These days, Trent Reznor seems to do way more work for film and TV soundtracks than he does making industrial rock music with Nine Inch Nails, and while he does always return to his first love, Reznor told Variety in a recent interview that he has thought about putting Nine Inch Nails to rest. He was talking about the way that composing scores is “one of the most creatively rewarding experiences” he’s ever had with longtime collaborator Atticus Ross, especially since the music industry “kind of sucks in general and is filled with diminishing returns,” which prompted Variety to ask why he doesn’t pull a Danny Elfman and retire from touring as a musician so he can just do soundtracks. Reznor says he did do that “10 years ago or whatever,” but stepping away from touring gave him a “fresh perspective” on what’s good about it.
Now that Ross is officially a member of Nine Inch Nails, he and Reznor actually use their downtime while touring to work on their soundtracks, sometimes right up until the minute before they go onstage. While they tell Variety that this is all exhausting, Reznor does say that having so many things on their collective plate all at once does give them some “objectivity on each project” because they’re constantly stepping away from one thing to work on another thing—like, say, the soundtrack to HBO’s Watchmen or new Nine Inch Nails music.
Speaking of, those of us in the public have heard barely anything about what HBO is doing with its adaptation/sequel/”remix” of the old comic, and apparently Ross and Reznor don’t know much more than we do. Reznor says they reached out to the network when they heard about the project to offer their services, and after a meeting with showrunner Damon Lindelof, they got the greenlight to do the score and were given “a bit of a script for the first episode” to work off of.