In what seems like a reunion of two long-lost brothers separated at birth, iconic composer Danny Elfman recently spoke about what his collaboration with Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor was like. For those unaware, the two worked together for Elfman’s remix album of his 2021 LP, Big Mess—the appropriately named Bigger. Messier. (available here)—which along with Reznor features Iggy Pop, Zach Hill of Death Grips, Boris, Squarepusher, HEALTH, and more. Reznor appears on four remixes from Bigger. Messier., and Elfman recently told Consequence just how over the moon he was to have such a star-studded list of collaborators to work with on the remix project, especially on the track “True”.
“I loved the idea of it, but I thought no one would want to work with me. No one knows who the fuck I am,” professed a humble Elfman. “The next thing I know, I’m on the phone with Squarepusher, and I’m on the phone with Zach Hill from Death Grips. And then, suddenly, it’s Trent Reznor and Iggy Pop! Like, what the fuck?”
About working with Reznor, Elfman said, “What an amazing, generous guy. It was so weird that I had just recorded [the song] ‘True’ months earlier. And then here I am, re-recording my voice around Trent‘s so that it would work better with his approach. Now, I’m at the point where if I hear the song in my head—which I’d only just written the year before—I don’t hear my own voice singing it. I hear Trent‘s. What a cool mindfuck.”
Reznor’s take on the track is a trooping duet with Elfman that finds both men testing their hauntingly inexhaustible vocal ranges while relentlessly challenging the meaning of destiny with their words. Which is to surmise: this was no “made in the Cloud” remix. “True” speaks to power, but also presence.
“I’m constantly surprised that anybody is ever into anything I do. I just consider myself lucky, because I’m not happy doing one [type of music]. I constantly feel like I have to push myself out of my comfort zone, but I definitely had a big stretch of time where I was just a film composer. I was starting to get too comfortable.”
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