PropertyOfZack Interview : : Moving Mountains

by Zack Zarrillo - Apr 12, 2011

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Moving Mountains have always been more than kind to us at PropertyOfZack, and we couldn’t be more happy to be revealing our brand new interview with Greg Dunn today. Greg and I discussed the band signing to Triple Crown, the writing and creative process behind Waves, Warped Tour, and future touring plans, among other things. Read up and enjoy, it’s a good one!

Moving Mountains announced the signing to Triple Crown Records back in September. How has the reaction from everyone been to it since?
It’s been great. The transition into working with 3Crown was very seamless - it was almost as if people thought we had been working together prior to the announcement. Definitely a comfortable fit for a band like ours. So far, we’ve been very happy.
 
We spoke in-depth about the process behind signing to Triple Crown Records, but fast-forwarding six months later as you guys are prepping Waves is the move definitely still the correct one with them?
Well you never know for sure, but that’s with anything. I feel really good about it, and we’ve developed a great relationship with the owner of the label in the small time we’ve worked together. Even from the beginning, we sorta knew in the back of our minds it was the place we wanted to go. When I envision how things would have played out, had we not work with the label, I definitely begin to feel uneasy. It’s funny - looking back at how stressful shopping around to labels was at the time, and how “business’y” it became (comparing numbers, revising with lawyers, going over the pros and cons with our management over and over) - all it took was Fred from 3Crown to take us all out to lunch, and we suddenly felt comfortable - and we wanted to be apart of that. Sometimes it’s just about finding the right people who totally understand what you’re about, and trying to do. The rest will end up falling into place.
 
Waves will be released on May 10th with ten tracks that the band has been working on for quite some time. Can you go into detail about the writing process and shift from the metaphor style that you used in Pneuma to Waves?
The writing process was relatively similar to that of Pneuma and Foreword - just a bit drawn out due to us being on the road for certain months out of the year. We much prefer to write on our own, and bring completed ideas to practice. We don’t often jam in practice, but do a lot of demoing/recording and sharing ideas. The shift was just the result of feeling frustrated. As any artist can relate, you just reach a point where you struggle expressing yourself. I found the only way to alleviate that feeling was to just write exactly, and more literally. Almost uncomfortably honest.
 
In a press release it was mentioned that this record will be the last of material where you use lyrics based off of a friends death. Is there any particular reason why that has been such a focal point for your writing?
I’m not entirely sure. I think a lot has to do with the timing of my friends passing, and the creation of Moving Mountains. I can remember when I was first recording vocals to Pneuma, and putting together lyrics - when that incident happened. It was so crippling, that I took months off from finishing the record. Ever since then, I’ve always somewhat associate the two things - my friend, and Moving Mountains, as very similar outlets of expression. Obviously not every song takes on this topic, but it’s all relative. 
 
Are there any more concepts or themes that are explored within this record as a songwriter?
Definitely. At the core, it’s all about the same concepts and themes. The only big differences is, I’m 6, 7 years older now - so everything naturally takes on totally different perspectives. Waves is more about understanding, and coping with all the other things in life, when loosing someone. Strangely to me, a bit more optimistic - although it probably won’t seem that way to most listeners. It’s more reflective, therapeutic, and personal.Pnuema and Foreword were both somewhat immediate reactions to things happening in my life. Certainly more frustration involved.
 
This is also the first time the band has collectively worked on a full-length together. How was having that experience in the studio for you guys? And how was once again producing the record on your own?
It was good - somewhat similar to our experience with Foreword. We all fleshed out a few of the basic ideas to the songs, and I sort of locked myself away for a few months. It was cool to work with Matt Goldman in the mixing environment, as he’s certainly a guy that I look up to. This will probably be the last record that I have my hands involved with in the engineering/production world. I really want to explore new things on our next record, and definitely would like to work closely with a producer. And yes, definitely starting to flesh out concepts/ideas for the next record already, hah.
 
Can you talk about the album’s artwork? It’s beautiful to say the least.
Sam Kaufman. Insanely talented guy. Like I said before, sometimes you just meet people that you totally connect with. Sam is one of those guys. When I see his artwork, I hear, and feel the same aesthetic I try to illustrate in my music. Developing the ideas for the album artwork was simple: we sent him a song and briefly went over short ideas we had, and he came up with the finished designs you’ll find in the booklet. Very little revisions/ back and forth happened with the artwork. We’ve worked with Sam prior on our merch designs, and in relation with Lead & Light, a clothing line he distributes with his designs.
 
