A conversation with Moby
Tue 24th May, 2011 Featuresin
When one thinks of Moby thoughts usually gravitate towards the plethora of commercial syncs spawned from Play or his publicised persona as an esoteric vegan spokesman, perhaps more of a punch-line than the former. Having never had a strong resonance with his (admittedly) storied output, I approached my 15 minute phone interview with Moby cautiously thinking that here was an artist whom I respected and appreciated for their influence but have never been close to mad for. In short, I had that sinking feeling that it would be a really painfully shit interview.
Fortunately I was wrong. When I phoned Moby for our allotted time to discuss his new and 10th studio LP Destroyed I found a playful, talkative and engaging conversationalist on the other end of the line, barely bothering to talk about the record he was meant to be promo-ing and happy instead to talk about, well, pretty much anything I wanted. Having probably interviewed a couple of hundred different artists and entertainers in my ‘career’ I can happily say that interviewing Moby ranks high on the scale for his lightning quick intelligence, considered answers and topical looseness.
In an effort to convey the freedom and amused tone of the conversation with Moby I’ve written up our interview pretty much line for line, warts and all for you. Hopefully his frankness and keen wit come across as well as they should.
Hey mate, what’re you up to?
Well, such is my affection for narcissism I’ve been talking about myself and my music in interviews all day. Other than that I’ve been in Washington DC to present at a National Geographic photography event and I’ve been in the gallery for hours adjusting the framing and spaces of each photo, which I really love doing. And later on I’m going out for coffee with my friend Sarah.
Okay, that was very detailed! Usually people just say ‘not much, just hanging out’.
I suppose that’s just me – I find it oddly enjoyable to talk about myself to complete strangers.
Well, it sounds like you’re busy. And knowing your work I would imagine that you’d be very meticulous with something like a gallery showing…making everything perfect. I can only wonder what you’re like when it comes to alphabetising your records.
Actually I’m not that bad. I think when I was much younger I was very uptight and I would really stress out and labour over something like that. But now I don’t mind as much; I don’t need to have everything in perfect order, I’m happy have things be in a state of chaos. That’s how I’ve become recently because although I’ve moved to California I’m still sort of living in New York and I have things sprawled about in both places and in my storage locker in Queens. I have a prized possession that I don’t know where it is anymore. Do you want to know what it is?
It always makes everyone jealous. But my prized possession is a hat that David Bowie gave to me. It’s the hat he wore in The Man Who Feel To Earth in the ‘70s and on the inside is written “To my friend Moby, love David”.
You’re right, I’m practically green over here.
Oh damn, I shouldn’t have told you because now you’ll write a mean article about me.
So you have David Bowie’s hat and you don’t know where it is?
No, I don’t! I know it’s somewhere in all my clutter and it’ll probably turn up in a few years time when I’m not even looking for it.
I can’t believe you have David Bowie’s hat. It’s probably got some of his DNA in it. We could clone him.
You’re right. I hope David lives for another 60 years and we don’t have to though. It could happen.
Have you ever worn the hat?
You know, I put it on once and I don’t know if I have cranial elephantitis or some other disease because my head is significantly larger than David Bowies and it sort of just sat on my head ill-fittingly. Like I was a circus pin-head.