Crazy In Love – Looping Cello Version

About a month ago, I got this nutty idea to perform a looping cello version of “Crazy In Love” with a pole dancer. Why was I moved to try this?

Firstly, I loved the new “Crazy In Love” rendition that was done for the Fifty Shades of Grey film. It was dark, brooding, and its tone really got to what the implications of the original song were. Plus, beyond the fact that I already had connections with an incredibly talented pole dancer that I knew could deliver on an amazing interpretive dance (Danae Montreuil), I also knew that looping cello, pole dancing, and Fifty Shades of Grey had never been combined in this way before. I’d be creating something that would be wholly unique, even though it was based off of a song that had been remade.

After weeks of planning, we shot the entire video in about 5-6 takes at Divine Movement in Seattle using pre-recorded audio. This video was shot using a Canon 5D Mark III (primary camera), as well as a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and a Canon 60D. After we’d got all the material with me in it, I repositioned the Canon 5D Mark III and shot Danae at a more close-up angle, which I spliced in to the rest of the video. I think the result is fairly seamless.

This video was picked up by my colleagues at MTV and Refinery29, along with many other pole dancing-affiliated sites and Facebook pages. It dramatically expanded the audience for my cello playing. I’m grateful to all the people that made it possible.

O Holy Night – Cello Version

I put together this cello rendition of “O Holy Night” in the hopes of bringing everyone some Christmas cheer. This video is dedicated to my mother, Marilyn, who gave me the gift of music. Can’t wait to see the whole Chen family in Seattle in a few days!

This is my first cello video using pre-recorded loops. I liked how it turned out although the arrangement is very simple – hopefully I’ll be able to play with some more complex rhythms in the future. Find the rest of my looping cello videos at

I hope everyone has a happy holiday season this year. To those who’ve read this blog and supported my endeavors, you have my gratitude.

“Time” from Hans Zimmer’s ‘Inception’ Score – Looping Cello Version

Things got unexpectedly emotional for me the other day.

I spent dozens of hours over the summer and fall practicing a looping cello arrangement of “Time” from Hans Zimmer’s score for Inception. The arrangement was done by musician/composer extraordinaire Andrew Barkan, but I added a few little flourishes to make it my own. On Thursday afternoon, I pushed my little creation out into the world at /Film.

Subsequently, I was very happy to see this video appear at places such as Reddit Videos, The Dissolve, The Film Stage, and MovieFone. But really, what was incredible were all the positive comments the video got via /Film and Twitter.

Best thing I’ve seen or heard this week: @davechensky solo-performing “Time” from Hans Zimmer’s INCEPTION score.
— Matt Zoller Seitz (@mattzollerseitz) November 7, 2014

A fantastic reminder from @davechensky that the #Inception score is more than just BRONG:
— Myles McNutt (@Memles) November 9, 2014

It’s been about 4 months since I started playing cello again after a 10-year absence. I spent over a thousand dollars to get my cello shipped to me, get it repaired, buy a looping pedal/amp/equipment — all with just a vague hope that I’d be able to use it to create something unique. There was never any assurances of success, or any reasonable expectation that if I did succeed, the work would ever catch on. To see thousands of people enjoying the video just made my heart very full.

Since I started playing cello againmy new Youtube channel has accumulated over 40K views.  I wouldn’t describe it as even close to “going viral,” but it’s enough encouragement for me to keep on going for a little while longer…

Mr. Brightside – Looping Cello Cover

I recently put together this brief cello cover of The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” and was pleased to see that it was mentioned at both LaughingSquid and Devour this morning.

Each one of these videos takes a lengthy amount of time to practice for, shoot, and then edit, so it’s always gratifying to see that people are watching these videos and enjoying them. If you’ve ever looked/liked/shared, thanks so much! You’re giving me the motivation to keep going.

You can find all my looping cello videos at