Trent Reznor may have won an Academy Award and Golden Globe for co-writing the score to The Social Network, but he has not "gone Hollywood" yet. In fact, to celebrate his latest film composition project, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Reznor wanted to do something unusual.
"I was thinking outside the box, and we wanted to do interesting things for the promotion of the film," Reznor tells Rolling Stone. "[Something] other than some bullshit party at the Chateau Marmont with a bunch of bullshit people."
So Reznor, with the blessing of Dragon Tattoo director David Fincher, sought out Gary Richards, the mastermind behind the HARD electronic music festivals, to put an event together. "I’ve always respected what [Richards] does with HARD, and I thought that was exactly what we needed," Reznor says. "This would [reach] people that were interested in the soundtrack. And somehow everyone thought that was a good idea. That just left Gary to try to figure out how to pull it off."
Richards pulled off successful events – called "HARD X mouth taped shut" – in New York and Chicago this past weekend and has two more events this weekend, in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In assembling the lineups and putting the events together, Richards followed the same formula he uses for HARD.
"What I’ve always done with HARD is just go with my gut on what I like," Richards says. "So we decided to just put together events like we normally would." He adds, "I never really used HARD as a brand to promote anything other than good music that we like," so he couldn't turn down Reznor.
"Basically, for me, Trent is a huge reason why I do HARD," Richards says. "I’ve been a huge fan from day one, and I love rock and electronic music. So it felt real to me to put our name on something that he’s working on."
Reznor, of course, has long been a champion of and figure in the electronic music scene, and he's enjoying the booming success of dance music culture. "I’ve seen taste and climate change, and I’m excited about the kind of music Gary is putting on," Reznor says. "I’m impressed by the excitement and the way that it resonates with the crowd, and I think it’s a very exciting time in that particular genre."
The feeling is reciprocated, making Richards' job easier. This past weekend HARD X mouth taped shut featured performances by Miike Snow, Sebastian Ingrosso and Bloody Beetroots, among others. The lineups for this weekend's events have yet to be announced.
Reznor says the unconventional promotion is appropriate for the film. "We’re trying to do something where we’re supporting the movie," he says. "A lot of integrity went into the making of it, and we’re just trying to put it out there in the world in a lot of unusual ways."
And as long as everyone in attendance has a good time, Reznor figures the event's a success. "The end result is an event that anyone attending leaves and goes, 'Wow, that was great. Oh, and it was free. Fuck, it was pretty cool,'" Reznor says. "That’s my only agenda here."
Fans in L.A. and San Francisco who want to check out the free shows can RSVP via http://www.hardfest.com/.
- Gary Richards