This past December, a few friends headed up to Pepperbox Studios in rural central Vermont to record a few songs and exercise some creative instincts. A few songs were considered, one of which was this classic Nine Inch Nails track “Head Like a Hole.” Marshall Morgan laid down the riff and producer Kristina Stykos, owner of Pepperbox, filled out the recording.
Stykos had never heard the original song, so her arrangement likely has a lot do with the drastic change in sound. The three singers, activist Kira Elliot, and friends Lindsay Hopkins, a performance artist, and Carrie Drapac, then recorded their vocal parts. They called their one-off group Venus and the Moon.
The result is a totally unique take on the song, from the opening drums and vocal to the instrumentally sparse choruses (instead of Trent Reznor’s dense metallic production) that highlights the women’s voices. It feels like a complete reinvention of the song. In the singers’ hands, the lyrics feel like a call to female empowerment rather than a rejection of materialism.