A Warm Place

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"A Warm Place"
Album: The Downward Spiral
Length: 3:22
Tempo: 70 BPM
Versions: A Warm Place
A Warm Place (Instrumental)
A Warm Place (Natural Born Killers edit)
A Warm Place (Illum Tangendo)
Live: Wave Goodbye Tour
Tension 2013 Tour
NIN + QOTSA Tour through NIN 2014 Latin America Tour
Cold And Black And Infinite Tour

"A Warm Place" is the tenth track on The Downward Spiral.

"Crystal Japan" resemblance

Trent Reznor has been accused of ripping off the theme of "A Warm Place" from David Bowie's 1980 single "Crystal Japan". He did state that Bowie's album Low (1977) had the biggest influence in the making of The Downward Spiral,[1] though Low does not contain "Crystal Japan." Some have claimed that what is heard is deceiving; that from a musical theory point of view, there exist significant differences between the structures of the two melodies.

David Bowie Interview

Trent himself recognised the accidental musical similarity in an interview with David Bowie:[2]

Trent Reznor: There was one point when we were doing the record that I came up with this melody and I thought, "this is really good," and that I couldn't have written it myself. So I played it for Flood and he said "that's really good," and I said "that's gotta be somebody else's song."
David Bowie: It's from a gin advert I did in Japan!
Trent Reznor: So I played it for a couple other people and said "I think this is something off Low, this just sounds familiar...I don't know what it is." So we did it, record's out, & one day I was talking on the phone and I got Scary Monsters, which came out on Rykodisc finally. And so I put that on and it's got bonus tracks at the end. And I'm listening and this song comes on that, to my horror, it's the same...Crystal Japan.

Song Credits

  • Production: Flood and Trent Reznor
  • Mixing Engineer: Alan Moulder






A Warm Place

This version is on both The Downward Spiral and Closure. Consisting solely of synthesizer chords and melodies, it remains quiet, tranquil, and reflective throughout. Its structure is very simple, containing only few different chord progressions and a couple of different melody lines. Beginning directly after the sudden ending of "Big Man With A Gun," the piece ends by crossfading with the opening samples of "Eraser."

A Warm Place (Instrumental)

Released by Reznor via his remix.nin.com account, this version is identical to the album version, except it does not contain the bits of "Eraser" fading in at the end.

A Warm Place (Natural Born Killers edit)

Running Time: 2:58

This version is essentially the same as the album version, but is shorter. Also, the straw sounds that lead into "Eraser" have been edited out. In the movie itself, the song served as a backdrop to the showdown between Mickey Knox and Jack Scagnetti after the first part of the prison riot scene.

A Warm Place (Illum Tangendo)

Running Time: 3:14

This is the original version of the song, but features new vocals and lyrics by Stella Katsoudas (aka Stella Soleil), the lead singer and main force behind Sister Soleil, added on top. The track was uploaded by Reznor to remix.nin.com, where the description stated: "Reportedly scrapped from the soundtrack for the movie Stigmata, Stella began giving this out to fans a few years ago." It is currently available from the Sister Soleil Bandcamp profile. Its title means "touching him" in Latin. The added lyrics are:

    Water rolls down the skin like tiny beads 
    Eyes close so that they might see 
    Illum tangendo
    This sun is a star in someone else's sky 
    Illum tangendo
    This moon is making someone cry 
    Illum tangendo

Stella Soleil on the track:

Originally, I wanted to sign a record deal with Nothing Records, which was owned by Trent Reznor and his ex-manager John Malm. I wanted to do this because, I was a huge NIN fan, but most importantly because I wanted Trent to produce my record. John Malm told my manager at the time, "Trent Reznor will never work with Sister Soleil. Stella is too pop for him." I was devastated. When I signed with Universal Records, Trent's manager had come out to Chicago, invited especially so that Universal could try to convince him to re-consider. Again, I was told I was too 'pop' for Trent. I did something really stupid and risky then. I took the instrumental track of "a warm place" on the actual release of 'A Downward Spiral' and brought it to Chicago Trax Recording studios and dumped it into pro-tools. I had written lyrics and melody to it, and i just, really wanted to see if it would work. I didn't want anything to jeopardize the possibility of this working (for instance, if my lyrics really were "too pop"), so i broke the words up into a kind of code, pronouncing the wrong syllables, etc. I had been listening to a lot of Hildengard Von Bingen's "A Feather on the Breath of God". A lyric that had stuck with me, on that recording, was "illum tangendo' which is a very old form of Latin for the phrase "touching Him". Without permission, I recorded vocals on top of Trent's release. I didnt play it for anyone, until Bud Carr (the music supervisor for the Stigmata soundtrack) called me asking for submissions for the movie he was working on. I think I just wanted somebody to acknowledge that, working with Trent, could still happen (even though, everyone, was telling me to forget it. i could not forget it.) I submitted 5 tracks to Bud. Ofcourse, he called me enthusiastic about 1 track, "a warm place'. I got scared. I explained that I did not get permission to do this, it was only a kind of test for myself, it was stupid, etc....Bud insisted that he would get it to Trent and he would like it. I got a phone call about a week later, from John Malm saying that Trent wanted to speak to me. It did not sound good. I instantly regretted trying to go around him. About another week after that, Trent called me, and I remember spilling an entire gallon of milk on myself and the hardwood floors in my friend's apartment as I braced for what could have been, and rightfully so, a very bad response. He said "I'm usually an asshole about people trying to use my music, but I was pleasantly suprised when I heard this. Did you want to come to New Orleans to re-cut this?". I spent about 4 days at his studios. I met a really cool guy named "rave" that engineered this version. Trent produced it. I had a blast. I stayed at the famous Pontchatrain Hotel, which sadly, I think, was washed away with Katrina. I cried when I left, but not until I was out of sight. It was a kind of victory and a dream, all rolled into one. A couple years ago, someone told me that he posted it onto his remix site on nin.com. Now that was the coolest thing ever. I think he talks a little about what happened to the track there.


"A Warm Place" made its live debut on August 23, 2009, at Webster Hall in New York City. Much of the song's live incarnation consists of pre-recorded samples, such as the constant tremolo guitar that runs throughout, while the band members man keyboards to recreate some of the other melodies. The song was also performed at the Hollywood Palladium nine days later on September 2, 2009.

The song was performed in a special remixed version during the Tension 2013 Tour. Alessandro Cortini confirmed the unnamed live remix on twitter. More soft and synthetic, it was played with nobody on stage except sometimes Cortini.


A barely audible message is heard layered under the track in the very beginning of the song (repeating approximately 6 times.) The words were long rumored to be "the best thing about life is knowing you put it together" but this has been resigned to little more than an urban legend.

External Links

Previous track - "Big Man With A Gun" Track 10 from The Downward Spiral Next track - "Eraser"
This page was last modified on 27 September 2018, at 21:49. This page has been accessed 247,756 times.