Danny Elfman teams up with Trent Reznor for ultra-industrial reimagining of True

[L-R] Danny Elfman and Trent Reznor
(Image credit: Silvia Grav / Han Myung-Gu/WireImage)

Danny Elfman has teamed up with Nine Inch Nails leader Trent Reznor for an expansive industrial reimagining of True, from his latest album, Big Mess.

Combining walls of dystopian electric guitar with thumping electronic percussion, cinematic synths and enveloping piano flares, Elfman and Reznor trade unsettling vocal lines between smatterings of ultra-distorted lead guitar.

The track's accompanying music video – which is directed by Aron Johnson, who contributed visual effects to the album version's Sarah Sitkin-directed video – is available to watch now. It combines elements of Sitkin's archived footage with brand-new 3D modeling. Check it out below.

“This is the first duet/collaboration I've ever done in my life, so to do it with Trent was a real surprise and a treat,” says Elfman. “He's always been a big inspiration to me, not to mention he has one of my all-time-favorite singing voices.”

Danny Elfman released Big Mess – his first album in 37 years – on June 11 via ANTI-/Epitaph. Comprising an impressive 18 tracks, the record sees the legendary composer joined by guitarists Robin Finck (Nine Inch Nails, Guns N' Roses) and Nili Brosh, drummer Josh Freese (Weezer, The Vandals) and bassist Stu Brooks (Lady Gaga, Dub Trio).

As Elfman explains, the album was almost entirely created during the Covid pandemic.

“Once I began writing, it was like opening a Pandora’s box and I found I couldn’t stop,” he says. “None of it was planned. I had no idea how many songs I would write but from the start it quickly became a two-sided project with heavily contrasting and even conflicting tones.”

He also detailed, in a recent Guitar World interview, how writing the album was a “very, very personal” experience.

“[A] surprise for me when writing was that I was writing more first-person/personal than I used to,” he said. “In the past, I used to do everything pretty sarcastically, and usually from a third-person perspective – from the standpoint of a character and not myself. That's definitely one way to do it, but it is also protective.

“This may have been about the quarantine and isolation, but everything was really raw, and I found I was writing much more personal than I was used to, and it was kinda scary in a way but once I got used to getting it off my chest I thought, ‘What the fuck do I care?’ If they’re not into it, they’re not into it. And if they disagree, they disagree. I’m not going to worry about it.”

Danny Elfman

(Image credit: Sarah Sitkin)

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at GuitarWorld.com from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar (opens in new tab).