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Moby Talks,… But Not To Us

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Moby

 

Moby is a very successful guy, he is the 10th richest DJ of all time with a net worth of $32 million, which may be nothing in terms of today’s very rich musicians – Dr Dre’s current net worth may be $750 million and Jay Z’s may be $650 million – but we are talking about musicians, not businessmen, and Moby is just a musician, if you call DJs musicians… I had a Moby sighting in LA a few years ago, he was interested by buying one of Stanley Donwood’s works (Radiohead’s longtime illustrator) at Shepard Fairey’s Subliminal Studios, which made him an art lover I guess? But Moby is now an author, and he has released his memoir, ‘Porcelain’, a book which covers his life between 1989 and 1999, and the Guardian interviewed him at length. So what did I learn?

– The book is full of anecdotes, incidents: ‘I wanted each chapter to be like an anecdote you’d tell in a bar, to have a punchline,’ said Moby to describe it, giving an example of one of these scenes. ‘They were all doing obscene amounts of drugs and having sex with strangers, but they still seemed innocent’. ‘It’s quasi-Dickensian. Naive boy from the country moves to the big city and things go wrong.’

– Moby doesn’t really talk about his music in his book but focuses on his everyday life: ‘He’s a dominatrix’s sidekick (he calls himself Master Bobby and shouts at a businessman wearing fuchsia lingerie). He gets Lyme disease, he dates indie girls and strippers; he lives in disused warehouses and crappy flats with weirded-out flatmates who want to set him on fire and buy the petrol to do so.’

– He is a weirdo, going to orgies but ‘having a mostly unconsummated relationship with his Christian girlfriend (they would hand out vegan sandwiches to homeless people for thrills). He was monastic in his home habits, then would go out and socialize madly. He was a vegan, sober, nonsexual God-botherer partying in the blood-soaked Meatpacking District with the sex-and-druggets.’

– His supposed ancestor is Herman Melville, and Moby, whose real name is Richard Melville Hall, named himself after Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’.

– He had a lot of drama in his life: His father died in a drink-driving accident when Moby was just two, and his mother died of cancer later. His mother’s family was wealthy, but she rejected her lifestyle and she and her son lived a bohemian life with ‘drug-addicted hippies, with bands playing in the basement.’

– He learnt he had a half-brother but he never tried to get in touch, and not too many people would show so little interest: ‘If it were a full brother, then that would be interesting, but it’s a half-brother. In terms of my genetic sequence, I have almost as much in common with you and most of the people in this restaurant as I would with a half-brother.’

– Porcelain is a love letter to old New York: that grubby, crumbling, dangerous place, a palce Moby used to love. As for the new NYC? ‘“New York completely changed in those 10 years. In 1989, it was old New York… cheap, murder-y, dysfunctional, fires… and by the end of the 90s, it was Jay Z and bottle service and condos.’

– He was an alcoholic, ‘at 8am, with strangers in my house, bags of drugs, I’d had about 15 drinks, having sex with a complete stranger. Which is great, but that was my best attempt to drink in moderation. Also, I thought I was going on these great adventures, and the truth is I was going from one bar to another on Ludlow Street.’

– He wants to make more music and he ‘doesn’t mind giving it away and, to this end, has set up a website so that student filmmakers can use his albums as soundtracks for free.’

– He is a strong animal activist, ‘That’s my day job – animal rights’, and he doesn’t joke about it, ‘most people who are not sociopaths can agree that animal suffering is not a good thing. But then there’s the climate change aspect, the rainforest deforestation, famine – the reason there’s famine is because food that could be fed to humans is fed to animals instead – then heart disease, diabetes, cancer, erectile dysfunction… Animal activism is my life’s purpose. If someone came to me and said if I could die, and my death would somehow serve the purpose of saving animals, I’d do it in a heartbeat.’

– He has opened a restaurant (vegan of course) in my Silverlake neighborhood, and he wants it to be perfect: ‘Everything has to be perfect. I’m an emotional perfectionist – I just want things to feel as good as they possibly can for the people who are experiencing them.’

– He has relationship problems, calls himself a ‘developmentally disabled space alien or robot’, and doesn’t want to have children but wants to adopt dogs.

– He is a Christian, but has some idea about God and sports: ‘I don’t think that God cares what jersey you wear. It’s not like Man United and Leeds… is that the right UK sports reference?’

Whether you hate or love Moby, the interview has some real entertaining value.

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