For anyone to be able to hold his or her own next to the leopard print leotard clad exploding fireworks factory of a front woman that is Karen O takes a certain level of supreme coolness. Obviously that was achieved by a pale, 115 lb (with a good 20% of that being hair, really excellent hair) soft-spoken young man whose musical prowess had quite a bit to do with it. Thus was Nick Zinner, champion of turn of the century guitar gods, and the unchallenged not so secret ingredient in one of NYC’s last great rock bands, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
In the middle of the last decade, after ten+ years of magnificence, the Yeah 3s started slowing down, which gave the hard working Zinner time to experiment. And so he did, playing in two other bands, and collaborating/performing with the likes of Santigold, TV On The Radio, Arcade Fire, Damon Albarn, Scarlett Johansson and, well, there was that orchestral performance at Rockefeller Center. He also produced and worked on soundtracks, even such mainstream fodder (and a personal fave of ours) as Mad Max: Fury Road.
One such soundtrack that has benefited from his enigmatic artistry is the recently released Knives and Skin, a deliciously unnerving millennial fever dream, which story surrounds the mysterious disappearance of a popular high school girl, and the emotional chaos/galvanizing that occurs afterwards (The Hollywood Reporter described it as “Twin Peaks meets Donnie Darko.”) Zinner’s score of dark, synthy instrumentals perfectly captures, and accentuates, the tone of director Jennifer Reeder’s surreal suburban nightmare.
“I thank Jennifer for trusting me to score her visionary feature,” Zinner enthuses. “The aim for me is always to create a soundtrack that helps to support and define the world and characters of the film without overpowering them. It was thrilling to work with such a wide scope of personalities and experiences, but still try to maintain a—mostly dark—emotional continuity through it all.”