Talking with Devil Music Ensemble

red heroineOctober PEM/PM happens this Thursday when Devil Music Ensemble performs their original score during a screening of Red Heroine, the only remaining feature-length martial arts film from China’s silent era. Made at the height of the martial arts craze in 1920s Shanghai, the movie tells about the rise of a woman warrior and features the genre’s blend of pulp and action.

Founded in 1999 by Brendon Wood, Devil Music Ensemble explores many facets of music — rock, electronic, orchestral, folk, improvisation, incidental, etc. They search out obscure silent films to score, which enhances the film-watching experience for all. The trio recently finished a European tour, giving live soundtrack performances to Red Heroine in 12 countries in Western and Eastern Europe. We caught up with Brendon and sent him a few questions.

Q: What do you like about old films and how did you come to playing their scores?
Tim, Jonah, and I, the three members of the Devil Music Ensemble, have always been interested in film. Whether contemporary, classics, or silents. We first got into this after a friend asked if we would be interested in scoring a film for a silent film festival at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, MA. We gladly accepted and scored our first film, “Le Voyage Imaginaire” by René Clair.

Q: You’ve toured in China. What was their reaction to your score of the film?

We did tour China. I think the score was well received, although, the film is as obscure there as it is here.

Q: You’ve also fronted films such as Nosferatu and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. What do you find scarey?

I’m not sure scary is the correct word. I think largely we’re drawn to the film making techniques from the period, the make up, the sets. Could you imagine seeing any of these films on the big screen when they originally were released?


nosferatu night

Q: This is not your first time to play at PEM. What do you like about performing in museums?

I believe this is our fifth time at the museum. We enjoy performing in any venue really. The museum atmosphere is always enjoyable.

devil music ensemble

  Enjoy this review from when Devil Music Ensemble  performed Red Heroine in 2012.

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