Interview with Chris Letchford of Scale the Summit

Recently I got a chance to interview Chris Letchford of Scale the Summit, it was a great opportunity to learn more about him and the band.
Leviathan: Your songs are epic, and lyricless, how does your writing process differ from other mainstream bands, or even other metal bands that aren’t instrumental? Are you a jam band? Or is everything preconcieved and meticulously put together?
Chris Letchford: We are not a jam band. We write everything and play it all note for note. I guess I would say that since we are instrumental, we have to write everything to be much more full… which is why we have so many layered parts to take the place of the vocals. Our music is also written in a forever changing mindset, to keep it fresh and actually “progressive”. Mainstream styles of bands have to write everything with a verse chorus verse format to make it vocal friendly.
Leviathan: Who writes the majority of the material?
Chris Letchford: I handle pretty much all of the writing. I get all the guitars finished and then work with our drummer and bassist on what I was thinking for their parts and then they get to work. It works out great that way, as it makes for zero arguing and we can get songs finished much faster and I think as a better final product.
Leviathan: Have you been writing new material? Will you be writing while you’re on the road this year?
Chris Letchford: I have almost all of the next record finished right now, and so far its coming along great! I write as much as I can while on tour, but it can be hard to find a quiet spot somewhere in the venues to concentrate without distractions. I get more finished probably while we are driving from city to city.
Leviathan: How do you get such a fluid and amazing sound when you do the finger tapping parts (like the part form “The Great Plains”)?
Chris Letchford: Thanks a lot! There are no tricks, I would say its because me and Travis spend a lot of time practicing this technique to make sure that it sounds good and is consistent everyday.
Leviathan: Who are your influences? What is your favorite song?
Chris Letchford: In no particular order. Guthrie Govan, John Petrucci, Bireli Lagrene, Dream Theater, Cynic, and Devin Townsend, to name a few. I can’t think of a favorite song.
Leviathan: What is your favorite of your own songs? Which do you like to play live? Why?
Chris Letchford: “The Great Plains”. I just like the even mix of everything that song has which makes it fun to play live as well.
Leviathan: When can we expect new material?
Chris Letchford: As I mentioned earlier, I’m just about finished writing the next album. We are entering the studio this October with Mark Lewis, plans of releasing the record early 2011. Hopefully we’ll be able to release a new song online before the new year!