One of the key Oscar winners at last night’s ceremony was Nine Inch Nails man Trent Reznor, who picked up the Best Original Score award for his haunting soundtrack to Facebook movie The Social Network.
We quizzed Reznor on his memories of putting the soundtrack together, and why he’s embraced soundtrack work.
Congratulations on winning an Oscar! Did doing the Social Network work feel like a natural extension of the work you did as NIN?
With the Nine Inch Nails record ‘Ghosts I-VI’ I was experimenting with visuals, as in I had an image of a place or scenario in my head and I was trying to “dress the set” with a soundscape with no attention to traditional song structure. I enjoyed the freedom working on that record very much. Without any career trajectory planning I guess I was pointing in the direction of working in film.
Why do you think so many musicians graduate to soundtrack work?
For me, the opportunity or scoring The Social Network presented itself and I simply wanted to see if I could pull it off. So far, my experience in the film world has been a very positive one on all fronts.
Speaking from an American perspective, the sense of panic and despair that’s emanating from all aspects of the business side of the music industry as it watches itself get decimated with absolutely no ideas, plans or forward thinking to address the issues… you can’t help but let some of that dread seep into your mindset as a musician. The film world seems to resonate in a different space in popular culture at this moment in time. What in the hell am I talking about? It’s early where I am.
Do you consider soundtrack work more enjoyable than working on more traditional albums?
With one whole score under my belt I’ll just say it was fun getting out of the way and contributing to the whole experience – the marriage of image and score. It was kind of like writing songs for someone else’s lyrics and point of view. I enjoyed the experience and will continue scoring here and there but I hope to balance it out with working on various albums as well.
If you could choose to record a new soundtrack for any film which one would you choose?
I have no great answer for this because I’ve realized what makes me love a certain film is that synergy of all the elements coming together. Up until working on The Social Network, I rarely paid much attention to the music in a film unless it stood out in some attention grabbing way, or it particularly sucked. As we were piecing together The Social Network, it was quite amazing how much power we had as composers to manipulate your emotional response to a scene.
I mean, I knew music DID that in film but it was quite interesting to be the one doing it. Hence to answer the question, it’s hard for me to separate the music out of experiencing of the film to have a quick answer for you.