The Mountain Movers is the side project of Daniel Greene, one of the singer-songwriters and guitarists in the American melancholic indie pop group, the Butterflies of Love.

The Mountain Movers put out their debut album, ‘We’ve Walked in Hell and There is Life After Death’ in the United States in 2006, but it has only just come out in the UK, being released on the London-based label Fortuna Pop ! label, which has also given the British release to all three Butterflies of Love albums to date, ‘How to Know the Butterflies of Love’ (1999),‘The New Patient’(2002) and 'Famous Problems'(2006).

With his childhood friend and fellow singer-songwriter and guitarist in the Butterflies of Love, Jeffrey Greene (No relation), now based in New York, Daniel formed the Mountain Movers in his native New Haven in Connecticut a few years ago.

'We've Walked in Hell and There is Life After Death' is very different in sound to the three Butterflies of Love albums, involving lots of brass instrumentation and also having at points a 70's country vibe. It was produced by Butterflies of Love keyboardist, Scott Amore, who also plays organ on the album, and features cameo appearances from former Miracle Legion members, Mark Mulcahy and Ray Neal, both of whom live near Daniel on the Connecticut-Massachusetts border.

With the Mountain Movers about to release their second album in the States later this year, and already planning their third album, Pennyblackmusic
spoke to Daniel Greene about the band.

PB : Did the Mountain Movers from due to lack of Butterflies of Love activity ?

DG : No, not really. We do live famously far apart here on the East Coast-- one of our many famous problems. There was time in between practice and tours to play with New Haven friends.

PB : How did you get the others involved and was it originally a solo project ?

DG : Scott Amore has a studio in town. Back then, there were always players hanging around the studio. I was looking to record some songs I had in the back catalogue. I poached a few friends to play and called some others. They were all living in New Haven. When the dust cleared, I had a little band.

PB : Were some of the songs written for the Butterflies of Love but you thought they would fit better in this setting ?

DG : In the early days, Jeff and I used to play 'I Met the Devil on a Bus' and 'The Devil is Alive'. Jeff and I actually plotted out making a 'Hell' record together, but it was trumped by 'The New Patient' sessions. Jeff has some great 'Hell' songs too. Mostly the Butterflies of Love was pushing "love gone wrong" songs, instead of the heaven and hell variety.

PB : Both Mark Mulcahy and Ray Neal play on this album. How did they get involved as Ray's based in Scotland now, isn't he ?

DG : Mark sings back-up on one song and Mr. Ray does some handclaps. They are both great friends. When they breezed through town, I roped them in. Ray is currently living back in New Haven though he still has a place in Scotland. Mark is living in Springfield, Massachusetts and is very busy with all his projects.

PB : Did you want it to sound different from the Butterflies of Love ?

DG : It was not a conscious decision to change the sound. I think I surrendered the sound and arrangements to the people I was working with, instead of giving them direction. I did provide the cans of lager at the sessions, so maybe that was direction enough. After the first record was done, we started playing as a six piece with two horn players. That's going to give you a different sound.

PB : You work in a Jewish school during the day. Have your daytime activities influenced any of your writing ?

DG : I have always mixed up fantasy, religion, and love in stories, poems, and drawings. Writing songs is no different. The kids have thrown me a few titles for songs, and one even gave the band its name. He was ten at the time and gave me a master list of potential band names. I picked the Mountain Movers. Shoddy Workmanship and March to the Scaffold( which is the name of a Berlioz symphony) were the runners-up.

PB : There a lot of 70's influenced sounds on this record and lots of stories about the Devil. How did he come to pop up so much ?

DG : The sound had to do with the players, and Scotty's influence on the arrangements. The Devil appears as a symbol of distraction, that which takes you away from the master plan of falling in love and producing as much art as possible. Plus, I grew up Catholic, went to Divinity school, and listened to the blues.

PB : How fast was it written, and recorded?

DG : Many of the songs were written at the same time as 'How to Know' and 'The New Patient'. I had a stack of songs to choose from, so we set out to record 24 of them. It took took a while to record because some of the players I had just took a minute to adjust.

The second record we just made took only six days. The first record came out in the States two years ago and is just hitting the UK now. I hope the second doesn't have that hold-over.

PB : Have you started the third album yet ?

DG : When we recorded the first record, I recorded 24 songs, but put 12 on the record thinking it was all too much. Those 12 extra songs are a bit buried. I don't refer to them as the "second record." Just B-sides. I moved on and recently recorded 10 new songs on 2 inch tape in a Brooklyn studio. That will be the second record. It will be released on vinyl in the states in September, 2008 on Safety Meeting records. The third record is in the planning stage.

PB : What is the reaction to the Mountain Movers so far ?

DG : I feel somewhat removed from the first record as it was recorded long ago. Reviews are favourable early. No one has really heard the second record yet. It is a bit heavier on the guitar, and has a different feel since we stayed away from Protool and recorded and mastered the record on reel to reel.

PB : Did you have any accident during the recording of the two records ?

DG : Many people were injured in the making of the first record. Only six on the second. You will be happy to hear that I have only fallen down the stairs once since our last Butterflies tour.

PB : Do you have any plans to tour this outside of your hometown?

DG : Yes. We would love to tour the UK if the weather turns around.

PB : There's lots of 70s influences and trumpet on here. Did you want it more textured then the Butterflies ?

DG : The record does have a lot of texture, but that was because I was relying on strangers and friends to fill out the songs. Now that we are a band, the horns are just part of the act rather than studio sparkle.

PB : Is there nything else you would like to add ?

DG : The Butterflies miss our friends in England. I am sure we will be back with a new record or a greatest hits tour. In the meanwhile, I will keep writing and recording songs with my friends in the Mountain Movers. I have a suitcase full of songs ready for the runaway.

PB : Thank you.

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