Moby on the State of Electronic Music
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: Is electronic music over?
Moby: I don’t know, I mean a world of dance music and electronic music, a lot of the producers are very young, and some of the producers are quite old. I mean, there are DJs in their 40s and 50s. I don’t if we have crossed the threshold where there are DJs in their 60s yet, but it is going to happen, and, hmmm, there are so many electronic musicians and DJs and producers who are still producing and DJ-ing and making records, and they have been doing it for 20 years, and I think one of the reasons why there are a lot of older people in the electronic music world is because most of them are solo artists, and solo artists never break up, you know? Bands break up left and right but it is kind of difficult for a solo artist to break up with him or herself. So, as a result, people just year after year keep going and, in some cases, they become parodies of themselves and in other cases they actually, as they get older, keep making better and better records, so I mean, it is, if you look at like pop music as a-- music in general, but specifically pop music as opposed to other artistic disciplines, in most artistic disciplines as the author or the sculptor or the photographer or the painter gets older, their work becomes deeper and more nuanced. You know, music, pop music in particular, is the only genre that sort of had a sell by date. You know, once a musician was 30, they were kind of done. And you look at the few musicians who have been the exception to that rule, like Leonard Cohen or Neil Young, people who actually-- it makes me think that it is really kind of a tragedy that musicians in the world of popular music lose their viability once they hit 30. And of course I am self-interested because I’m 42, but I just think it is strange that every other artistic discipline, as musicians age, in a weird way they become more viable. You know, I can look at someone like Chuck Close, like Chuck Close is a much more respected renowned painter now than he was 20 years ago.
Recorded on: 5/29/07
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