2018 marked the 30th anniversary of Nine Inch Nails, but it seems it almost didn’t get there, with Trent Reznor discussing how he almost ended the band a few years ago.
Back in 2011, Trent Reznor made headlines when he won an Academy Award for his foray into the world of film scoring. Nabbing the award for Best Original Score for his work on David Fincher’s The Social Network, the Nine Inch Nails frontman was pretty shocked with the result.
“Wow. Is this really happening?” Reznor asked as part of his acceptance speech. “When we finished work on The Social Network, we were very proud of our work and happy to just be involved in this film, and to be standing up here in this company is humbling and flattering beyond words.”
Now, the rocker has revealed that this win almost spelled the end for his long-running Nine Inch Nails project.
Speaking to Variety recently, Reznor explained how the shock of winning an Oscar made him rethink his entire approach to music.
“Your head spins a little bit when your first film goes on to win an Oscar,” he began. “There’s nowhere to go but down from there, right?”
“And you start to wonder — should it be ‘F— rock and roll! I’ve got a new lease on life that doesn’t have quite the age limit restrictions that playing in a rock band does? Should I put all my eggs in that basket? Should I take every film that comes around?’ Because now lots of films were coming by.”
“It wasn’t that our egos were out of control,” he continued. “Because one thing about us is, as great as winning an Oscar is, the next day by lunchtime, we were back to being the same not-good-enough assholes that we were before we’d won one.”
“It felt good for maybe 18 hours. It was a great experience and I have a lot of respect for the institution, but it didn’t fix everything that’s wrong with our brains, and our inadequacies remained.”
“It caused us to kind of think about, if we do take on more roles of scoring, are we trying to be completists? Are we trying to tick every box, to want to be able to do everything from a complicated orchestral score to a rom-com? Do we want to be journeymen, or jacks of all styles and techniques?”
Of course, while Nine Inch Nails have indeed continued – releasing two new albums and two new EPs since his Oscar win – Trent Reznor hasn’t turned his back on the world of film scoring either.
In fact, working with his Nine Inch Nails bandmate Atticus Ross, the pair have since recorded scores for a number of films, including The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl, and Jonah Hill’s mid90s.