Trent Reznor’s NPR Interview

With The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo opening this week, Trent Reznor is in the news again as the Oscar-winning, Golden Globe-winning composer of the soundtrack.  He sat down with NPR recently to talk about things.

When filmmaker David Fincher asked Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and his songwriting partner Atticus Ross to compose the music for his U.S. film adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Fincher had one request: for the music to sound ‘textural.’

So Reznor and Ross, who won an Oscar for their score of Fincher’s 2010 film The Social Network, experimented with sounds created by stretched-out bell tones, piano beds filled with nails and clothespins, and mixes of distorted instruments played imperfectly.

“We wanted to create the sound of coldness — emotionally and also physically,” Reznor tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “We wanted to take lots of acoustic instruments … and transplant them into a very inorganic setting, and dress the set around them with electronics.”

Reznor and Ross’ hauntingly beautiful soundtrack features three hours of new instrumental music and two cover songs — Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” with lead vocals by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ Karen O, and a cover of Bryan Ferry’s “Is Your Love Strong Enough,” with lead locals by Reznor’s wife, Mariqueen Maandig. Those two covers complement the instrumental score, on which tracks are layered with simple melodies, machinelike noises and unsettling synthesizers to create a dark, moody atmosphere and complement the foreboding images on screen.

There’s lots more and it’s worth reading.  Trust me.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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