Author: michelle pirovich
Tuesday, 28 May 2002
After listening to the next chapter in Mobys illustrious career '18' my initial response was that Moby seems to have grown up. No longer finding it necessary to be self righteous and confrontational, Moby is instead producing music that evokes warmth and compassion and touches the human spirit. 'Most people in their daily lives experience enough confrontation, they don't need more from me.'
So apart from the whole growing up process what is it that has turned Moby the 'Christian vegan technopunk maverick' into one of contemporary musics most important composers.
Moby, born Richard Melville has taken nothing short of an aggressive, outspoken and controversial, genre defying path to get to where he is today.
Starting out playing in a number of dark and destructive new wave and punk bands, Moby soon found himself dropping out of philosophy and visiting New York with bundles of demo tapes. Many rejections later he was signed to Instinct Records.
Moby then moved into the rapidly growing house and techno scene in Manhattan, where his djing performances would integrate his newly found religious beliefs. Progress though was slow until 'Go' which sampled the haunting theme from 'Twin Peaks' launched Mobys name into the music world. It sold one million copies.
Tours with Prodigy, the Shamen and Orbital followed as did Mobys need to express his opinions on all matters; the rights of the gay community, capital punishment, the destruction of our environment and the fundamental problems caused by right wing christian extremists, found Moby as much a social commentator as it did a musician.
Moving to Mute Records in 1995 Moby released 'Everything is wrong' making him one of the first artists to effectively join together numerous musical genres. It launched him as a producer and remixer and 'Spin' even claimed it to be 'Album of the year.'
Success however was short lived, with the release of the controversial and offensive to many, hard edged grunge album 'Album Rights' Only 100,000 copies were sold worldwide and Moby began to question his career.
Then came 'Play.' Just before its release Moby, who liked the album but honestly felt no one else would, started to plan a new future. 'I always liked the thought of doing architecture, I could study that and make music part time.'
It was a plan though that never came to fruition. 'Play' was looked upon as a fresh and accessible fusion of the blues, gospel and trance and the selling of ten million copies worldwide turned Moby into a megastar.
One of the reasons for the resounding success of 'Play' can be attributed to the use of many of the albums tracks for film and television. It was a move frowned upon by many but for Moby it was one of the only real options available to launch the album. 'There was no radio support at all.' 'The goal of play was to sell 250,000 albums which at the time seemed unattainable. It was flattering to have people wanting to use the music, so we said yes to everything.' Soon you couldn't go anywhere without hearing 'Play' drifting from the speakers of cafes, clothing stores and even supermarkets 'It was a nice surprise. The market seemed to be one that would assure it would not be successful.'
What was it then that suddenly made everyone want Moby in their lives- Moby discovered the ability to make people feel in ways that music hadn't made them feel before. Not angst or anger as in the past but sadness and elation, the rawest of human emotion.'I want to make records that people can take into their lives and hopefully fall in love with and get a lot out of.'
How then do you follow up such success. One would not be wrong for thinking that Moby was going to release an album full of unexpected surprises, after all it had been his way, and you could also assume the Tags