What inspires you?
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: Where do you get your inspiration?
Moby: What inspires me? Hmmmm, I guess going back to what I said earlier, the main thing that inspires me is to presumptuously want to improve the circumstances in which I find myself. Life of course is miraculous and amazing, but it can be really mundane, and one of the things that drives me in music or art or what have you is the desire to sort of make life less mundane. And maybe it is a personal failing of my own that I can never, I mean, because life is not mundane, but, to me, sometimes, it can be kind of routine and kind of mundane, so I sort of feel this almost compulsion to challenge that.
Question: Is creativity born or learned?
Moby: I work under the assumption that everybody is innately creative, but maybe creativity is like a plant or it is a seed, and unless it is watered and taken care of and tended and put in a nice environment, it is never going to grow, it is never going to blossom. And it drives me crazy that people don’t give themselves the license to be creative and express themselves creatively. So many people in our culture think of creativity as something that someone else does.
Like so many musicians, like people who really would love to sit down and play piano, they are afraid to do so because they are intimidated by the people who are really good at it; and the people who are really good at it were not born really good at it. No one is born a great pianist, no one is born a great painter, no one is born a great photographer. Its like you just take that spark and you keep working on it.
Question: What does living green mean to you?
Moby: Living green to me is something that more often than not, I mean, more often then not people do because it makes them feel better about themselves, which is great, and there is nothing wrong with that. I mean, clearly, environmental degradation is the result of cumulative effort, like if China had one coal fired power plant it wouldn’t be that bad.
The fact that they open one coal fired power plant every week, the cumulative effect of that is really deleterious for the global environment, the same way if a friend of mine replaces her incandescent light bulb with compact florescent light bulbs, the effect on the environment is negligible at best, but if everybody in the United States does that, there will actually be good consequences. So living green, it means different things to different people, but ultimately I guess it is that simple choice, like a choice between doing something that is good for you and good for the environment or doing something that is bad for you and bad for the environment so it just seems like it makes sense to do the thing that is good for you and good for the environment.
June 16, 2008
Moby works in solitude till inspiration hits.