t know is that if I were to explain everything to you, or just explicitly lay out what the new EP is about, you’d only be disappointed. You don’t really want to know. The experience of grappling with the thing is what makes it interesting, not the immediate gratification of going, 'Oh, that’s what it means.'"[1]


Add Violence back cover

The curious "scratch marks" seen in the various iterations of the Not The Actual Events cover artwork also faintly appear in the upper right corner of the Add Violence cover, seemingly lining up to become an eventual bigger picture. It is worth noting that the digital edition cover artwork juxtaposed with the commercial release bears subtle differences.

On July 17, 2017, Trent Reznor tweeted an image of the back cover with the accompanying text: "NINE INCH NAILS: ADD VIOLENCE - BACK COVER AVAILABLE 21 JULY REMEMBER WHEN RECORDS HAD BACK COVERS? NO? MAYBE THIS ONE IS IMPORTANT."


  • Written, arranged, produced, programmed and performed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
  • Mix: Alan Moulder
  • Mastering: Tom Baker at Baker Mastering

  • Engineering: Jun Murakawa, Chris Richardson, Chris Holmes, Dustin Mosley, Geoff Neal
  • Additional vocals on "Less Than": Sharlotte Gibson & Allison Iraheta

  • Art Direction: John Crawford
  • World Integration and Execution: 42 Entertainment
  • Additional Concept Development: Church Lieu
  • Additional Design: Corey Holms

  • Legal: Zia Modabber for Katten Munchin Rosenman LLP, Ross Rosen for Ross B. Rosen & Associates, LLC
  • Management: Silva Artist Management
  • Booking: Marc Geiger for WME
  • Business Management: William Harper and Michael Walsh for Gelfand, Rennet & Feldman

Thank you: Mariqueen Maandig Reznor, Claudia Sarne, Alex Lieu, Susan Bonds, Koji Egawa, Ruairi O'Flaherty, Ray Diaz, Steve Barnett, Michelle Jubelirer, Ashley Newton, Ambrosia Healy, Arjun Pulijal, Erin Cooney, Jim Chancellor, Ed Scott, Jim Pascoe, Corinne Schiavone, Michelle Weinberg

Published by Form and Texture (ASCAP) / Administered by Kobalt Songs Music Publishing, Songs In the Key of Mink (BMI) / Administered by Downtown DMP Songs


All songs from Add Violence have been played live except "Not Anymore".

External Links

Previous release - "The Fragile: Deviations 1" Halo number: 31 Next release - "Bad Witch"
This page was last modified on 16 October 2018, at 19:13. This page has been accessed 86,910 times.