Can music change politics?
Richard Melville Hall, a.k.a. Moby, is one of the most important dance music figures of the early '90s, helping bring the music to a mainstream audience both in England and in America.
Born in Harlem, New York in 1965, and raised in Darien, CT, he played in a hardcore punk band called the Vatican Commandos as a teenager before moving to New York City, where he began DJing in dance clubs. During the late '80s, he released a number of singles and EPs before, in 1991, he set the theme from David Lynch's television series Twin Peaks to an insistent, house-derived rhythm and titled the result "Go." The single became a surprise British hit single, climbing into the Top Ten, and was named one of Rolling Stone's top 200 records of all time. Moby, his first full-length album, appeared in 1992. Since then, Moby has recorded eleven studio albums, including his multi-platinum breakthrough Play (1999), 18 (2002), Hotel (2005), Go: The Very Best of Moby (2006) and Last Night (2008).
In addition to his musical endeavors, Moby is the proprietor of teany cafe and teas. He is also a well-known advocate for a variety of progressive causes, working with MoveOn.org and PETA, among others. He actively engages in nonpartisan activism.
Question: Can music change politics?
Moby: I think it can because it has. Maybe not on a specific cause and effect way, you know, if some musician writes a song about some policy initiative they want to see moved forward through Congress, I don’t know if necessarily, you know, Rama Emanuel is going to hear this song and be inspired to move policy through Congress, but I think that music and politics have been intertwined for such a long time, sometimes in very explicit ways, I mean, you have like Vaclav Havel who was very involved in the Czech music scene and was really inspired by the railroad underground and a lot of rock music in the states in the 1960’s. And music, strange enough, music has always been more political than politics has been musical. You know, because politicians are nerds.
You know, at the end of the day, they are nerds who will do anything they can to get elected, whereas I think musicians, oddly enough, have a slightly broader view. It doesn’t mean they are brighter, it doesn’t mean they are better informed, it just means that I think that a musician can approach his or her world with a little more objectivity and they are a little more personal for them. So that’s why I think politics has influenced music in a way much more than music has influenced politics.
Recorded on: 6/16/08
Musicians take the broad view, says Moby.
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