By Danny Kresnyak
VANCOUVER — Dopey’s Robe is a five-piece Vancouver slime-pop post-rock band. Guitarist, co-vocalist, and Mount Pleasant liquor mix-master Max sums up with three words: “Keep it slimy.”
This ethos strikes to effect in drummer Matt “Mort” Munn’s refusal to write beats for any melody he deems too poppy or soft. “I play raw drums,” says the skin pounder, juice maker, and oracle of the time space continuum. “Sometimes I just come with a drum beat, and I’m like ‘awww this is sick. Play bass to this.’”
Songwriting technique aside, Mort was the champion of the band’s name, the visionary behind its logo, and takes lead vocals in the song “Under the Robe,” a track all members agree is the best introduction to their sound. “I get so hyped when we play, especially when I can see him (gestures to flute, harp, lap-steel, and drum smoking leatherman, David).”
“Dopey’s Robe is like champagne,” says David.
In addition to pedal steel, this energetic multi-instrumentalist has brought the flute into his repertoire since joining the group. “In my other band I do vocals so my hands were free,” he says, as he spins a drum cigarette between slender-ringed fingers.
The group is seated on an earth tone velvet 1970s vintage couch. In front of them is a pressboard coffee table and half-full magnum bottle of Chilean red, the cork lost shortly after removal never to be seen again. Jethro Tull’s This Was spins on a turntable next to a mirror, reflecting the scene back at its subjects.
“Now we have at least like three or four tracks that include the flute,” Kasper, the bands the vocalist and guitar player, silent until now, pipes in.
Dopey’s Robe is relatively new on the stage, though the membership has played in several other respected Vancouver acts, including The Silver Skeleton Band and Wandering Halls. Their live show has a growing reputation as a slime-fest. At a recent house party show, the group’s set was interrupted when a pipe in the boiler room was broken and the crowd of 200 people was exposed to a gas leak of unknown substance or origin. “I was feeling good man,” Kasper smiles as he shares this memory.
While the band has marked several early victories in a hot streak of Vancouver live venues, they say the energy of a house party is what they crave. “When it’s all your homies there, and everybody is getting raw,” says bass-player by night, UBC oceanography lecturer by day Kohen. “You know when everything’s hitting perfect and you’re playing the songs perfect, that’s sick as fuck.”
The boys in Dopey’s Robe are hard at work on new material, and planning a tour to Tijuana in the coming months. If all goes to plan, they’ll be in a basement near you soon. Keep in mind, however, that they never play on Sundays. “I have basketball,” says Kohen. And the other members agree, Sunday is their day off.
Dopey’s Robe perform on February 16 at the Cobalt.BC, British Columbia, Cobalt, Dopey’s Robe