American singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer Michael Trent Reznor Jr. was born May 17, 1965. As both a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Reznor has led the splendidly noisy industrial rock project Nine Inch Nails since 1988; he left Interscope Records in 2007 and is now an independent recording artist. As of 2010, he and his wife Mariqueen Maandig are members of the post-industrial group How to Destroy Angels, with Reznor’s fellow coposer Atticus Ross and graphic designer Rob Sheridan. Reznor and Ross scored the David Fincher films The Social Nework and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, winning the Academy Award for Best Original Score for the former and the Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for the latter. Reznor was previously associated with the bands Option 30, The Innocent, and Exotic Birds in the mid-80s. He gained employment at Right Track Studios in Cleveland and began creating his own music during the studio’s closing hours under the name of Nine Inch Nails. Reznor’s first release as Nine Inch Nails, the 1989 album Pretty Hate Machine, was a commercial and critical success and Reznor has since released seven major studio albums.
Most of Reznor’s work as a musician has been as founding and primary member of Nine Inch Nails. Nine Inch Nails’ debut album, Petty Hate Machine was released in 1989. It was a moderate commercial success, and was certified Gold in 1992. Amidst pressure from his record label to produce a follow-up to Pretty Hate Machine, Reznor secretly began recording under various pseudonyms to avoid record company interference, resulting in an EP called Broken (1992). Nine Inch Nails was included in the Lollapalooza tour in the summer of 1991, and won a Grammy Award in 1993 under “Best Heavy Metal Performance” for the song “Wish” .Nine Inch Nails’ second full-length album, The Downward Spiral, entered the Billboard 200 chart in 1994 at number two,and remains the highest-selling Nine Inch Nails release in America. To record the album, Reznor rented and moved into the 10050 Cielo Drive mansion, where the 1969. Manson Family murders took place. He built a studio space in the house, which he renamed Le Pig, after the word that was scrawled on the front door in Sharon Tate’s blood by her murderers. Reznor told Entertainment Weekly that, despite the notoriety attached to the house, he chose to record there because he “looked at a lot of places, and this just happened to be the one I liked most”. Nine Inch Nails toured extensively over the next few years, including a performance at Woodstock ’94, although he admitted to the audience that he did not like to play large venues. However, Reznor’s studio perfectionism, struggles with addiction, and bouts of writer’s block prolonged the production of a follow-up to The Downward Spiral
Outside of Nine Inch Nails, he has contributed to the albums of artists such as Marilyn Manson and Saul Williams. In 1997, Reznor appeared in Time magazine’s list of the year’s most influential people and Spin magazine described him as “the most vital artist in music”. One of Reznor’s earliest collaborations was a Ministry side project in 1990 under the name of 1000 Homo DJs. Reznor sang vocals on a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Supernaut”. Due to legal issues with his label, Reznor’s vocals had to be distorted to make his voice unrecognizable. The band also recorded additional versions with Al Jourgensen doing vocals. While there is still debate as to which version is Reznor and which is Jourgensen, it has been definitively stated that Reznor’s vocals were used in the TVT Records’ Black Boxbox set. Reznor sang backing vocals on “Past The Mission” by Tori Amos on her 1994 album Under the Pink. He produced Marilyn Manson’s first album, Portrait of an American Family (1994), and several tracks on Manson’s albums Smells Like Children (1995) and Antichrist Superstar (1996). He also produced the soundtracks for Oliver Stone’s 1994 film Natural Born Killers and David Lynch’s 1997 film Lost Highway. Reznor is credited for “Driver Down” and “Videodrones; Questions” on the Lost Highway soundtrack; another song, “The Perfect Drug”, is credited to Nine Inch Nails. Reznor produced a remix of the Notorious B.I.G.’s song “Victory”, featuring Busta Rhymes, in 1998
In May 2008 Reznor founded The Null Corporation and Nine Inch Nails released the studio albumThe Slip as a free digital download. In April 2010, it was announced that Reznor had formed a new band with his wife, Mariqueen Maandig, and Atticus Ross, called How to Destroy Angels. The group digitally released a self-titled six song EP on June 1, 2010. Reznor announced that the group’s next release would be an EP entitled An Omen EP, they released a song and music video from An Omen EP entitled “Keep it Together” and some of the EP’s songs also appear on the band’s first full length album entitled Welcome to Oblivion which was released In 2013.