On Wednesday, Scale the Summit will be kicking off their co-headlining tour with The Ocean.
The tour will be making a stop in Pontiac at the Pike Room on Monday, March 24.
Scale the Summit are touring behind their fourth album The Migration, which was released in June on Prosthetic Records.
Lead guitarist Chris Letchford says the band is ready to get back on the road.
Q: You guys are headed to Pontiac in a few weeks. What can people expect from the show this time out?
Chris: Well we're doing our first ever video production for this tour. Normally we just do a normal light show but we wanted to try something different and have some imagery behind us which works really well for instrumental bands who don't have a singer as focal point. Yeah, so we're going to have video production that was custom made for each song.
Q: How did you guys go about deciding on a set list this time around?
Chris: We're playing a lot of new stuff but we've mixed in something from all of our records except for our first album. We swapped out some of the songs that we always play; some of the hits. Hopefully people won't be disappointed there but we wanted to fit some other things in. We are co-headlining so we get about an hour and on the nights where we close about an hour and ten minutes.
Q: Is there a song that you are looking forward to playing the most?
Chris: We brought back "Black Hills" from our third record which we haven't played in a long time so I'm really enjoying that one. We also brought back the Japan release single "Redwoods" so that's a lot of fun as well.
Q: Scale the Summit is known for sticking to the studio recordings on stage but have you added anything to any of the songs this time out?
Chris: For the most part we stick to the songs note for note but we actually have three songs out of the twelve we're playing which have extended jam parts on them. Me, Travis [Levrier] and our bassist [Mark Michell] trade off.
Q: Can you talk a bit about making The Migration album and what made this process different?
Chris: This was the first album that we've done where we actually accomplished the sound that we wanted. That's all thanks to Jamie King, our sound engineer. We told all of our engineers in the past that we wanted a more natural, organic sound when it comes to recording. You know, not too over-processed or completely squashed by mastering but it always ended up never coming out quite the way we wanted it to but Jamie finally understood what we meant by that. He had the skills to know how to accomplish that sound. It was the most fun that we've had recording through having the final outcome be perfectly what we had envisioned. On top of that, we had a lot of time to re-work all of the songs. I pretty much handle writing the core of the songs and I start working on them as soon as we finish whatever album we were previously working on. I start writing the next album right away so that we don't have to rush when it comes down to time in the studio. We can re-work them and get them to be the best as we can imagine them.
Q: Do you have a favorite track off of the album?
Chris: "The Traveler" is my personal favorite because it comes down to that song is really fun to play. As far as the strongest track I still think that either "Odyssey" or "Atlas Novus" are as far as all the elements. You know, good structure, good parts, and dynamics and stuff like that but "The Traveler" is by far the most fun song that I've ever written.
Q: What do you find is the most difficult part about sitting down to record a album without vocals?
Chris: Well making the record full enough to keep the listener's attention but at the same time not have it be too virtuoso-like and washed out with a bunch of shreds. It's kind of like what's different about our band from a lot of guitar-virtuoso records. It's more of an instrumental band record instead of just a focal point. Though we are very strong in the guitar community, everybody has their moment to shine. For instance we have rehearsals all the time without our bass player because he lives about five hours away and they are the most boring rehearsals. Just missing that one element just I don't know, the songs just lose their form. What I like is that I always keep room in the songs for you know drums here and bass here and something for the other guitar player here. It's tough but I think now being the fourth record that we've kind of got down a method for making the songs complete enough but not over-the-top.
Q: What keeps you guys going?
Chris: The fans really. I mean I obviously love writing music and performing and recording but I think I always like pushing myself and the rest of the guys more because of our fans. Just talking to them after every show and just hearing how much our music means to them is what really makes it all worthwhile. No one really buys records anymore so you have to look at an album as pretty much your business card and we never started the band with the just the goal of making a living. We're just playing music because we love it.
Q: Is there something you still hope to do as a band?
Chris: Well it used to be touring with Dream Theater but that came so quick in our career that it kind of messed up the flow of a growing band. I figured that the point where we are in our career now is where we'd get an offer like that. We'd love to do another tour with them but I really just want to make it out to Australia and Japan and South America eventually just because we tour so much in the States and Canada and we finally made it to Europe this past December. Really we just want to stick around. So many bands come and go with just one or two records and we're on our fourth so I feel like we're on a pretty good foundation for the long term. I just want to be able to last and make it to that ten album mark.
Q: What do you have coming up after this tour wraps up?
Chris: Well after this tour we have the Cruise To The Edge ship tour with Yes, which is going to be awesome. Then we're taking a couple of months off and then we've got some stuff in the works for July and August but nothing confirmed yet.
Q: For those who haven't heard you guys yet, give us a quick description of your band.
Chris: Oh man, that's something that we've struggled with since the beginning of our band. We used to use "adventure metal" and we still do from time to time but telling someone that it's instrumental progressive metal is so hard because it can mean so many things to so many people. I just tell them our music will take them on a journey with a lot of memorable melodies.
Q: Do you have anything else you want to share?
Chris: Just come check us out at the Pontiac show for sure and the rest of the tour.
Doors for the show at the Pike Room open at 7 pm and tickets are $13 in advance and $15 at the door.