The magic of Moby is undeniable. As an artist and activist, he is the voice of a generation. The virtuoso has been co-writing, producing and remixing music with various artists for nearly 30 years. In 1999, he released Play, which can arguably be considered one of the best albums of the ‘90s. It was with that studio album Moby would put electronic dance music on the map, shining a light on the versatility of the genre.
Whether you were already a fan of electronic music or had not yet been introduced to the genre, Play showcased its many different aspects. You had everything from the upbeat “Bodyrock,” which became an anthem for teenagers everywhere, to songs such as “Honey,” which featured that unforgettable sample by gospel/folk singer Bessie Jones. Not only was the album a huge hit with music fans across the board, but its commercial success catapulted electronica into the spotlight like never before.
Over time, the multifaceted Moby has continued to break ground with new and exciting projects. Last year, he gave us “Porcelain: A Memoir” (complete with a collection of songs) and just this month, he put out a new album titled More Fast Songs About The Apocalypse.
AXS recently caught up with him at the world premiere of “What We Started.” As the documentary takes an in-depth and unique look at electronic dance music, we spoke with Moby about his own take on the journey of the genre.
“It is incredibly odd,” he said about the current EDM revolution. “When all of us first got involved in the world of dance music it wasn’t just small and underground, it was maligned. In the mid-‘80s or late-‘80s, dance music was this ignored, bastard stepchild. I remember the first time I went to anything approaching a rave. In 1990 these rave promoters came over from the UK and did an event in New York and 30 people were there. It was exciting, in a 'I can’t believe there are 30 other people who are interested in electronic music' kind of way.”
“So, it is fascinating to see the genre, but also the means of production evolve,” he continued. “In the ‘80s, making music with electronic instruments was weird. Now, 99 percent of the music that’s sold and made around the world is made electronically.”
As for what Moby sees down the road, he predicts, “The future is an extension of what’s already happening; which is that every single person on the planet is capable of making good-sounding electronic music. You can make good-sounding electronic music with your phone now. So, there’s just a lot of it out there, because anyone can do it. I don’t mean that as a criticism. It’s very egalitarian in what’s an overwhelming but an inspiring way.”
“Also, one of the beautiful things about electronic music is that there are no language barriers,” he added. “I’ll listen to a new record and I won’t know if it’s made by someone from the UK, from New Zealand, from Japan or from wherever. Anyone can make it and put it out there in a very viable way."
Moby touched on something here that seems to be cultivating a brand-new trend within an entire generation of artists. While “What We Started” takes a deeper look at how our accessibility to technology has bolstered newer EDM artists such as Martin Garrix, it’s certainly not limited to genre. 18-year-old talent Steve Lacy recently produced his debut funk and soul demo almost entirely on his iPhone. His 13-minute song series is an inspired piece of work that’s received rave reviews.
However you spin it, there is something really incredible happening within the music community due to the influence of electronic music. As Moby describes, "It is the most democratic musical genre that’s ever existed.” And he remains a driving force at the center of it all.
Check out Moby’s new video for “In This Cold Place” above and head over to his website for more.