"We have had the great honor to premiere the last two live musical accompaniments to silent film created by the amazing Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra, Buster Keaton's GO WEST, and F.W. Murnau's THE LAST LAUGH. In both cases, the band worked painstakingly on the score, finding the hidden heart of the film and reshaping it with contemporary relevance, bringing the great art of the original film into modern day light with complex arrangements and beautiful melodies. RPMPO have an eclectic and unexpected sound - far from their post-punk folk rock roots, they are in fact very gifted musicians with an ability to approach the subtleties of cinematic scoring with delicate force. The fact that they bring a younger audience to appreciate classic cinema is not only a refreshing trend, it is also a hopeful sign that the art of silent film accompaniment will live long."

-Mike Steinberg, Director, Webster University Film Series

Our current projects:

The immediate goal of the Rats and People Motion Picture Orchestra is to offer our small and hidden service to the power of the great films of the Silent Era by supporting them thoughtfully and respectfully with original music. Composing from the perspective that these films are not museum pieces but urgently relevant works of art, we tend to shy away from the styles that dominated early film accompaniment - often the popular tunes of the time - in observance of the hundred years or so of popular music that have since shaped the contemporary ear. The hope is that the realization of our immediate goal will build toward the ultimate goal, which is to draw a greater audience to the medium of silent film, with its strange and singular beauty.

Our tunes are informed by contemporary and classical sources alike. Our instrumentation includes a violin duo, piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, percussion, ambient tape loops, trumpets, trombones and guitars. Our forays into noise, folk, and psychedelia are tempered by a melodic sensibility rooted firmly in the Romantics.

Coming soon:

Past projects:

Check out our demo reel,
or listen to some demos organized by mood: