Home NewsroomEntertainment News Trent Reznor on Scoring ‘Soul:’ ‘We Spent a Lot of Time Discussing How You’re Supposed to Feel’

Trent Reznor on Scoring ‘Soul:’ ‘We Spent a Lot of Time Discussing How You’re Supposed to Feel’

by Michael McDevit
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Rolling StoneTim Chan

The acclaimed Disney/Pixar film also boasts musical contributions from Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails bandmate Atticus Ross, and Grammy nominee Jon Batiste

Millions of viewers have been charmed by Soul, the new animated film from Disney and Pixar. The Jamie Foxx-starring film follows the life — and yes, soul — of a New York City jazz musician, who falls into “The Great Before” (a sort-of personality purgatory) and must find his way out by connecting to his true purpose on earth.

In addition to Foxx, Soul’s star-studded cast includes Tina Fey, Angela Bassett and Questlove; the film also boasts an A-list team behind its music as well. Grammy nominee (and current The Late Show With Stephan Colbert bandleader) Jon Batiste provided the original jazz compositions and arrangements for the film, while Nine Inch Nails members Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (who won an Oscar for their work on The Social Network), created the movie’s sweeping original score.

“Our first step is always to listen and really try to understand where the filmmakers are coming from — what they’re seeing, what they’re imagining,” he explains, in a press released. “We spent a lot of time discussing how you’re supposed to feel when you’re first exposed to the ‘Soul’ world. Then we went back to our studio, which is filled with a variety of real, imagined and synthetic instruments, and spent the first chunk of time experimenting with different arrangements and different instruments and seeing what felt emotionally right to create the fabric of this world.”

T Reznor

For Reznor, whose work with Ross can also be heard in the new Netflix film, Mank, it was also about creating a bond between the movie viewers and the music. “The ability to amplify the way someone experiences something emotionally is why we do this.” 

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