We chat up Moby, in town to entertain Art Baselers with some "big, loud, stupid techno tracks."
The musical chameleon that is Moby (real name Richard Melville Hall) has dabbled in everything from ambient to techno to hardcore punk. But on Saturday night at Mansion, the bald, bespectacled, diminutive DJ best known for the groundbreaking 1999 album "Play" will step behind the decks to deliver some serious house-music beats in support of his latest CD, "Destroyed," and its followup deluxe edition. The New York native talked to Miami.com in typical self-deprecating fashion about what we can expect from his show and how amazing he finds the city of Miami.
Q: You've recorded in so many different musical styles - were you going for anything specific with "Destroyed"?
A: Well, I guess the theme of "Destroyed" is it's supposed to be music written in a hotel room late at night when I have insomnia. So I guess the theme is "music for empty cities at 3 o'clock in the morning." And my hope in making it is it would also make sense being listened to in non-empty cities at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. But for me, at least, the music makes the most sense listened to by yourself at 3 o'clock in the morning in an empty city when everybody else is asleep.
Q: And how does the new deluxe version differ from the original?
A: I'll never make a claim that I'm a good musician, but I will say that I'm a really prolific musician, so when I make an album, I end up writing about two or three hundred songs a year. And so the deluxe version is just a chance to include some of the songs that didn't make it onto the original album, and also to include the videos and some extra photography, because in addition to the album there's a photo book. So it's basically just a way of putting more stuff out there, which sometimes I feel guilty about, because I feel like there's enough music and art in the world. Like, I think musicians and artists could maybe be a little more discretionary - there's so much stuff out there. I guess that's a bad thing to say in an interview - I'm sort of almost making the case for people not buying my record.
Q: What can we expect from your show down here in Miami Beach?
A: Big, loud, stupid techno tracks.
Q: Will we hear tracks from "Destroyed," or do you not plan your sets in advance?
A: Well, luckily, a lot of good remixes have been done for "Destroyed," because the music on "Destroyed" isn't really nightclub-friendly. If a DJ tried to play it in a nightclub, he'd probably get fired pretty quickly - it's more quiet and atmospheric. But we've had a lot of really talented people do good remixes, and the reason I can objectively say they're good remixes is that I didn't do any of them.
Q: When was the last time you performed in Miami?
A: That's a good question ... Oh, I think it was last April [actually, March] - I was DJing at Ultra Music Festival with Carl Cox. He and I have this long-standing tradition of DJing together, and Ultra is amazing, just the spectacle of it, 60,000 people or however many are there. But for me the one thing that's disconcerting about Ultra is it's done by like 10 o'clock at night. So in the past when I drank, that just meant I'd start drinking in the afternoon and stay drunk for 24 hours, but now I don't drink anymore, so when Ultra ends, I feel like such a loser because I go back to my hotel room and have dinner and read a book, and it just feels weird to be asleep at 11 p.m. on a night when you've DJ'ed. Especially in Miami, because if you're going to sleep at 11 o'clock in Miami, you're either me, or you're 87 years old.
Q: What do you think of the city?
A: Well, the first time I came to Miami was in the mid-'70s with my grandmother, and the first time I came there professionally was in 1991. And I remember it really well in 1991 because the flier that announced my performance - I saved a copy of it - said something like "Special night with Moby singing their hit "OK." And what they meant to say was "performing his hit "Go." I just love the fact that I wasn't singing, I was an individual, not a "they," and they got the name of the song wrong.
But watching the transformation of Miami - my grandmother took me there in the '70s because that's where her friends had retired to. And now, it's about the most vibrant, dynamic city in the Western world. It's amazing. It's like the most explosive part of South American cities - it's like Hong Kong meets Rio meets Barcelona meets Berlin. And back when I drank and did a lot of drugs, I would go there and just disappear for like 72 hours. And now that I don't do either, I just go and swim and meet up with friends and just sort of marvel at how every time I'm there, there's another new 50 giant buildings, and it's amazing. It's sort of like the future on steroids.
Q: Will you be here for the next Winter Music Conference?
A: I hope so - I mean, I go where I get to go. And if they ask me to come back, of course I'll say yes. But I've been there for the last two or three years, so I have a feeling that maybe they'll be disinclined to invite me this year because I feel like an old piece of furniture.
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