While the Nine Inch Nails bandmates have won an Oscar, an Emmy, a couple of Grammys, and earned a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Soul finds them doing something they’ve never attempted before: scoring an animated children’s film. The movie follows a music teacher (Jamie Foxx) with dreams of playing jazz professionally who dies right before his big break. From there, Soul travels into the afterlife to follow this musical consciousness on his journey to find peace. There might be some thematic overlap with songs like “Hurt” and “Closer”, but tonally, we’re on another plane of existence.
In a recent interview with Heroic Hollywood, Reznor spoke about using “sounds that aren’t of this Earth necessarily, yet they feel warm and organic and natural.” He said,
“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. 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.”
Soul will arrive on Disney+ on December 25th, and you can read our review of the film here. In addition to Reznor and Ross’ score, the film features original jazz music composed by Late Show band leader Jon Batiste.