was born September 11, 1965 in Harlem, New York City. His real
name is Richard Melville Hall. Moby is the great-great-grand-nephew
of Moby Dick author Herman Melville. Moby was one of the most
controversial figures in techno music, alternately praised for
bringing a face to the notoriously anonymous electronic genre,
as well as being scorned by hordes of techno artists and fans
for diluting and trivializing the form. In either case, Moby was
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. Moby fused rapid disco beats with heavy distorted
guitars, punk rhythms, and detailed productions that drew equally
from pop, dance, and movie soundtracks. Not only did his music
differ from both the cool surface textures of ambient music and
the hedonistic world of house music, but so did his lifestyle;
Moby was infamous for his devout, radical Christian beliefs, as
well as his environmental and vegan activism. "Go" became
a British Top Ten hit in 1991, establishing him as one of the
premier techno producers. By the time he came to the attention
of American record critics with 1995's Everything Is Wrong, his
following from the early '90s had begun to erode, particularly
in Britain. Nevertheless, he remained one of the most recognizable
figures within techno; after he abandoned the music for guitar
rock with 1996's Animal Rights, he returned to a heavy electronic
base with 1997's I Like to Score and 1999's Play, the latter of
which made him a genuine breakout pop star.
'Moby' since infancy, he was raised in Darien, CT. Moby's father
died when he was only two. Subsequently he was brought up by his
mother, an open-minded woman who encouraged Moby to pursue whatever
creative avenues appealed to him. By the time Moby was ten he
was actively learning classical guitar, something which held him
in good stead for the punk explosion which attracted him in his
teens. By his twenties he had been involved in bands as disparate
as punk kids The Vatican Commandos, anarchist noise combo Flipper
and critically acclaimed 4AD band Ultra Vivid Scene. With Moby's
love of new in music it was inevitable that he would be drawn
to the house scene in the late 80s. He quickly became well known
in the techno world with world-wide dance hit songs such as "Go"
(a UK top 10), "Drop A Beat", and "Next Is The
E". Three albums, "Moby", "Early Underground",
and "Ambient", were released by Instinct Records during
this period, but not necessarily with Moby's 'consent or involvement'.
on to the major labels Mute (UK/Europe) and Elektra (USA). Given
free artistic reign, he released "Everything Is Wrong",
an album spanning several radically different genres -- an eclectic
mix showcasing his versatility as a musician. Though it drew fire
from techno purists, EIW won widespread acclaim among critics
and fans alike. The following album, "Animal Rights",
was even more controversial. At a time when pop artists were jumping
on the 'electronica' bandwagon in droves, Moby became disinterested
in what he felt was a stagnating, elitist DJ culture, and put
out a hard rock record instead. For years, his music had featured
female singers. But on "Animal Rights", Moby did the
vocals himself, shouting semi- intelligible lyrics over a backdrop
of heavy guitar fury. "Little Idiot", a limited edition
UK bonus disc of very simple 'symphonic instrumental' music, served
as an extreme counterbalance to AR's loud rock. Some of these
reflective ambient tracks appeared on the US version of AR, which
had been delayed for several months. A compilation of Moby's film-related
songs, wittily entitled "I Like To Score", was released
in late 1997, featuring Moby's 're-version' of the famous James
of "Play" heralds yet more musical exploration from
the Moby. Almost twelve months in the making, "Play"
is a downtempo affair which is perhaps his most cohesive album
to date. "I suppose the genesis of this record can be found
on the downtempo tracks on 'Everything is Wrong'" he explains.
"With 'Everything is Wrong' it was me bringing in all of
the styles and sounds that I was into in a wildly eclectic way.
With this album I wanted things to hang together far more naturally."
If "Play" were a theatrical performance it would be
in three acts. Act one finds Moby building his music around field
recordings of indigenous black music from the early 20th century.
