Interview: Scale The Summit’s Chris Letchford on ‘The Migration’ and places to eat and see a show in Houston

Interview by Alex Gilbert

Scale-the-Summit-The-Migration artwork

I have always loved the way Scale The Summit has approached music. It can get heavy when need be, the mellow sections are very intriguing, but it’s the way everything is tied together. It’s just amazing. Once you’re in “scale mode” it’s hard to leave. What’s your approach when writing a song and piecing everything together?

We have always started with guitars first. Now I pretty much write all the music myself, just happened on its own. We tour a lot and none of us like to rush when it comes down to writing, or finishing the writing of an album, to get into the studio on time. Whenever that happens you can always tell the writing was rushed. So I’m always writing, usually before whatever album we’re about to release I already have close to half of the next one finished. I have to take advantage of our down time at home to get ahead on the writing process so we can be confident in releasing what we consider a solid album. So guitars are always written first, entire songs. I just sit down and usually in 4 hour blocks and write as much as I can. Then I’ll let it sit for a while and come back and edit it, delete parts, take parts out, write over parts, etc… I like to go back and re-do parts a lot, just to make sure the song is the best I can possibly make it. Then after I’m happy with the song I’ll send it over to our bassist and drummer with notes and see what they think. We’re all pretty much on the same page as far as what we want to create for this band so its pretty smooth. I just send them notes part by part so they can get a better idea of how the finished real guitar parts will sound since its all Midi. It works great. I couldn’t imagine writing in a group setting, so much wasted time, trying to get 4 guys to focus and actual write. There will always be some one making noise, not pay attention, arguing about a part, etc… It just works out easier this way. Plus we waste zero time in the studio. We go in with the albums completely finished and we just get to hit record and get to work on it. All in all, it keeps things sane in our band and I think gives our fans and potential new fans the best possible STS record each time.

You guys seem to always have a very steady touring schedule, which is great for your fans all around the world. You guys have an upcoming tour with two like-minded bands in TesseracT and Anciients. Should be a really fun bill with a ton of great musicianship – excited for that one?

Absolutely, touring is the biggest thing for us. We love being on the road and I always miss the stage when we’re at home. I can’t wait to tour with both of them; it’s going to be a lot of fun and I think we all share a great amount of fans, so the turnouts should be great as well.

I am also excited for your headlining tour this November with The Reign Of Kindo and Jolly, being sponsored by New Noise Magazine. With you guys headlining, that means a longer Scale The Summit set (please play “Oracle”)! Wanna give us a sneak peak at what the set list may look like?

Yes, I cant believe the timing worked out for the guys in The Reign Of Kindo to be able to tour. One of my all time favorite bands, and what’s cool is they aren’t metal. I have always wanted to do a headliner with bands that weren’t metal. We have always done metal tours, which we love, but its nice to be able to mix it up for a change. Being instrumental has its benefits! Well… as for the set list, we’re going to be playing the entire new album, plus older songs. So we’ll be playing another ridiculous 70 minute set like our last few headlining tours. It’s not too long, especially in the pro genre, but with this kind of music we play we’re all pretty tapped out by the end of that set length [laughs]. Thankfully we have a couple days off to let our hands heal!

Let’s dive into Scale The Summit’s latest Prosthetic Records release, The Migration. The album, musically, is outstanding! I almost feel like the instruments are all speaking to each other at times, having some very interesting conversation. What are some of your favorite tracks on the album, or is it a start to finish feeling with The Migration?

Thanks a lot! I think the album as a whole, is one large piece of music. My favorite individual track is “The Traveler”; it’s the most fun to play of the entire record. It’s hard to have a favorite to listen to since I wrote, then recorded it, sat and listened to it a million times during mixing. I love all the tracks, but I know them inside and out. I wish I could hear them for the first time without ever hearing them, that would be a neat experience.

The band’s chops seem to keep improving over time, as with the songwriting. One gentleman I will quick namedrop is Mark Michell. He has done a great job chemistry-wise. You must be excited for future Scale The Summit material, and of course The Migration right now?

Yeah, Mark fits in perfectly with us, personality wise, as a musician and as a business man. He really pushed the limits with the new record, but is also super dedicated. It’s definitely a great move in the right direction for our band. Excited for the future!

I love to travel, and learn/try new things. So it must be cool in that perspective being a touring band.

Touring is great and I love it, but its really not “traveling” in my opinion. It’s drive all day, unload, play, load out, hotel/sleep, then repeat nearly everyday. We don’t get to sightsee much, other than what’s out the window while driving [laughs]. We’re heading to Europe this December and my fingers are crossed we can actually do some sightseeing, but its not likely as it will of course be the same as touring here, but I can’t wait to play Europe for the first time.

Let’s talk about your hometown of Houston – where are some places you’d recommend to grab a bite to eat, catch a show, and just check out in general?

Houston is great, I grew up here. I like all the local Mexican food places for eating, when I can. I’m a pretty healthy guy, so I only eat food like that once a week. Tecate, is a small Mexican food place near my parent’s house that’s awesome. Favorite venue would be Fitzgerald’s, our headlining tour is there, and I think our last three [shows] were there as well. Love that place. Good size, but great vibes there.

Here’s a fun question: If you could create a dream tour, who would be on it?

Well my dream tour was with Dream Theater but we some how got picked by Portnoy for their tour in 2009, so that was accomplished as our first ever real tour (my mind was blown), since then we have the hopes of being included on a G3 tour with Satriani and Vai, but would LOVE to tour with Opeth, Tool, Porcupine Tree, Rush, and Yes.

I appreciate your time. Hope to catch the band on the road soon. Any last words for our readers?

Anyone out there who hasn’t heard of us, please check out our new album The Migration, and everyone obviously check out the headlining tour. The Reign Of Kindo are ridiculously talented and write some amazing music, plus they never tour (I think from what I read this is there first tour in 3 years!), so you can’t miss it!

Purchase ticket bundles to their upcoming tour here!

www.scalethesummit.com  |  www.facebook.com/scalethesummit  |  twitter.com/scalethesummit

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