Exclusive: Freddy Scott, the man behind “This Is A Trent Reznor Song”

Freddy Scott, creator of “This Is A Trent Reznor Song,” talks admiration, inspiration, imitation, and famous teeth.

 

Trent Reznor has made a career out of being an innovator, a perfectionist, and a generally recognized-as-musical-genius leader in his field, but even he can be the target of some good-natured ribbing. In the video for “This Is A Trent Reznor Song,” the perfectly executed dead-on imitation created by Freddy Scott, Reznor’s mannerisms and songwriting style are spoofed to an extreme that is at the same time both scarily accurate and exaggerated enough to make it clearly a parody – a brilliantly hilarious parody. From the head-bobbing gripping of the mic with one hand behind his back to the anguished and fraught-with-desperation pulling of his shirt to the sneering expression on his face when he turns and asks his band, “What the hell was that??” Scott has produced a creative work that will clearly be tough to top by anyone bold enough to try. As Reznor once titled a song, “the mark has been made.”

From the original release of the audio only in January to the video dropping on March 25, Scott’s video has gone viral (100 YouTube views on 3/25 to nearly 200,000 today). How does someone decide to spend his time and effort on such a venture – with no guarantee of anything coming out of it – and more importantly, why and by what kind of person? Freddy Scott shares with us his motivation and inspiration for spoofing one of the most respected and revered musicians of our time … and someone who you definitely don’t want to antagonize enough to get him mad at you.

MHM: Although there has been an overwhelmingly positive response, there are a [relative] few who feel this video is a slam and insult to Trent personally and must have been done by someone who cannot stand NIN. So first and most important: fan or foe?? Tell the truth!

Freddy Scott: Huge fan. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? I think in order to accurately break something down into parody you really have to have love for it. Trent’s work has influenced me a lot. I love Nine Inch Nails and I love his composing work; it’s absolutely brilliant.

MHM: What gave you the idea to do this song and then video? Did you have the video in mind at the beginning or was it originally intended to be audio-only? Did the reaction to the audio surprise you and how did that influence the making of the video? I see you have gone from 100 views on the night of release to 68,000 by the next day and now at almost 200,000. Does this surprise you or were you expecting it at all?

FS: I made the song originally to make a few friends laugh. I had no idea that it would reach and resonate with so many people. I’m really happy it did, because then I was able to get together with some extremely talented friends of mine and make the video.

MHM: Having seen NIN almost 60 times myself, mostly from the rail, and photographed their shows many times, I am very familiar with “Trent’s moves” – the exaggerated imitation of his mannerisms is almost uncanny in parts. How much research did you do vis-à-vis studying footage?

FS: Back to question one, I’m a big fan of the guy. So, it wasn’t a matter of research per se, mostly it was just trying to find a really great wig. I’m considering wearing the wig for the rest of my life judging by the two marriage proposals I received. So guys, forget nice dinners and fancy cars. Wigs are the way.

MHM: For video styles, I can see Closer (obviously); The Hand That Feeds; Help Me I Am In Hell; We’re In This Together; maybe a little March Of The Pigs and Into The Void; live With Teeth tour stage backdrop – what am I missing (and what am I wrong about)? How did you pick and choose which style elements to put in?

FS: I’m happy you see more than we intended!

MHM: Well I am probably over-thinking it.

FS: I have to give visionary credit here to director Chris Amick for being a genius and picking the right elements to parody. We went for a mix of some iconic NIN videos, my favorite being “The Hand That Feeds.” The videos we specifically went for are “Closer,” “The Hand That Feeds,” and “We’re In This Together.” Again, Chris is a genius, and Alex Peters, who edited it, is also a genius. Together, they form a Voltron of genius.

MHM: The song is of course a copy of “Copy Of A,” which is NIN’s most recent single and is years younger than the other songs from which you took style elements. Why did you pick that one over all others? Was there a conscious decision to span a good breadth of NIN history or did that just end up as the song without much specific thought?

FS: I was returning from buying a delicious vegan chocolate chip cookie from Whole Foods on Fairfax in West Hollywood when I was listening to “Copy Of A,” and the lyrics to “This Is A Trent Reznor Song” started coming to mind, so I started singing them with the song. I went home and wrote and recorded the track in a couple hours and posted it shortly after. I’d like to think that the cookie had a lot to do with it, which was from Whole Foods. Here’s hoping that if I plug Whole Foods again they will give me some sort of endorsement. Whole Foods.

MHM: So the look … maybe it’s the hair or maybe I’m projecting, but it seems you do bear more than a passing resemblance to Trent – even the silhouette of your teeth is very similar. Did that factor into your decision to make this parody and not one about some other artist?

FS: Not at all. Although now I will tell my dentist that I have very famous-looking teeth.

MHM: Trent has been known to be pretty … vocal … when he doesn’t like something – be it the Grammys, someone else’s album, animal cruelty, Internet trolls – he’s going to say what he thinks and to hell with anyone who doesn’t like it. If Trent were to call you with his opinion on this, what do you think he would say? What do you hope he would say?

FS: I hope he would dig it. And say to me “Freddy, I dig it.”

MHM: OK one last question – Who is Freddy Scott and what is next for him?

FS: What an existential question. You’ll have to stay tuned while I consult my spirit guide. There is more coming though.

MHM: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. I am looking forward to something “very awesome.”

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This Is A Trent Reznor Song

Created, Written and Produced by Freddy Scott (@FreddyScott)
Featuring Jared Blake Scharff, Aidean Abounasseri, and Jake Long
Directed by Chris Amick (@ChrisAmick)
Music and Lyrics by Freddy Scott
Edited by Alexandra Peters (@alpfilm)
Cinematography and VFX by Chris Amick
Co-Produced by Dieterich Gray (@dieterichgray)

On iTunes and Amazon.

Article by maryelle st. clare. Not sponsored by Whole Foods but it could be. Get in touch. Whole Foods Whole Foods Whole Foods Whole Foods Whole Foods Whole Foods Whole Foods Whole Foods Whole Foods Whole Foods Whole Foods.

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