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DunnHailing from Westchester/Purchase, NY, Moving Mountains have toured around the U.S. and Europe, sharing the stage with bands such at Thursday, Thrice, Caspian, and Coheed & Cambria. They’ve released 3 EP’s and 2 LP’s and are currently in the mixing phase of their third LP.


When I first heard Moving Mountains, it was the song “With One’s Heart In One’s Mouth” from the EP Foreward. The track blew me away with the plucking guitar over symphonic strings and ringing glockenspiel. I immediately purchased all their music that I could get my hands on. These guys have such an organic mix of dynamic sounds I was instantly hooked. Fortunately for me the band was playing a show in my town a month later in a basement venue in Mesa, Arizona. Their live show was raw and euphoric. Something profound struck me at that show and I had felt as though this band-this music, was the soundtrack to my own identity. But I’ll tone down the fanboy-ism and get on with it.


Needless to say I have a great admiration for the band and tried to contain my excitement when I got an opportunity to interview Mr. Gregory Dunn himself. Here goes nothing…


We’ll start with a tricky one:


I know it’s like playing favoritism to your own children, but are there any Moving Mountains tracks that you would say are your favorites? Ones that you never get tired of hearing/playing.


I think that’s a two sided question. I certainly have songs that I’m more proud of. I rarely listen to my own music, and I’m honestly tired of playing all of them. Ha! That’s what touring can do sometimes. I think there are tracks on this new record that I’m most proud of. I’m also proud of the New Light EP. The idea behind that, how we made it, the artwork that came along with it. Just as a whole piece. 


What do you visualize when you make new Moving Mountains songs? What would the new album be like if it were made into a feature film?


Typically you visualize what you’re going through while writing new music. For me, the struggle is always figure out a way to express that visualization. To sort of relieve any stress, or feeling you have. It’s really hard. And I rarely feel like I’ve accomplished what I want, or what I’m trying to express. But that’s all part of the process. 


What do you hope people take away from the new Moving Mountains album? (emotionally or musically)


I’m not sure. In our past records, we’ve often wondered that. I think that can be a poisonous thought, that can interrupt your personal writing process. With this new record, it was all about us. People will take away way different things from our music, no matter what. If you start considering what people will think, or what they’ll get from you — you sorta lose track of what you’re trying to do for yourself. And ultimately that’s whats most important. 


How would this new album compare to the ‘Waves’? and to ‘Pneuma’?


Hmm. Well I would start by saying we’ve never been a good band in the comparison game. All our records definitely sound different, and don’t necessarily follow a progression or process from one another. Its’ really whatever we’re feeling at the time. I would say Pneuma is more instrumentation based, and Waves is more aggressive. I think this new record sits in a comfortable place between that. We did a lot of things that felt a bit more natural. Less letting the outside world effect what we were doing. People who are familiar with our band are definitely vocal in how they want us to be. 


You have quite the resume of engineering/mixing/producing a number of great albums, including bands we’ve covered such as Athletics, Advina, and Brendan Rivera. Tell us a little about the process and your role in making this new Moving Mountains album.


It’s been the same since we started 8 years ago. MovMou started as a project Nick and I had to just record music, and I think that process remained with us. We demo all our ideas, and write music through recording. Very rarely do we flesh out ideas while rehearsing, or practicing. Although we did rehearse the ideas we had inside of an abandoned high school for a month. That was cool. With this particular record, I wasn’t as involved in the recording/mixing/etc as I have been in previous ones. We tracked with Matt Goldman, and since Josh and I are both engineers, we also helped here and there in the studio. We took the record back to New York where I sat with it a little more, and added some more things. It’s currently being mixed by Mike Kalajian. He’s worked on 4 out of the 5 records we’ve done.



You’ve been in bands since 2005 and have accomplished a lot. What’s your ideal ‘immaculate experience’? At what point would you think that it couldn’t get any better?


I’ve actually been in bands even well before then! 2005 was when MovMou first started. I think it’s an interesting question. I think your “ideal immaculate experience” changes over the years. When I was younger, that “idea” of playing in front of a large crowed was my dream. And then it was going on tour. And then it was opening for bands that inspired me to start a band. And fortunately, I’ve accomplished a lot of these ideas. And I think i’m at a point in my life right now, where I’m just trying to create art of any kind I’m truly proud of, and work really hard at getting better. Sometimes the “being in a band” part of creating art can get in the way of making art.


Last October, you launched your side project Ansible and released a single “3060”. What spawned the inspiration for that project? What has been the feedback you’ve received on it so far?


I did! I’ve had the idea to start something like that for a while. I think I was at a point after we got back from Europe, where I needed to work on something that wasn’t MovMou affiliated. I just needed to be creative in a different way, and “work out” my brain in ways that I haven’t in a while. There’s something very repetitious about being in a band, especially a band that’s on the road often. I’ve always got to be working on something. It’s very creatively fulfilling to be able to write something, record something, design something, and immediately publish it to the web/print without anyone else’s opinion or hand involved besides my own. Also, working entirely on my own schedule.  



Do you hope for Ansible to become a touring band, or simply a musical/emotional outlet?


I don’t think so. I think it will always just be a musical outlet for me. 


It’s great stuff, what will 2013 bring for Ansible?


Hopefully a full length record. I had plans to release an EP this December but got super busy finishing up the new Moving Mountains record. Hoping to get working on that soon. 


If you were able to live life as another musician (during any era) for one week, who would you choose?


Interesting. I feel like I should be crazy, and say like Richie Havens during the 60’s or something. That’d be insane. Opening up Woodstock or something.  


What was the first cover song you ever learned to play?


Carey by Joni Mitchell. That was actually the first song I ever learned how to play. My mother played guitar growing up. My first memory of playing guitar was her teaching me where to put my fingers on the fretboard for that song. 


What’s been in the highest rotation on your playlist?


Recently? Been listening a lot to Apparat. Hammock‘s new record is fantastic. Nick recently introduced me to Daughter, and I’ve been obsessed.


What were some of your top albums (or album discoveries) of 2012 and why?


I’m always bad at this. I rarely know what day of the week it is, let alone what year certain records come out. I think this past year for me, was the year of electronic music. I’ve also discovered and been inspired by a lot of things that aren’t music. So that’s been fun. But lets think…Tycho had a great record in 2012. Album Leaf had a great release called Forward / Return that I enjoyed a lot. Efterklang‘s Piramida was good. Helios put out a remix record that was awesome. I feel like it was a really good year.


Thanks Greg! I really appreciate the time, and the interview! I really look forward to hearing what’s next.


You can also watch Moving Mountains play an amazing full in-studio set and interview from 2011 over at Audiotree Live.


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