SXSW Preview: Moving Mountains
In the summer of 2005 Greg Dunn and Nicholas Pizzolato joined together in the basement of Dunn’s West Chester, NY home to create what would become the first Moving Mountains album. The duo recruited two more friends, Frank Graniero and Mitchell Lee, after the album got picked up by an independent label. From that point on the band has not looked back, touring extensively while balancing school and day jobs.
I had the privilege of speaking to founding member and lyricist Greg Dunn about the state of things in Moving Mountains. The main idea that Dunn communicated to me was the band’s DIY attitude. Their forthcoming album Waves, which is set to be released on May 10th 2011 via Triple Crown Records , was recorded entirely by the band in their home studio. Dunn admitted to me that they made the decision to send their album out to be mixed by a third party. When asked about the recording process Dunn said, “It’s pretty meticulous, we tend to sit there and build songs by adding layers upon layers.” Dunn usually brings a “rough sketch,” as he calls it to the rest of the band and from there the song blossoms into something they are all proud of.
Our conversation eventually led to a discussion about the influence of the internet for up and coming bands. For Moving Mountains the internet has helped them get their music across a vast amount of listeners. The internet is not always beneficial; Dunn explained to me that some of their music was met with harsh criticism with some calling it “post-rock gone bad,” they have since overcome this label. The internet often leads to assumptions that bands make it “overnight” but the harsh reality is that Moving Mountains, while they are signed to a label and have been touring extensively, are “broke as hell and barely surviving” as Dunn so straightforwardly put it.
The band has the wonderful opportunity of expanding their audience by playing such large festivals as SXSW and this years Warped Tour. So what can listeners expect from this band in terms of sound? When asked about their influences Dunn said, “hard core to Peter Gabriel, but our biggest influences are first wave emo bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and the post rock bands like Explosions in the Sky.” Moving Mountains music transcends what “emo” music has become, my first thoughts upon listening to their music was that it sounds like a less self-loathing version of Brand New.
Moving Mountains are currently on tour, which will eventually bring them to SXSW in Austin, Texas. Their live show is heavier and more aggressive than the sounds that comes from their studio recordings. When Moving Mountains don’t have time restrictions on stage they like to add an element of improvisation and ambient sound to some of their tunes. As Dunn accurately puts it, “its fun to mess around with delay pedals to create noise.” So be sure to to check out Moving Mountains when they come to a town near you, we look forward to seeing them at SXSW this year. Be sure to check back for a video interview with the band.