Teho & Gregory Terlikowsk

Teho & Gregory Terlikowski deliver sprawling soundtrack for Backfirewall: Listen

While scoring a video game is not an uncommon practice, every game requires a unique style and sound to help bring the game to life while also helping set it apart from its competitors.  It is with this goal in mind that producers Teho and Greg Terlikowski came together to create the sounds that would represent the new game, Backfirewall.

Designed for the modern age like no other game, Backfirewall takes place inside a cell phone, as the player is a digital assistant of sorts, and the objective is to update the operating system for the phone.  The dilemma is that the current operating system. OS9 is not happy about being replaced, and you find out that you will be killed off as well if the update is successful.  With the inside of a cell phone as the landscape for the gameplay, Teho, and Greg Terlikowski were challenged with creating a sonic production that aligned with this setting.  Greg Terlikowski had worked with members of the Backfirewall team on prior projects and was brought on for his expertise in both music production as well as soundscapes and ambiances.  He discusses the process he used in trying to imagine life inside a cell phone while paying mind to the player’s journey and the emotions that follow the choices made:

“The video game has the particularity of being non-linear, you must always keep in mind that the player is pro-active, he will make choices that will influence the game and therefore also the music. The way to implement music in the game is a very important factor, as a composer you must keep this in mind, it is very likely that your composition will be different in the game, you don’t have the control and need to trust the programmers. In that way, yes definitely it is very different from my usual work.”

Teho had a different experience of sorts, coming from an electronic music background, and getting involved with the game at the start of the pandemic, when he would have an abundance of free time because live music was shut down.  Having never scored a game before, he used the process to learn new techniques, engage with Greg on musical directions, and also find his own voice within the project.  The end result is a unique landscape of sounds and songs, that even without playing the game, the music takes the listener on a journey from track to track.  With the multi-dimensional sounds involved, it is hard to pin down the exact style of the soundtrack, but Teho tries to sum it up:

“It’s hard to put a name on the music because what I’ve done is pretty eclectic, some tracks are Techno, some are downtempo/electronic, some are Melodic House. Let’s just say it’s electronic music :)”

Play Backfirewall and be sure to check out the soundtrack from whatever streaming service you prefer.

Image Credit: Teho & Gregory Terlikowsk (Press)

Avid music fan, and avid music producer! Producer and songwriter for NOHC.

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