Those who follow Moby on social media know the electronic music legend isn’t a fan of President-elect Donald Trump. A staunch supporter of Hillary Clinton, he takes Trump to task several times a day, openly posting his disdain for his politics. In a bizarre turn of events, Moby, who released a pair of anti-songs before the election — “Trump Is on Your Side” and “Little Failure” — revealed yesterday on Instagram that someone from Trump’s team asked if he would DJing at Trump’s inauguration ball this month:
Hahahahaha, I was just asked by a booking agent if I would consider djing at one of the inaugural balls for #trump… Hahahahaha, wait, Hahahaha, really? I guess I’d DJ at an inaugural ball if as payment #trump released his tax returns. Also I would probably play public enemy and stockhausen remixes to entertain the republicans. I’m still laughing. Hahahaha. So #trump what do you think, I DJ for you and you release your tax returns?
Moby now joins a growing list of musicians who have turned down requests to play the ball including Celine Dion, Elton John, Andrea Bocelli, and Ice T.
While there’s no way to confirm the veracity of Moby’s claim, in this rare instance we’ll stick to the old adage of not letting the facts get in the way of a good story.
In the beginning of 2008 Moby was about to release his eighth album, Last Night, which marked his return to dance music. I’ve known Moby since the ’90s and it became a tradition—at least in my mind—that with each new album we’d meet at his apartment on Mott Street in New York City and I would interview him. I always enjoyed these conversations where I was able to learn about the creative process that informed his latest effort. What added to our engaging chinwags was the setting—we were in the comfort of his home sans doting publicist. Musicians, like most of us, are are more comfortable talking in their kitchen as opposed to a sterile conference room.
I’ve always found Moby to be an approachable, often self-effacing anti-star. He’d probably agree with that sentiment. In fact, back when Big Shot was a print publication, I asked Moby on a whim if he’d guest edit our first anniversary issue in 2004. He didn’t have a new release to promote but was kind enough to curate a fantastic issue reflecting his diverse interests in music and culture. I fondly remember shooting the issue’s cover with photographer Bert Spangemacher in the hallway of Moby’s apartment building one afternoon as his tolerant neighbors squeezed past our makeshift studio setup.
When the press push for Last Night began, I started receiving press releases about legendary Japanese composer/electronic music innovator Ryuichi Sakamoto. I had heard that Sakamoto lived in NYC and was always interested in him and his music. I first discovered Sakamoto in 1983’s Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, a film about a World War II Japanese prison camp which he scored and starred in opposite David Bowie. I dove deeper and soaked up the groundbreaking work as a member of Yellow Magic Orchestra in the late ’70s and early ’80s. So when I came across a missive about Sakamoto in my inbox, an idea popped into my mind: What if I got Sakamoto and Moby together for a one-on-one interview? I typed up my query and held my breath.
While Moby is ubiquitous in the media, Sakamoto has always been press shy. But the stars aligned and a few weeks later I was able to schedule an afternoon meeting between these two titans of electronic music at Sakamoto’s apartment in the West Village, a reader’s paradise that was filled with books and outfitted with a recording studio in the sub basement. Eight years later their conversation, which touched on politics to gentrifying New York City, is still riveting.
A key moment in the interview is when Sakamoto brings up his staunch anti-nuclear stance, noting that Japan has “3,000 earthquakes a day.” That fact wasn’t lost on Moby who made a prescient observation—three years before the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster following the Tōhoku earthquake on March 11, 2011—when he mused that Japan is “not the smartest place to be building nuclear reactors.” Here is the full interview with Moby and Ryuichi Sakamoto as it appeared in issue 23. Continue Reading
With California currently in the midst of a historic draught, electronic music legend/vegan/Los Angeles resident Moby has issued “A Message To California,” a video asking meat eaters to help conserve water by reducing the frequency of showers.
The message is part of a grassroots campaign recently launched by Skip Showers For Beef, an organization whose belief is that every four ounces of beef takes about 450 gallons to produce, the equivalent of 37 showers.
In the clip Moby says taking fewer showers will allow carnivores to “have their steak and eat it, too.” Moby says, “It is possible to enjoy your meat responsibly.”
Moby adds that he won’t need to curb his showers because he’s a vegan but is adamant that we all need to “think outside the box” in lieu of the draught.
One of Moby’s long out-of-print ambient albums is returning and will be complemented by a pair of unprecedented live performances. On December 16, Moby will reissue Hotel: Ambient, which was originally included as a second disc on Moby’s 2005 alt-rock album Hotel. The re-release will feature a fleshed-out track listing complete with previously unreleased recordings from the session.
While Moby’s live shows often feature a cross-section of songs from his entire career, his ambient work has always remained unrepresented. On the day of Hotel: Ambient‘s re-issue, Moby will host his first-ever ambient performance at the Masonic Lodge in Los Angeles (you can buy tickets for that show here). He will also be performing at a fundraiser for the Integration in Joshua Tree On December 21.
Speaking about his interest in ambient music recently, Moby said, “I first heard, and heard about, ambient music on the B-side of David Bowie’s ‘Heroes.’ As much as I’ve loved writing songs and dance tracks I’ve always been obsessed with the ways in which ambient and instrumental music can transform the space in which [they’re] being listened. I also really appreciate the subtle and at times un-demanding qualities of ambient music, and the ways in which it can unconventionally reach people emotionally.”
A disciple of the work of Brian Eno, Philip Glass and Steve Reich and purveyor of constant musical innovation over the years, it will be great to hear Moby’s ethereal craft heard in a live setting for the first time. Hotel: Ambient will be available for free and for purchase December 16 through mobygratis.
Read our interview feature with Moby where we got him to answer questions from producers — everyone from Timo Maas to Kris Menace — who’ve remixed his tracks in the past.