Ally Mode haunts the Silver Dollar Room, Nov. 8
North Toronto’s Jason Legge is standing in a second-floor hallway at the Rehearsal Factory, at Sherbourne and Front, when he makes a bold statement of his new band, Ally Mode.
“Honestly, I think we’re the best band of all time,” he declares.
Tufts of cigarette smoke are pulled by phantom hands toward the dim lights that shine down on the 30-year-old and bandmates Kaila Baker, 23, and Dillon Spencer, 28.
Baker and Spencer laugh at his comment.
“It’s different,” Baker adds. “It’s newer, so I think that gives us a bit of an edge.”
But if you ask Legge, who’s taken a hiatus from the Skirt Chasers, his rock duo with Hilary Chan, his new collective meets all the requirements for a great band.
“If you’re looking for something sensational, I find that a lot of bands will get two out of three pillars of rock and roll correct,” he says. “They’ll either have songwriting, or have a story to tell but they’re missing that boogie-woogie or something that gets your girlfriend to go to the front of the stage. Or some bands will have that boogie-woogie but won’t have the songwriting to back it up.
“I’d like to think we have all aspects. We have the fun. We have the sex, and the songwriting too.”
Legge met his new troupe through the rich music scene Toronto has to offer. Spencer, who grew up in the Beach but calls midtown’s Cedarvale neighbourhood home, played keyboards with Low Hanging Lights.
He’s back in familiar territory playing guitar, but contributing to the songwriting front will be a new bonus.
“There was another primary songwriter [with Low Hanging Lights] that wrote excellent songs, that gave us this great finished product,” he admits.
Legge says he appreciates the added help on the creative side of their project, which is infused with jazzy, country jams that are guitar driven. Their first show was Thursday night at the Gladstone, and their next is Nov. 8 at the Silver Dollar Room.
“It’s fun. I’ve never collaborated with another guitarist before,” he adds. “Songs come a lot easier when you’re not the sole driving force behind it.
“It’s just that a collaborative effort is way more fun.”
Baker, originally from Newmarket and now residing in the downtown hood of the Grange, provides vocals and tambourine.
When asked for a description of her haunting voice on their title track, “Ally Mode”, Baker laughs.
“Oh, I would not be the person to describe that. I’ve never done something like this before, so it’s all very new.”
“We were drinking on Kaila’s porch, and I heard her sing for the first time, and said, ‘You need to be in Ally Mode’,” he says. “She’s being very modest right now.
“It’s exactly what you want, in a band like this.”
That leaves only the drummer: a vintage, reel-to-reel drum machine called the Rhythm King.
As for the trio’s name, Ally Mode, it comes from ice cream and motorcycles.
Explains Legge: “I thought it was the funniest, best band name I’d ever not heard of. I kind of liked it: on the side with ice cream, in style, and also has a story attached to it. It’s also the name of my motorcycle: a ’77 Kawasaki
But for a man who dons a cowboy hat, boots and black attire akin to Johnny Cash, there are no side projects.