Under The Gun Review is very pleased to bring you this exclusive interview with Scale The Summit; hands down one of the most talented instrumental metal bands in the scene today. Scratch that. Hands down one of the most talented metal bands in the scene today. We’re getting all shaky in anticipation of their forthcoming album, The Migration, but we keep blaring The Collective until we’re fortunate enough to get our sticky little fingers on their next effort.
We got the chance to speak with well-known guitarist Chris Letchford about STS’ upcoming album, friends that look like characters from Twilight, and the importance of staying connected with your devoted fans. Read through and get caught up with Chris Letchford and Scale The Summit!
So The Migration should be coming out sometime later this Spring. How would you say the album differs from your previous releases?
This is our most aggressive sounding album with the addition of even more dynamics and mood changes. I have been trying for the last two albums, to be able to recreate the live atmosphere on the record, which is really hard to do. I actually let a couple of students hear the rough mixes of the album just yesterday and they all started with how excited they are to hear that we have gone even more proggy but you can feel and hear the energy in the music now; very aggressive! In my opinion, we are always progressing as a band and evolving naturally with time. We never sit down and say we need to do this or that to make the next album “better”, we just write the music we think sounds awesome and I think with time the records just progress as we improve our overall knowledge of the instruments and our playing abilities.
Although instrumental, will the album have a particular theme?
Carving Desert Canyons was more happy sounding, The Collective was more on the gloomy/darker side of vibes, but The Migration I wouldn’t even say is an even mix, it’s just so different it’s hard to really put a stamp on anything specific. Again, the best way to describe it right now is using “aggressive”.
What are you hoping listeners will gain from experiencing the new album?
An entire new adventure metal journey!
Is The Migration going to somehow top The Collective?
It definitely will!
For the gear heads, what equipment did you guys use to record the new album?
Tama classic drum kit with a full Sabian cymbal set — Vic Firth sticks. G&K Bass Head, Spector 6 string bass. Jackson custom shop 7 string loaded with Dimarzios, EB BFR Jp7 Koa loaded with Dimarzios, my signature Strandberg Boden 7 string with EMG 81/85 H7 sets, Ernie Ball strings on all guitars and bass. Fractal Axe Fx II, Bogner Ubershall for all re-amping of distortion and lead tracks. Still working on the clean tones for guitars so not sure what the finals are for that. Not too much gear and not too complicated.
In what ways has the band grown since The Collective?
Just learning and trying to master our instruments and getting better with song writing. Song writing is tough. Always looking for ways to push the boundaries with our music and push each other. Having our new bassist has definitely pushed the envelope for us all wanting to get better!
What has the addition of Mark Michell done for the band?
For the most part I already had the outlines for the songs finished, but he wrote pretty much all of his own parts. He has perfect pitch and extensive theory knowledge so writing was a breeze. He is a really skilled player and has great sense of what should be added to the songs. Great input that you’ll have to wait and see! He has one of the best bass solos I have ever heard, glad it got to be on our album! He also contributed a nice dynamic bass piece to the album, which is something we have never done before — more on that later though; don’t want to give away everything!
Jordan [previous bass player] always looked like Taylor Lautner to me, on stage at least. Did you guys ever make any Twilight jokes with him?
More like, when did we not make jokes? [laughs] He has a female friend that looks exactly like the character Bella. I’m going to try and find it so you guys can attach it to the interview when posted. It’s too spot on not to show everyone.
Any touring plans in the works for this year? Particular bands in mind to take on the road with you?
Nothing is set in stone just yet. We have to wait until we know when the album is coming out to really plan tours around that. I know for sure we all agree we want to do a full headlining tour with Trioscapes (with Dan Briggs of BTBAM). We did a 10 day run with them last year before we started writing the next record and had a blast. It was the perfect fit for our fans as well as theirs. So hopefully we can make that happen as well. We have a few other newer bands that we have an eye on for support as well, but I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up in case it doesn’t work out. We have been through that many times in the past with tours, getting excited and having it fall apart.
What lesser known bands should we be paying attention to this year?
Corelia are writing some pretty cool music right now! Other than that I can’t think of any off the top of my head.
What has been the biggest obstacle for Scale The Summit thus far?
Thankfully we haven’t had to experience any huge hurdles thus far, knock on wood!
It’s rare these days to see a band actually interact with fans via social networking but you guys are pretty active with responding on Facebook and such. How important do you think it is to have that relationship with your fan base? Why do you think more bands don’t take the time to be that intimate?
Thanks for noticing. I respond to all e-mails, messages via Facebook on my personal page and band page, pretty much all Youtube comments, especially when they are questions. It’s just something I always told myself I would do if I was put in the position to be looked up to. It used to bother me when I would reach out to bands and never get a reply back, still happens now [laughs], but I won’t name the bands. I think it’s great to stay connected with fans, they are the reason we are able to do the things we are doing, I can tell people really appreciate the time we are putting in to get back to everyone, our way of showing we appreciate the time and effort they put into supporting our band! Bands that don’t interact with fans simply don’t make the effort to. I’m a pretty outgoing guy so I understand not everyone likes to be super social, but there is always time in the day anyone can set aside to give thanks to their fans or answer a few questions.
Are you content with the state of Scale The Summit right now?
As long as we are having fun playing this music and seeing growth in our playing, writing, fan base and touring, I’m good to go! I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else right now!
Interview written and conducted by: Brian Lion – Follow him on Twitter