Moby Discusses ‘Innocents,’ Famous Collaborators, and Why Traveling Gets Him Down
Photo: Vincent Sandoval
Photo: Vincent Sandoval
To celebrate the release of his new album, Innocents, Moby performed an intimate show for friends, fans, and music-industry types at Sonos Studio in Los Angeles on September 23. Just before he took the stage, Yahoo Music caught up with the renowned artist (born Richard Melville Hall) and chatted with him about his new album, working with famous collaborators, and why he's trying to limit his travels so he can work on his relationships and have a dog.
Moby fans will find a great deal to like about Innocents, including the producer's trademark soaring choruses, gorgeous melodies, and sweeping strings, reminiscent of his 1999 breakout hit album Play, which made him a bona fide electronic music star. The new album also features several notable collaborations from a variety of artists, including Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, gravelly voiced crooner Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age), and Somali-Canadian singer Cold Specks.
Most notably, it's the first time Moby has worked with an outside producer, having self-produced all of his previous records. When asked why he decided to bring famed producer Mike "Spike" Stent (Madonna, Bjork, Muse) on board, Moby explained, "I've been making records for a long time, and the majority of music I've made has been made by me alone in my studio, and I simply wanted to see what it would be like to do things differently."
Moby also confessed that Stent's advice caused him to alter his entire approach to making the record. "When I started working on this record I really wanted to make a lo-fi, grungy, downtempo dance record," he said. "And then I met with Spike Stent, and it's funny because he'd worked with Massive Attack and he's worked on a lot of lo-fi, grungy dance music, but at our first meeting he said to me that he really thought I should make a more intimate, emotional, melodic record. And I realized he was right."
Another reason Moby chose to bring in outside collaborators was in order to gain some outside perspectives and ideas that he wouldn't have been able to come up with on his own. "When I work with other people — whether it's a producer or other collaborators — I'm simply afforded a degree of objectivity that I otherwise wouldn't have. And also they have approaches to the creative process and songwriting that I would never be able to come up with."
The collaborators on this album are arguably some of the best in the business. Coyne provides guest vocals on the joyous romp "The Perfect Life," and also turns up in the hilarious video for the tune dressed up as a mariachi wandering the streets of downtown Los Angeles with Moby and a crazy cast of characters.
Meanwhile Lanegan adds some serious gravitas to the slow burner "The Lonely Night," and Damien Jurado sings on "Almost Home," a melancholy tune that sounds like it could have been plucked from a Bon Iver album. There's also a gorgeous, soulful turn from Cold Specks on "A Case For Shame."