Even before he founded the seminal Nine Inch Nails, songwriter Trent Reznor was pushing the envelope. In the mid ’80s, he would play every instrument on his demos (except drums) himself, as he couldn’t find a band who could recreate his musical vision on tape. Reznor’s debut album with Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine, was assembled in the same way, and was released to critical acclaim. It was 1989, and MIDI’s relatively recent introduction had spawned a new breed of quasi-intelligent drum machines and synths (including the Novation Bass Station, released in 1992), which Reznor set about mastering. The simultaneous advancement of computer-based sequencing technology coupled with Reznor’s thirst for technical experimentation put Nine Inch Nails on a production-standards pedestal and helped to keep them, and Reznor, at the forefront of musical innovation.
In his career, Reznor has made music for video games — including the original Quake — and scored movie soundtracks, winning a Golden Globe for his work on The Social Network. Today, he’s lauded as one of modern music’s key influencers. His trademark production techniques from over two decades of musical output are recognisable in all kinds of new music, from techno to industrial rock, electro to mainstream pop.