Richard Melville Hall aka Moby is that guy that you hate to admit you like. He’s dweeby looking, a vegan and is way too nice to be a pop star. Moby became a household name on the back of 1989’s Play, a release which put atmospheric dance music firmly at the top of the charts. His album Wait For Me sees his return to that same moody ambient sound. Moby talks here about going DIY (not as rude as it sounds) and hanging out with surrealist auteur David Lynch.
Interview + Image Universal Music
Moby, what have you been up to since finishing your last album Last Night?
Well when I finished making the last album I was doing a lot of DJing, and I went on tour and played quite a lot of festivals but really I’ve just been spending most of my time working on this new album [Wait For Me]. You know, been home in New York where I have my studio.
How did you approach the recording and mixing?
I made the album at home in my studio. I have a 2 bedroom apartment, and I sleep in the small bedroom and I have the larger bedroom as my studio. I really do like working at home, because that way I’m never worried about how much it’s going to cost or having other people round, so in general I really like making records at home.
What inspired the making of this new album?
I really wanted to make a record that I would want to listen to if I was at home, by myself on a Sunday morning and it was raining outside. So I guess with this record I wanted to make something more melodic and more personable, and this is a strange word to use but I wanted to make something that was “beautiful”.
Are you enjoying the new DIY approach do producing the album?
I guess for a long time I thought that in order to be, you know. “a real musician” I had to make records in big studios and I had to make big budget videos. And then I realised that the records that the other people were making that I actually liked were made in small studios, sometimes in people’s bedrooms. So with this record I wanted to get back to that, I just wanted to enjoy the process more and not have to worry so much about major label pressures.
How would you describe this new album?
I would say that it’s melodic and more atmospheric. It’s generally a more melancholic record. It has a sense of sadness to it, not because I was particularly sad or mournful when I was making the record, but I just always really preferred sad, mournful music.
Who are the guest vocalists on the album?
There are a bunch of different singers on the record. I only end up singing one song on the record, there are some vocal samples on the record, but predominantly the vocals are being sung by friends of mine.
Can you tell us about ‘Shot In The Back Of The Head’, and why this was an initial free download?
It’s an instrumental, and I guess it’s not the greatest commercial idea to have the 1st single from a record be an instrumental because it is almost impossible for any radio station to play instrumentals. But it was a song I really liked and my friends seemed to like so we weren’t too concerned about any commercial pressure.
David Lynch shot the video for ‘Shot In The Back Of The Head’, how did that happen?
I’ve been a huge David Lynch fan for a long time from his early student films to Razorhead. I ralso love his last film Inland Empire, and in the last couple of years he and I have become friends. For ‘Shot In The Back Of The Head’ I sent him a copy and I guess he liked it. I very casually asked him if he would make some visuals for the song and he very kindly agreed, so we ended up with the video which he’d made – illustrated and animated – not something I think will get a lot of MTV play but that’s ok with me.
What can we expect from the new live show?
Well for the last album, for ‘Last Night’, I did quite a lot of DJing. And the live show for ‘Last Night’ was very dance heavy, you know, with a lot of percussions and a lot of drums. The live show for Wait For Me, for this album, is going to be much more musical with a lot of focusing on some of the older material that I’ve done that its quieter and more ambient. So there might be some loud, up tempo songs in the live show but in general I want to do something that is a bit more down tempo and melodic.
Tell us about your other project mobygratis.com?
Mobygratis.com was started as a way of giving free music to film makers, specifically indie film-makers, film students and people working on non-profit films. So any indie film maker or film student can go to mobygratis.com and use the music for free. If for some reason the film does get picked up commercially they’ll have to pay a small license fee but that license fee would go to charity, specifically to the main society, that way I can never make any money off mobygratis.com, which keeps me honest.
Do you like New York City?
I was born here, and I’ve spent most of my life here and so I love New York. I mean, there are a lot of things about New York that drive me crazy. It is very competitive and it’s very busy and because real estate has become so expensive a lot of my friends have had to move to far flung places in New York like Bushwick’ and Bedsty. But in general I still love New York.
What’s your favourite food?
My favourite food … I guess it all depends on how hungry I am.
Moby’s latest album Wait For Me was released in late June on Universal. Watch David Lynch’s video of Moby’s ‘Shot In The Back Of The Head’ at www.juiceonline.com. Moby breaks down every track on the album here. More Moby at www.moby.com and www.myspace.com/moby.