“Where Two Bodies Lie” and the acoustic version of “Furnace Woods” have been released so far. How has fan reaction to them been?’
A part of me was expecting people to be a bit turned off by Where Two Bodies Lie, but at the same time - I almost wanted that reaction. I wanted to do something a bit different. We’re a band that sorta dips into several genres, and latches onto a few different fan bases. Some people were very positive, and supported the new material - where others were upset we weren’t writing 10 minute long instrumental post rock songs. It’s tough, but at the end of the day - you have to do what you want to do - and hopefully people will support you through the process. Through it all, I’m happy with people’s reactions.
 
As I mentioned, “Furnace Woods” is an acoustic version. How many b-sides on the record are there?
There are 2 b-sides, and another song not included on Waves.
 
There seems to be a new kind of energy on the record with the tracks released. Is that going to be in it throughout?
There’s a lot of energy on this record. Waves is our live record. We wanted to capture how and what we are as a 4-piece band, and not as a studio project. We also wanted this record to encourage our live show, and eventually result in a more aggressive, intimidate experience. At the same time, there are songs that are more stripped down then anything on Pneuma of Foreword. It’s the most dynamic collection of songs we’ve done so far.
 
The Warped Tour kickoff party was really your first “hometown” show in a while. Moving Mountains had been on the road with Biffy Clyro as well as Into It. Over It. for the past few months. How were those tours? 
It’s funny to think of it as a “Hometown” show. We’ve always struggled with a “hometown”. Growing up in the burbs above the city made it tough, as it never really had a thriving music community. Our shows near home are always great just because we get to hang out with our family and friends. But anyways, Biffy Clyro was amazing. They’re the type of band, that if you hang around long enough - you learn a few tricks. At the end of that tour, I felt like we had become a better band, just from watching, and spending time with those guys. Into It Over It was a blast, too. I’ve known Evan for years throughout all his musical endeavors, so that tour was like a long playdate that involved playing music. Really fun.
 
What was it like opening for Biffy? Those are the biggest stages you guys have ever played.
Surprisingly enough, the venues for that tour were rather small. Biffy Clyro is one of the biggest bands in the UK, and are just beginning to really make their mark here in the States. Fans from the UK actually flew out to several shows in a row, just to get a glimpse at seeing Biffy at such a small venue. I remember hearing fans be like “Holy crap, this place is tiny!” That tour was also great because nearly every show was at capacity - and it was just a 2 band bill - just us and Biffy. The tour definitely helped us reach out to a new market. Hopefully one day we can support them again overseas. 
 
Warped Tour obviously doesn’t need any introduction, but it will certainly be interesting with the sound of Moving Mountains on it this year. Are there any fears heading in just because of the reputation it has had for the past few years?
Fears, no. You definitely have to take a deep breath and consider everything before you agree to embark on something like the Warped Tour, but we’re very excited to be apart of it. I’m actually excited to play our style of music for the Warped crowed. We try not to consider all the reputations that are built off of thousands of peoples opinions hidden behind the internet. At the end of the day, it’s an awesome music festival, and we’ll certainly make the best of it. 
 
This is sort of a major test for you guys considering you’ve never done such a long or intensive run of shows before. Are you prepared?
Haha, I suppose so. We’ve certainly done our fair share of holy-shit-how-the-fuck-did-we-survive tours. I remember getting home from being on tour with Say Anything, and actually being surprised that I was home safe. Actually, come to think of it, that realization happens after every tour. 
 
What about in the gap between now and Warped? Will there be any possible tour dates?
We may do a few one off shows. We’ll be playing Krazyfest on May 20th- which is something I’m thrilled to be apart of. It’s almost unbelievable. Cave In, Anti-Flag, Hot Water Music, Hot Rod Circuit? Are you KIDDING? Sign me up. We’re actually more excited just to watch those bands then play.
 
And after Warped Tour? Are we going to finally get you guys overseas?
Certainly in the works. A few plans for overseas are being fleshed out. We’ll see. Definitely would like to do another proper US tour after Warped.

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