It takes two to make Slight alright

This Montreal psychedelic duo is a relative newcomer in the Lennon/McCartney or Krug/Boeckner mold.

Slight-photo-Neal-Rockwell (640x426)
Slight. Photo by Neal Rockwell
The recent public falling out of Blink-182 is a reminder of the delicate equilibrium facing bands with two principal songwriters. But as the pop-punkers also proved, there are fruitful, peak years to be had when there are two strong-willed frontmen pushing each other to greater heights.

A relative newcomer in the Lennon/McCartney or Krug/Boeckner mold are local psychedelic rockers Slight, led by guitarist Michael Hahn and keyboardist Danji Buck-Moore. After a whirlwind beginning with multiple drummers, a heavily amplified baritone saxophone and a more atmospheric debut, the duo is now ready to chip away at a full-length follow-up. In the meantime, they dropped two-sided single “Spirit School”/“Tasting” in October.

The concise, hooky A-side is fronted by Hahn, while the more kaleidoscopic, languid B-side is Buck-Moore’s. The format is a casual nod to ’90s singles, where the hit gets paired with an out-there deep cut.

“I’ve always loved bands that have two songwriters or more,” admits Hahn. “I love listening to Sonic Youth records and hearing a Kim Gordon song, then a Lee Ranaldo song next. Both of us have a bit of our own solo songwriting going on, but then we’re excited to come together and collaborate on the arrangements.”

Adds Buck-Moore: “We write songs separately, then bring them to each other when they’re at some stage of completion, but that could vary from 60 per cent to 90 per cent. We’ve also super-glued separate, incomplete ideas together into one song.”

Slight have little recorded material out there, but they’re in the process of stockpiling songs for the next album. Even though the recent single goes that route, Hahn doesn’t necessarily represent the pop side and Buck-Moore the adventurous one.

“That’s why you get excited to form a band with someone in the first place,” says Hahn. “You’re on the same wavelength and you’re bringing a similar set of influences to the table. I would even say we’re influenced by each other and push each other to write better songs.”

They’ve been doing much of their writing and recording at the Plant, the much-loved Mile Ex art space and venue. Both are part of the collective that runs it, so they’re familiar with the quirks of trying to achieve “weird amp alchemy” in such a hectic space where other artists are passing through. Their goal, they say, is to produce more noise with two people than listeners are accustomed to.

“We’ve gotten good at it. We know what’s realistic,” says Buck-Moore.

“We record there,” adds Hahn. “It can be totally crazy. We have this set-up figured out between our rooms where we put instruments and amps in Danji’s room and turn them up to full blast, then we record from my room with cables going across the space. It works pretty well. It’s as good a bedroom-style of recording session as you can hope for.”

They say the Plant’s lease is coming up, and although other spaces of that type in the neighbourhood have fallen by the wayside, they’re optimistic about the future.

As for the band, one can only hope their trajectory is as upward as fellow locals Ought, who not only have a similar sounding name, but were also Plant rehearsal space alumni.

“One word bandnames are tight,” they both exclaim, adding that at the time both groups came up with their monikers, there was another band rehearsing at the Plant with the even more awesome name Debt.

“I think everyone was just tired of being called Crystal Bear Girls,” jokes Hahn. “Maybe we’re trending away from multi-word animal bandnames.” ■
Slight open for Archery Guild and Feefawfum at Casa del Popolo (4873 St-Laurent) on Saturday, Jan. 31, 8 p.m., $7