“The new band started with [drummer] Jerome Dillon, bassist Jeordie White [a.k.a. Twiggy of Marilyn Manson fame], and I holding open auditions in L.A. My first thought when Alessandro walked in was that he didn’t look like what I had in mind. His presence was intense but gentle, not the ‘I’m gonna attack you’ energy fans might associate with NIN. Then he started, and within 30 seconds I was like, ‘That’s the guy!’ I’ve never once regretted it. Without taking anything away from Charlie, Alessandro is really into playing the studio parts as much as humanly possible. Before, our mentality was to get all the licks into a sampler so nothing could screw up onstage, but now, things are much more organic.
Cortini explains taking it all to the stage: “Dissecting the album began with Atticus Ross at the Pro Tools rig exporting original tracks. I’d be on another Mac on the network, and would open them in [Native Instruments] Kontakt, building a patch designed for playing live, not just triggering sequences from one key.
“I love N.I. stuff, but with gear bouncing all over the world, I’m more comfy with hardware, so I use Akai Z4 and Z8 samplers, controlled by an M-Audio Keystation Pro88. We actually shaved the knobs off of it, so nothing can get bumped by mistake. A Keystation 49 above that plays an Access Virus C for lead sounds.
“My pride and joy is the ‘analog corner.’ Several Analogue Systems modules are played from a French Connection. I can also route our minimal backing tracks through my Sherman Filterbank or the Virus, tweaking the latter with my custom Korg KAOSS pad. My tech, Jason Cobb, mounted the membrane on clear plexiglass, which sits on a boom coming off my keyboard stand. The guts are back in the rack.”