By Brian Leak
Scale the Summit has been consistently releasing organic, progressive instrumental metal for seven years. Comprised of the original members, the band seems to have no plans of letting up any time soon. Initially influenced by bands such as Dream Theater and Cynic, Scale the Summit has easily evolved into a more original sound with their inventively dynamic guitar work and precise drumming. The band has released three highly acclaimed full-lengths and have toured extensively with prominent acts such as Between the Buried and Me and Periphery. Synthesis had the opportunity to speak with lead guitarist Chris Letchford about the band’s most recent release, their writing process and plans for the future.
What made you decide to be an instrumental band?
After me and Travis finished writing the first song for the band, “Rode In On Horseback,” we decided that it sounded full enough without lyrics, so we went with that.
If you could choose any vocalist from another band, who would you want to front Scale the Summit?
We would have to change our entire writing style to make room for a vocalist, so there is no way I can listen to our music and picture anyone singing over our current songs. I like a lot of vocalists out there, but nothing that would work over our music as is.
What influences play the biggest role in your writing process?
Being the main song writer in the band, I don’t like to be listening to anything during the writing stages, so that everything I write is closer to being “me” and not anyone else. I get asked this question a lot from fans, asking for advice on song writing, but sadly my answer is never a helpful one, as I just sit down and write and what comes out comes out.
Are you surprised by the success of The Collective?
To say no would obviously seem very arrogant, but like everyone that plays in a band, they are normally very happy and proud of their music. That being said, we are all super pleased with the way the new album came out and are very excited that it was a successful release…but you still never know how fans, media, press, label, etc. are going to feel about it. Sure, there are albums out there that the artist felt was their best work yet, but then was slammed with negativity by fans and media. Glad that wasn’t the case for us though!
What is the significance of the phyllotaxis-based album art of The Collective in relation to your music?
The Phyllotaxis spiral is found in nature, based around the construction of plants. Being that our music is very organic and usually always nature-themed, it seemed like the best choice for the cover art. That idea came about after we titled the record The Collective, which was awesome as the Phyllotaxis spiral that is found in nature is a collection of a bunch of small pieces that make a whole, which is the same with our music; a bunch of ideas, melodies, chords, solos, etc. that when put together make a whole.
How do you feel The Collective differs from your previous releases?
It’s definitely more on the dark and moody side of things compared to our first two full-lengths. The production and playing has also tightened up a lot as well. So I would just say it’s a great example of natural progression and evolving that you would hope to see from a band. We don’t want to keep releasing the same album over and over again!
Have you begun working on your next release?
Yes, we are always writing and rehearsing new material. Not sure on a next album or release date, but it should be sometime late next year. At least entering the studio to start on it. We have been touring so much this year that it’s left me very little time to work on anything new.
What are you looking forward to the most on your tour with Last Chance to Reason and Protest the Hero?
Touring with our boys in Protest the Hero again. It was our first real tour, but was sadly only two weeks long. So it will be nice to finally get a proper length of tour dates with them! Looking forward to getting to know our label mates in Last Chance to Reason as well. Should be a great time!
What has kept the original line up together for seven years now?
Haha, yeah, we talk about this all the time. I guess we have been lucky enough that we are all friends and musically on the same page. So far so good. Doesn’t seem like anyone will be leaving anytime soon, so that’s good. We all understand the importance of having the original and same line up. People form relationships with certain members of bands, so it’s good to keep everyone around. Plus all these guys are pro at their instruments, so I would hate to have to go through auditioning, and looking for other players would be very stressful and take forever to find a replacement for any of the instruments.