Moby has a confession to make about the massive success he had with his 1999 album Play. He enjoyed it. “I thought I was releasing a profoundly obscure record that would get no attention,” says the electronica overlord. “It went on to be hugely successful, and I’m ashamed to say I liked it. I liked having movie stars tell me they liked my records. So I pursued mainstream success and in the process made myself miserable.” Moby’s reaction against that period of popularity-chasing is his new album Wait For Me, which comes out June 30. The latest collection from the man born Richard Melville Hall is a varied but mostly subdued set that he recorded in his New York apartment. So having got that out his system, will Moby’s next album be an all-star affair with guest contributions from Susan Boyle and Miley Cyrus? “If I did that, it would be an album of Pantera covers,” he smiles. “The old situationist punk-rocker in me loves the idea of being in the system and f—ing with it.”
Much more from Moby after the break.
Entertainment Weekly: Wait For Me is a rather subdued and even wistful collection. Yet it does contain a couple of references to violence. One of the tracks, for example, is called “Shot in the Back of the Head.”
Moby: Hmm… One of my favorite things about the interview process is that invariably people will tell me things about my ownwork that I’ve never been aware of. The violent imagery of the record, that’s the first time I’ve eventhought of it. So I don’t have a good response. But you’re right! Theredefinitely is a recurring violent thread. Which is sort of ironic asthe music is, for he most part, quiet and restrained.
David Lynch directed the video for “Shot in the Back of the Head.” Is it true that the album was inspired by a lecture he gave at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts?
I feel like for a while I’d lost my way as an artist. I wanted mainstreamsuccess because I thought I should want it. Everyone around me wantedit, everyone at the record company wanted it. So I was like, “Oh Iguess these smart people know what they’re talking about.” But I wasunhappy. I was in the audience atBAFTA in London about a year and a half ago feeling a lot of artisticconfusion. AndDavid Lynch was talking about how creativity in and of itself is great. I was like, “He’sright! Life is short. What is more important: accommodating a marketplace or aspiring make great art?”
You’ve said that the Wait For Me track “Jltf1/Jltf” is about the fact that your friends “are all junkies.” You went through a fairly dissolute phase yourself, didn’t you?
I started drinking and doing drugs when I was around 11 years old. Istopped when I was 14 and became straight edge for a while and then gotback into it and then stopped for 8 years. And during those 8 yearswas when I started making records. So I got this reputation for being aclean-living, monastic person.Then around 1995 I got back into it. Ihad a terrible relationship that ended. I was in San Francisco and I thoughtto myself, “F— it. I really want to get drunk.” What followed wasabout 13 years of just aggressive dissipation. At first it was anovelty: It was like, “Wow, I’m the clean-living monastic guy and I’m in a strip club getting a lap dance.” At first there wasan ironic aspect to it. And then, about 5 or 6 years into it, I waslike, “This isn’t ironic anymore.” Disneyland ceases to be a novelty whenyou live there. I found myself really only being happy when I wasdrinking or doing drugs.
The thing about living in New York is that no one ever says, “Hey, maybe you’d like to slow it down a little.”
Yeah, the only time anyone stops you from drinking in New York is ifyou’re hurling a bar stool through a plate glass window. Butultimately it’s unsustainable. Or at least it was for me.
Is this your first post-dissipation album?
Oh, it was written and recorded when I was pretty dissipated.
So, is this your first post-dissipation day?
No, no, no. I’ve stopped drinking and taking drugs for a while. Whoknows what will happen? But when you’re sleeping until 7 at night andwaking up and feeling like death it’s time to re-evaluate yourrecreational choices.
Eminem, with whom you have feuded, also has a new album out.
[Laughs] I noticed that, yeah.
Are you looking forward to the possibility of your paths crossing?
It was either Freud or Einstein who said that the definition ofinsanity is doing the same thing over and again and expecting differentresults. I hope that I’ve learned my lesson. Basically, I have nobusiness criticizing anybody. But especially I have no businesscriticizing incredibly successful people who carry guns. The next fight I pick it will be with, like, the drum tech from Fountains of Wayne.And first I’m going to make sure he’s a Buddhist.
More from EW’s Music Mix:
Eminem trounces the competition
New Jonas Brothers video: It makes no sense, but their hair sure does look nice
Susan Boyle overrated? British pop star Lily Allen thinks so…
Wilco’s Jay Bennett: RIP