Trent Reznor’s new project How To Destroy Angels was the perfect opportunity to fulfill his longstanding desire to work with visual arts collective Shynola. The result, a short film set to HTDA’s single “How Long,” paints an eerie future in which humans have reverted to their most primitive instincts. Set in a desert wasteland, the video centers on a glowing-eyed youth preying on his target as HTDA’s singer (and Reznor’s wife) Mariqueen Maandiq repeats over the song’s throbbing beats, “How long can we keep holding on?”
On being a longtime fan of the directing team, Trent Reznor says: “[Shynola’s] work is visually striking and consistently stands out. When we started talking about possible directors to work with for ‘How long,’ their name came up right away. It’s been an honor to finally work with them, and to get their wholly unique interpretation of the themes we’ve been exploring with this record and this song.” Shynola echoed praise of collaborating with Reznor’s team, “we had a great conversation where the band articulated their ideas about modern identity, the effect of technology on culture and our inability to connect with others. We’re fascinated by anthropology and coincidentally we had been toying with ideas for a feature film about a post-technology civilization, in which humans have reverted to primitive behavior. Sometimes things just fit together.”
That they did, and the outcome is unforgettable. Shynola’s haunting vision of a bleak futureworld perfectly captures the title of HTDA’s debut: Welcome Oblivion.