When guitarist Josh Robins launched the rock band the Invincible Czars
some 15 years ago in Austin, he wanted the band to be able to play film scores.
“I would go to shows and see bands perform scores to silent movies and loved it,” he says. “What I didn’t like was that some of the bands would play their rock sets. They'd just play their music with an old movie as the backdrop. But the groups that stay with the movie create a real experience.”
Ten years ago, the band got its first chance to play the score to a silent movie. It performed along to a screening of the Russian silent film Aelita, Queen of Mars
"We were part of the second wave of that," says Robins. "The trend had died off and come back. I don’t think we’ll do that one again. It’s an important movie, but it’s long. There are also subplots that don’t go anywhere.”
The group will perform at 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6, at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque
. It will play its original scores to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
, which screens at 7, and Nosferatu
, which screens at 9:30. The performances will mark the band’s Cleveland debut.
For the Nosferatu
score, it will use violin, glockenspiel, organ, flute, bass clarinet, voices and vocals, music box, loops, electric guitar, bass, singing bowl and percussion as it borrows some music from Bela Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances.
For Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
, the band has arranged Eric Satie’s Gnossienne No. 1 and No. 5 as well as the obscure Debussy piece Footsteps in the Snow and Jules Massanet’s Meditation.
“We don’t try to make it sound period accurate," says Robins. "We get modern but we try to be tasteful. Our target audience is just people who like movies. We’re not trying to impress the silent film elite. We want people to come and have fun.”