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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[…]

Moby is a dilettante who has been making music for 32 years.

Question: Beyond a simple title, how would you describe what you do for a living?

Moby: Well I’ve been making music now for 32 years. And, I mean, I’m a dilettante so I do lots of different things. But most of my life and most of my time and my work is just spent working on music. So it might be a very reductive term, but I’m pretty happy just calling myself a musician.

Well when I was growing up, most of my heroes were musicians.

So it just made sense that I would learn how to play an instrument. And I think if you look at musicians, oftentimes they’re not very good at sports and they’re not particularly intelligent. Because if they’re good at sports or they’re really bright, they would spend their time when they were growing up either playing sports or working on computers. So musicians are the ones who are sort of left alone in their bedrooms in the afternoon learning how to play guitar and listen to records.


Question: What is the struggle in what you do?

Moby:Hmm. What a big question. I mean on the most simple level, the challenge of my work is to make music that I love, and that ideally other people will love as well. I mean first and foremost, I have to try and make myself happy through my work. But then in a perfect world, I can make myself happy through my work and also somehow reach other people as well. And that is sort of my life’s work. I do a lot of other things. Like I said I’m a dilettante. But my life’s work is trying to make music that will affect me emotionally, and ideally affect other people emotionally as well.


Question: What is the joy in what you do?

Moby: The biggest thrill of what I do is not knowing where inspiration comes from. And that’s one of the reasons why I’m so prolific, is because I feel like as long as I keep working, it increases the chances that inspiration might happen. So I write a lot of music, and a lot of it’s pretty mundane.

And a lot of it’s not very good. But every now and then, something that I think is really spectacular will happen. And if I’m not in my studio working on music, there is no way that I’ll be able to capture that. But as long as I just stay in my studio and keep working and working and sort of like slogging through the mundane aspects of just day-to-day, ritualized working, that just increases the chances that something great might happen.


Question: What are you working on right now?

Moby: Well right now I’m just trying to finish my next record with the “Pollyanna-ish”, naïve hope that people will still be buying records when it’s released.

When you made a record, there was a simple way of making a record, and a simple way of distributing the record, and a simple way of selling the record. And now, if I’m finished a record now and it comes out in six months, I have no idea how people might buy it, or listen to it, or download it. I mean it could be all the platforms could be completely different in six months.


May 29, 2007

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