The next soundtrack project for Trent Reznor (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network) is not for a film, but for the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops II, out Nov.13.
The Nine Inch Nails frontman Reznor, whose Social Network soundtrack composed with Atticus Ross won an Academy Award, has composed the game's theme song, an "aggressively sounding" piece of guitar, bass and drums-based rock.
A lifelong video gamer, Reznor is no stranger to collaborating with game developers, having worked on Quake and Doom 3 with id Software. His teaming with Black Ops II developers Treyarch is a suitable one as the Nine Inch Nails frontman is a fan of the Call of Duty franchise. "I have always looked to that franchise as the cutting edge of what seemingly unlimited budgets and full-on not cutting any corners can do in the current day and age," he says.
The Black Ops II story envisions a new Cold War between the U.S. and China, and an international villain plays them off each other. "There is a lot of reservation and angst and sense of loss and regret and anger bubbling under the surface," Reznor says. "So it didn't make sense to have a gung-ho patriotic feeling kind of theme song. It has to feel weighty."
With the Black Ops II theme song finished, Reznor is turning his attention to his band How to Destroy Angels, which includes wife Mariqueen Maandiq and film soundtrack partner Ross. "We have a finished album. It's been finished for a little while," he says. "We're doing a little bit of tweaks on it. The record will be out soon. We are doing a different type of distribution this time, so it's taking a little bit longer to coordinate stuff. There's a lot of music about to be unleashed, videos, et cetera."
Reznor is also working on some new Nine Inch Nails music-aait's been more than four years since 2008's The Slip. "Right now, it's in its gestation period," he says.