Act two features Moby himself on vocal duties. The final act is
represented by the quietly reflective instrumental tracks. The
glue that holds the entire performance together is provided by
the breaks of hip hop ("I listen to a lot of commercial hip
hop like Jay-Z, Noriega, Timbaland, and Busta Rhymes"). Fear
not because the overall effect is often moving, occasionally spooky
and always breathtaking.
field recordings were made by a folk historian called Alan Lomax
who, along with his father, amassed a huge catalogue of indigenous
field recordings in the early part of the twentieth century. When
I first heard these recordings I was so moved by them. These wonderful
vocals became the starting points for my music." Interesting
that, at a time when millennial fever has so many people running
to their 70s and 80s records for inspiration, Moby has found it
lurking in obscure recordings from the beginning of the century.
These tapes held all of the energy that originally drew him to
both punk and rave. Moby's use of these field recordings was heralded
by the release of "Honey" in September '98. A swaggering
slice of b-boy swamp blues, "Honey" received accolades
throughout the media with NME calling it "a sparkling diamond"
while The Guardian described it as "joyous, hypnotic, romping
Moby set the scene for the astonishing bride-stripped-bare minimalist
blues of "Play". And, as is the norm for the man who
is occasionally known as Little Idiot, he plays all of the instruments
himself. "I was playing the album to one of my friends and
he asked me who the drummer was. When I said it was me he was
amazed." He plays everything from classical guitar to Roland
303, he's played everything from thrash metal to hands in the
air techno, he's remixed everyone from Michael Jackson to Metallica,
and he's turned down production offers from Hole and Guns 'n'
Roses. One thing is certain about Moby: he can still surprise.
With "Play" Moby has delivered another stunning head
turner. And the best bit is, you get the feeling that there's
still so much more to come from NYC's favourite maverick.
has 18 tracks and was the first album in history to have all of
its tracks commercially licensed: "Porcelain," for instance,
appeared on a TV commercial for Bailey's Irish Cream and Nordstrom;
"Find My Baby" was on a commercial for American Express
featuring golfer Tiger Woods. The album's tracks eventually were
accepted in various radio formats, but because of Play's extensive
licensing, the album could have been financially successful even
without radio play. In addition to fame garnered through its licensing,
Play is also notable for its extensive sampling of old blues recordings
collected by Alan Lomax. In a 2005 posting on his web site, Moby
theorized that his eagerness to license his music is a result
of "growing up in poverty."  (http://www.moby.com/cms/viewdiary.asp?Diary_ID=2186&ViewType=Current)
In 2001, Moby
founded the Area:One Festival. It was a popular touring rock festival
that featured an eclectic range of musical genres . A second tour
was organized for the following year.
In 2001 Moby
also earned the ire of Eminem after calling his music misogynist
and homophobic; Eminem later satirized Moby in "Without Me,"
calling him a "fag" and questioning his relevance with
the claim, "Nobody listens to techno!" The two were
in a confrontation at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards, though
Moby expresses respect for Eminem's musical talents.
In 2002, Moby
briefly had a television show on MTV, Señor Moby's House
of Music, which focused mostly on more obscure electronic music.
Also in 2002, Moby released 18, a techno album that had 18 tracks.
The most popular song on the album 18 was "We Are All Made
of Stars". Moby says he wrote "We Are All Made of Stars"
because of the September 11 Terrorist Attacks, which happened
on his birthday (source: album 18-B Sides DVD).
Moby, a vegan
non-denominational Christian and self-proclaimed simpleton (for
his often sincere and idealistic political assessments), lives
in New York City's Little Italy, where he's lived for a decade
in a small apartment in a five-story building across the street
from David Bowie. He owns a small restaurant and coffee shop called
TeaNY, where he occasionally waits tables.
In 2005 Moby
released "Lift Me Up", a single from his album Hotel,
which featured, in addition to numerous remixes, UK company's
Digimpro software. The program allows users to remix the song
- using any or all of the samples included - and save it as an
mp3 file. Thus unlimited, personalized versions of the title track
were possible. Digimpro had previously seen exposure with group
Erasure's single Breathe, allowing users the same ability.