Interview with Mark Michell of Scale the Summit

ScaleTheSummit-LogoIt seems like there are more instrumental bands than ever before. How do you think Scale the Summit defers from the others?
It’s very cool to see the instrumental scene exploding right now with more bands than ever. The band really came out strong onto this scene in the mid 2000’s when not too many people were really doing it, and we feel that we had a tiny part in that happening. Stylistically, we’ve always done our own thing and tried to keep the music very timeless and not follow trends or fads in the genre. It isn’t necessarily about trying to defer from anyone else, but more or less just to stay true to ourselves and our style from the start.
The band has under gone some line-up changes over the last few years with you (Mark) joining in 2012 and JC joining this year.
What has each of you brought to Scale the Summit? And has it changed the band’s sound as far as you are concerned?
Thanks, appreciate that! JC and I have been playing music together in bands since as early as 2004, so it sort of rekindled that long-running chemistry we have and incorporated it into what Scale the Summit already had going themselves. However, both of us tremendously respect the previous members we each replaced and want to give a nod to what they brought to the band, just with our own spin now. I’ve really worked to give the bass a unique voice in the band while still bringing the songs together. New members always change a band’s sound in some way, so I can’t really deny that!
Mark Michell
Congrats on “V,” I really like what I hear on it. What separates this album from “The Migration” and previous albums?
Every album sees us looking to push the boundaries and expand on our own sound. Throughout the band’s discography, a greater sense of dynamics and variety has worked itself into the sound. As we mature as players, we’re always looking to find a balance between covering new ground but also outlining our identity. However, I would say that this album had the greatest sense of “big picture” creation; really focusing on the album as one presentation, how it flowed, in a more singular sense. The cover art really highlights that approach for us as well, with every song being depicted in the image.
Is song writing more of a jamming thing or do you each bring in riffs?
We live very spread out across the country, so our songs are pieced together very slowly as we pass files around, and gives us time to really “get to know” the songs. After Chris writes all the guitar parts and lays down the general song framework, I write my bass parts and drums are then written to create sort of a “rough draft”. We’ll then meet at our rehearsal space and iron out all the fine details before recording. So, the jamming is basically done to feel them out and see how they translate in context. At this point, we usually make minor edits, like “let’s extend this part”, or “let’s delete this part altogether”, etc.
Touring wise, I know Scale the Summit loves touring. It seems like you guys are on every bill that I see. Do you enjoy it?
 Performing live music is why we all do this, so of course we do! It’s a synergetic process to be able to give out energy on stage, and feel it reciprocated back to you. It keeps you inspired and fulfilled as an artist.
What are the touring plans coming up?
We have a handful of tour plans we’re juggling, but I’m answering this question prematurely as there isn’t quite anything to be specific about just yet. However, we’ll really be hitting it hard come early 2016!
Can we expect more funny videos like “Stolas”?
Check out “Blue Sun” as well, which is funny in a much different way…haha! Never know – this was our first opportunity to do music videos, and we figured we may as well have some fun with them to keep them engaging.

About Rob

I have been a fan of progressive metal and progressive rock for most of my life. My music collection is insanely large. My passion for life is music!
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