Folge 86: Firewatch OST und Chris Remo im Interview

Nach einem Monat Pause melden wir uns zurück: ICO-Radio, der Podcast über Videospielmusik. Die Warterei hat sich jedoch gelohnt, denn wir haben ein Interview mit Chris Remo im Gepäck. Der Komponist des Firewatch Soundtracks spricht mit uns u.a über seine Arbeit bei Entwickler Campo Santo und wie er sich für seine Arbeit vorbereitet. Hinzu stellen wir euch den OST in der Folge natürlich auch ausführlich vor. Des Weiteren haben wir den Soundtrack zu The Division unter der Lupe und ein exklusives Sample zum Soundtrack von Villagers, dessen Komponist Michael Cherdchupan in der nächsten Folge zu Gast sein wird! Viel Spaß also bei der ICO-Radio Folge 86. Hinterlast gerne Feedback zur Sendung in unseren Kommentaren und folgt und auf Facebook und Twitter.


ICO-Radio – Folge 86 Playlist:

  • 04:36 – Firewatch OST: Camp Approach – Chris Remo
  • 08:28 – Firewatch OST: Ol‘ Shoshone – Chris Remo
  • 10:28 – Botanicula OST: Level 3 – Dva Amazon/iTunes
  • 13:22 – Beyond Good & Evil OST: Propaganda – Christophe Héral
  • 19:30 – The Division OST: Dark Zone – Ola Strandh Amazon/iTunes
  • 23:17 -Warhammer 40, 000: Space Marine OST: Titan – Sascha Dikiciyan,Cris Velasco  Amazon/iTunes
  • 25:24 – Secret World OST: Sand meets Sky
  • 26:58 – Villagers OST: Keep Looking Ahead – Michael Cherdchupan

Interview mit Chris Remo zum Firewatch Soundtrack:

ICO-Radio: How did you prepare for that project? Where do you get your inspiration?
Chris Remo: I was also a designer on Firewatch, and was on the story team, so I suppose my main preparation was simply being involved in the creation of the game.

ICO-Radio:What characterizes the soundtrack for you the most?
Chris Remo: I wanted the soundtrack to be simple, approachable, human, and also a little unsettling. The world of Firewatch is beautiful and overwhelming, thanks to the work of our artists, so I thought most of the time the music should be fairly subtle, and complement the environments rather than try to overpower them. I am not an amazing performer, and while I’m not particularly proud of that, I think in this case it lends the guitar and piano performances a somewhat flawed and human-scale sensibility that works for this soundtrack.

ICO-Radio: How long it takes until a Track is finished?
Chris Remo: Most of this music was written fairly quickly. I had several other roles on the game, including game design and working on the story, as well as the rest of the sound design, so music made up a minority of my total time spent on Firewatch. Usually I would perform a track, then show it to someone else like Jake to get a reaction. If the track seemed appropriate, it generally only got a few revisions before going in the game—or I would put it in the game immediately, then revise based on how it feels in the game. But usually the first take was at least relatively close to the final version, and if a track didn’t work I would just throw it away entirely rather than try and bang it into something that worked. Sometimes I would go back and grab pieces of discarded attempts, months later.

ICO-Radio:What characteristics must have your soundtracks, so they will not be repetitive and boring?
Chris Remo: I don’t know if I have any specific principles that carry from soundtrack to soundtrack. Some people have compared this soundtrack to my music for Gone Home, which I totally understand, because they both use a lot of quiet guitar and electric piano, but the creation process was about as different as can possibly be—especially since on Gone Home I was a contract composer and on Firewatch I was a full-time developer. But if you look at other soundtracks I’ve done, like Thirty Flights of Loving and Spacebase DF-9, I think they sound very different, and I don’t think I had very similar thought processes in mind. In terms of repetition, it really depends. Spacebase DF-9 has a fully looping soundtrack, so I just tried to listen to the music a lot and make sure it didn’t get annoying—that’s a game where the music is truly „background music.“ Whereas Thirty Flights of Loving has looping music as well, but much of it is intentionally very in-your-face, because the whole vibe of the game is bombastic and fast and surprising. So in that case I just had totally different concerns in terms of how the repetition should work. On Gone Home, there’s not a single looping track—every piece was scored to a specific purpose—so I just had to do my best to make sure that each track fit the circumstances of the material it was accompanying. Firewatch was different to all of these, because some music was looping, some was scored to a specific scene, and some was non-looping but could play at different points for different players. Since I was also responsible for implementing all the music, not just composing and performing it, I was able to try out a lot of different approaches throughout the game. In the case of Firewatch I think I also kept the music from being boring by simply being very restrained in how much I use it. There’s never a case where the same music track plays twice in any given playthrough. Hopefully that meant people were glad when the music did appear, instead of being tired of it.

ICO-Radio: Are you listening privately to video games music and is there a favorite one?
Chris Remo: I don’t listen to a lot of video game music in my spare time—not because there isn’t a lot of good video game music, I just find that most of it works better in context rather than alone. But I’ve been listening to Jessica Curry’s score to Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture recently. She is probably the most impressive video game composer currently working, I think. She makes me feel like a total idiot fool by comparison, like I shouldn’t be allowed to make video game music.

ICO-Radio: Have you rituals that you do before you start your work on a soundtrack?
Chris Remo: Nope!

ICO-Radio: Are there composers who inspired you when writing soundtracks or have made you to take this job?
Chris Remo: When I was growing up, I was absolutely obsessed with the three in-house LucasArts composers: Peter McConnell, Michael Land, and Clint Bajakian. I listened to their music all the time, it was ridiculous. I never had any ambition to actually go into video game composition or development myself, I just thought their music was great. In particular, Peter McConnell’s Grim Fandango score is I think one of the truly great video game soundtracks. Also, Matt Uelman, the former Blizzard North composer who created the Diablo and Diablo II soundtracks, is criminally under-discussed. I guarantee that anyone who ever played Diablo has a tiny part of their brain that will always activate powerfully whenever they hear Uelman’s impossibly atmospheric guitar work from that game. The thing I love about composers like Uelman, McConnell, and Curry is that they all operate far outside of the typical video game idiom, bringing in ideas and techniques and sounds from the classical tradition, the rock and pop and jazz traditions, and so on.

ICO-Radio: Can you say something about other new projects from you?
Chris Remo: No, because there aren’t any yet! We’re still figuring out what’s next. I have absolutely no idea at this point.

ICO-Radio: Thank you Chris for your time!

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