Trent Reznor and Games
Trent Reznor is a big fan of the Doom series and ID software games in general. He enjoyed the original Doom so much that he volunteered to compose the soundtrack for another ID game, Quake. He also voiced the player character in that game.
Trent was also working on sounds and music for Doom III but due to "time, money and bad management" none of his efforts made into the final game. However and all of his sounds and effects have since been released in a pack that can be found with a little searching on the internet, it simply replaces all of the vanilla game sounds with those composed by Trent.
On July 10th 2012 it was announced via Treyarchs latest Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 trailer that Trent Reznor would be composing the score for the latest Call of Duty game, however it was later confirmed that Reznor would be scoring the main theme while Jack Wall would be scoring the rest of the game.
Reznor said that he got the job after scoring The Social Network (which won him an Academy Award with Atticus Ross) and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, both David Fincher films, "I started dipping my toe into film scoring. That led me to film scoring agents and whatnot and a variety of projects start to get thrown at you to check your level of interest. And quite a while ago I had heard, 'Would you be interested in a big franchise video game?' Being an avid gamer my whole life, I said, 'Yeah, I would be interested in that.'"
Some of Reznors main theme can be heard in the Behind-the-scenes trailer released on July 18th 2012, along with Reznor talking about his history with video games and his respect for them as an art form.
At the same time as the launch of the Black Ops 2 trailers, a long time rumour was finally confirmed by Dayvv Brooks, an employee for Nintendo of America in 1991, that the Reznor enemy types in Super Mario World were in fact named after Trent Reznor, similar to how the koopalings were named after well known musicians.
The Life of Trent Reznor
Michael Trent Reznor was born on May 17th, 1965 and grew up in the small town of Mercer, Pennsylvania. He was born to Michael Joseph Reznor and Nancy Lou Clark. He was referred to as Trent so there was no confusion with his father’s name. His parents divorced when he was just five years of age so he lived with his grandparents throughout his childhood. He said that his childhood was fairly happy despite not being raised by his real parents.
He began playing the piano at the age of five and started studying classical music, it was evident that he had great talent. He later played the tenor saxophone and the Tuba for the school band and acted in musical plays. Trent attended Allegheny College studying computers and music for a year then he dropped out to pursue a full time musical career.
He left for Cleveland with his high school friend Chris Vrenna. During his time there he started to discover new types of music such as new wave and underground. The Industrial genre particularly grabbed his attention because he liked the aggressive and edgy sound of the electronic instruments. He successfully joined a AOR band at the age of 19 which only released one album titled “The Innocent”. Trent quit the band after only three months and started playing with some local bands.
He worked in a keyboard store and then as a janitor in a local recording studio. He eventually became a studio engineer teaching himself how to use the various computer applications and started working on some of his own material when he wasn’t working.
Trent started composing music as Nine Inch Nails in 1988, playing all of the instruments himself. His initial thought was to just release an 12” single on a small European recording label. He did send demo tapes out to ten American labels though and almost all of them offered him a deal. In 1989 he released his first album “Pretty Hate Machine” under the label TVT which ended up selling over one million copies, the first indie-label rock album to accomplish this task .
TVT saw the potential and attempted to control Trent’s creative direction for his next album. This was something he didn’t take kindly to. Trent tried to get out of his contract leading to a big court battle. He eventually got out of his contract and signed with Interscope records who gave Trent his own Label which he named Nothing. He released an EP “Broken” which was released under his Nothing label and debuted at number seven on the pop charts.
It was time for Trent to start work on his second full length album. He assembled a studio in the house where actress Sharon Tate was murdered. The album was released in 1994 named “The Downward Spiral”. The album debuted at number two and went on to sell over 5 million copies and became one of the darkest albums to ever become multi-platinum . Shortly after the release of The Downward Spiral, Trent assembled the soundtrack for the 1994 Oliver Stone film "Natural Born Killers."
The next five years were quiet for Nine Inch Nails. He created the song “The Perfect Drug” for the movie “The Lost Highway” which was released in 1997. His next full album was released in 1999. The album titled “The Fragile” was a double CD opus debuted at number one and sold really well the first week but sales quickly slipped.
Trent later revealed that he was going through some difficult and life threatening times during that five year period. His grandmother who raised him passed away and he was going through problems with depression and social anxiety disorder. He also said he was having problems with alcoholism and drug addiction. Trent’s biggest wake-up call was when he overdosed on heroine. He knew that if he didn’t get his head together he was eventually going to kill himself. The thoughts going through his head were fairly evident in “The Fragile” which took on a darker, heavy tone.
In 1997 Time magazine named Trent Reznor one of the top 25 most influential Americans. They said, “Trent Reznor is the anti-Bon Jovi. He is the lord of Industrial”. In this article Trent stated "I had no expectations of commercial success," he says. "But people 'got it.' That I didn't expect.".
In 2002 Johnny Cash covered the Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt” which was released on the album “The Downward Spiral”. It was one of the last songs he ever recorded. In an interview with Trent about the cover he discussed his thoughts on it. He stated that it felt wrong hearing the song. He said “It felt invasive. It was my child.” He considered his songs as him being the narrator and hearing a different voice was awkward. Then he said he thought “That’s Johnny Cash”. He said that he never thought in his wildest dream that Johnny Cash would want to sing a song that he wrote. Trent also said that he hasn’t listened to his version of the song since then.
His next album was released in 2005 under the name “With Teeth”. Trent said that it was a relationship album about the relationship with himself, and how that relationship almost took his life. Even though it would sound as if this album would be dark and depressing it took on a lighter tone.
For his next album he used a viral marketing campaign. It began with USB keys being left in bathroom stalls during his concert in Europe. They contained new songs but also a noisy audio file which produced the wave length of a phone number when run through a spectrum analyzer. The phone numbers lead to answering machines with conspiracy theories and web sites all across the internet. The album was released in April of 2007 called “Year Zero”. This album was different than his others because it wasn’t about him, it was his thoughts on a dystopian future .
At this point he was starting to get aggravated with the recording industry again resulting in a break up with Interscope. He decided he was going to release all of his music through himself. This resulted in the instrumental album Ghosts I-IV to be released. It was a 36 track album broken into 4 parts. Part one was available for free while all four parts were available for download for five dollars. A physical CD was shipped in April for ten dollars and a collectors edition is available for 75 dollars. This resulted in Trent making 1.6 million dollars in the first week of sales.
His next album went even further than that. On his website he wrote, “thank you for your continued and loyal support over the years - this one's on me.” It was made available for free on the bands website. It is available for download in a variety of formats.
In 2009 Trent Reznor put Nine Inch Nails to rest with his final "Wave Goodbye" tour.
In 2010 he started a new project by the name of "How To Destroy Angels" with his wife Mariqueen Maandig on vocals and Atticus Ross on programming and instrumentals. On the 1st of June 2010 they released a self-titled EP for free as a digital download through their official website. The first single released off the six track EP was "A Drowning" followed by a music video for the track "The Space In Between" which features Mariqueen as a singing corpse as a result of a honeymoon gone wrong, who is sitting nearby an also deceased Trent Reznor.