As he and musical partner Atticus Ross enter the film awards season with their soundtrack for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," Trent Reznor is readying a return to rock in 2012 -- with his new band How To Destroy Angels and, possibly, with a refreshed Nine Inch Nails.
"I'm going to be writing for Nine Inch Nails this year," Reznor, who will be at Sunday's Golden Globe Awards for "...Dragon Tattoo's" Best Original Score nomination, tells Billboard.com. He put NiN on hiatus in 2009, and Reznor explains that at the moment he doesn't "have any particular goal in mind other than... my voice as a songwriter feels like it needs to speak up or at least work out a little bit to not atrophy. I think I have something to say that feels unique to who I am right now, and that's when it tells me it's time to do something."
Reznor says that he did think about adopting yet another moniker for his upcoming writing but decided that "at the moment it's going to live in the Nine Inch Nails column, for a few reasons. I enjoy the challenge of moving that kind of brand forward, that identity, shaping it to who I am now instead of who I was a few years ago when I last left off." But, he adds, "It's all kind of hypothetical right now. When I sit down with a notebook and a little mini-recorder is when my bluff will be called, and then it might not happen at all."
What definitely will see the light of day this year is the first full-length album by How To Destroy Angels, the band he formed with his wife, former West Indian Girl singer Mariqueen Maandig, and Ross. Reznor says the album -- which follows a 2010 EP -- is nearly finished after "a year and a half of us tinkering around with it and trying new things," and he describes it as "a nice counterpoint to the work Atticus and I have been doing with the last two films ('...Dragon Tattoo' and 'The Social Network'). It's much more rhythmic-based, but it's kind of the sound of too much information -- a weird blend." Reznor predicts the album will come out in the spring, and the trio might play some live dates to support it.
Meanwhile, he's got his tuxedo cleaned and pressed for the upcoming round of awards shows. Though he's "never been one for trophies and recognition," Reznor says he did enjoy taking home a Golden Globe and Academy Award for "The Social Network" score last year. "When it comes from a place that feels legitimate, that makes a difference," he explains. "What happened last year was unexpected and it was flattering, and I've allowed myself to feel pretty good about it. Going to those kind of events, with the camaraderie of this team of people that made this film that you all believe in...was fun."
And, Reznor notes, in some ways being honored for "...Dragon Tattoo" may feel even better. "This score felt a lot more kind of woven into the picture," he explains. "I don't think it's the kind of score you leave humming the love theme from '...Dragon Tattoo' or anything. We purposely went in to make the type of score that disappeared into the frames and felt like a part of the set...but not announcing itself as 'Look how flashy this is!' We were really aiming for something that was more in the woodwork and were very pleased with how it came out and, again, are so astonished and so flattered it's getting noticed."