Just Call Dennis Robicheau and the Sophisticates Dive-Folk Slicksters
Singer/songwriter Dennis Robicheau, 25, epitomizes the fabulous dive-club scene happening in Long Beach right now—a guy in a T-shirt and cut-off jeans writing Tom Waits-ish acoustic guitar tunes, then turning them over to a rotating cast of scene regulars for live interpretation. It gets pretty weird, even psychedelic at times, with electronics and samplers getting involved alongside a varying lineup of instrumentation. In February, Robicheau will release his second EP, I Just Don't Know, and he has a track on the new Mountain Man Records compilation.
OC Weekly: Is this your first media interview?
Dennis Robicheau: There was one I did for a music blog a little while back. My friend put it together; I am not sure if the blog is still around.
Maybe this isn't an annoying question, then: What's your sound like?
I'd say it's bluesy country that is heavily psychedelic with a bunch of noise going on. Hints of rock and plenty of folk? Like a dive bar from Tennessee relocated to Mars maybe?
Nice. What don't you sound like?
As cool as I think the stuff is, I'd say my music isn't very Thai funk. I wouldn't say we are much of a disco band, either.
Your band, the Sophisticates, have been a revolving door of musicians. Is that difficult?
It is and isn't so much anymore. Sheridan Riley is playing drums on the regs now. As is Ray Cruces on bass and Andy Summers doing samples and effects. At one point, there were nine-plus musicians rotating in and out, which was a blast because no show is the same. The songs could always feel new and exciting. Getting everyone together to practice and learn new songs was really tough, though. Also, everyone is in other bands, so shows would overlap. Now I have a core, and people are coming in and playing some shows. At the Prospector, it will be Sheridan, Andy, Ray and me, but Alfred Hernandez will also be playing keys, and J.P. Bendzinski will be playing guitar.
There's lots of grassroots community-type stuff happening with the Long Beach scene right now . . .
The community is real cool. So many bands are all friends, and everyone goes to everyone's shows. People play on one another's projects. A lot of us all hang and cold-hard chill a lot, too. The music put out in Long Beach is pretty great.
What's the best room in Long Beach?
One of my favorites was the Dark Room. Cool warehouse, good stage. Good sound. And all the shows were always a blast. I really liked it, but the police didn't.
Rate yourself on scale of one to 10, with one being 100 percent earnest and 10 being 100 percent ironic.
Wait a second. If I say one, I am arrogant about humbleness, and if I say 10, I'm super-arrogant. . . . I'm actually curious what people would rate me as.
This column appeared in print as "Dive-Folk Slick."
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