CHICKENHEAD PAST: MOBY
interview and photo by insane wayne chinsang

DURING OUR FIRST YEAR, FROM SEPTEMBER 1999 TO AUGUST 2000, WE WERE KNOWN UNDER THE MONIKER CHICKENHEAD. DURING THAT FIRST YEAR, WE INTERVIEWED A LOT OF PEOPLE. NOT ALL OF THEM WERE GREAT INTERVIEWS. YOU CAN TELL THAT WE WERE JUST STARTING TO FIGURE OUT OUR STYLE. BUT WE'VE PICKED TWELVE INTERVIEWS OUT FROM THAT FIRST YEAR THAT EPITOMIZED WHAT WE WERE TRYING TO DO. DURING JUNE, JULY, AND AUGUST WE WILL BE PLACING THESE OLD INTERVIEWS ONLINE FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE. THERE WILL BE FOUR NEW INTERVIEWS EACH MONTH. ENJOY THIS BLAST FROM TASTES LIKE CHICKEN'S PAST!

INTERVIEW: MOBY

ORIGINAL PRINT DATE: SEPTEMBER 1999


VEGAN. ENVIRONMENTALIST. ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST. MUSICIAN. A FEW WEEKS AGO, MOBY CAME TO COLUMBUS TO PERFORM AT THE NEWPORT. CHICKENHEAD MET UP WITH HIM TO TALK ABOUT HIS NEW ALBUM, TOURING, AND THE CONTRADICTORY LIVES OF HUMANS.

Wayne: Your new album, Play, has a much different sound to it than your previous albums, yet the music seems very related. For instance, there is more of a blues and gospel feel to this album than previous ones. What was the influence for Play, and what was the difference between this album and others?

Moby: My goal in making a record is to make something that I love. Something that affects me on a powerful level. Beyond that, I donít really think about what style itís in or what genre.

W: Your CDs include essays about your beliefs on many things. You touch base on religion, veganism, and politics. Do you feel that including your essays might limit your audience, or do you think it opens your music up to a different and broader audience?

M: I think the fact that I write essays might turn some people off, and then there are some people that are just uninterested. My understanding of the world is very flexible, so I donít really have too many specific beliefs. I think a lot of people imagine me to be more rigid and dogmatic than I actually am.

W: How did your veganism come about? Were you raised either vegan or vegetarian?

M: No. I became vegetarian about 14 years ago and vegan about 12 years ago. Essentially, for ethical reasons, but also for health reasons, environmental reasons, and political reasons.

W: Some vegans I know say they choose to be vegan for health reasons, yet they smoke. Others say they choose to be vegan for the animals, yet they wear leather. Do these inconsistencies bother you?

M: I think that it is impossible to be alive at the end of the 20th Century and have a completely consistent and non-hypocritical life. Life is complicated and messy. If someone is a vegan and wears leather, then they are just inconsistent. Far be it for me to judge them. You know, Iím an environmentalist, and I have a tour bus.

W: I was actually thinking about that. But how else could you get around? By horse-drawn carriage? Along those lines, do you feel that you sometimes have to compromise in order to keep doing what you do?

M: I like compromise. I like having my beliefs challenged. I like being forced to admit that I am human. There was a part of me in the past when I was quite rigid and dogmatic, and I hate those aspects of myself. I like when the world fucks me up a little bit and forces me to be humble and a little more flexible.

W: Play was composed entirely by you. How is touring with a band different than recording an album?

M: When I make the records, it is just me doing everything. But when I tour, I hire other musicians to make it sound better, and to make it more interesting.

W: So, everything on Play is performed by you?

M: Everything.

W: Do you feel that that creative process makes it entirely your piece of work?

M: No. I just feel that it was the way I chose to make records. I am more comfortable with myself. I like playing live with other musicians, but I prefer making records by myself because I can be less inhibited.

W: What are some pieces of music today that inspire you?

M: I donít mean to be wishy-washy, but I like everything. There isnít a type of music I donít like, so I donít really have any particular favorites.

W: A few months ago you were on Politically Incorrect. How was that experience?

M: I hated it. It was just a bunch of loudmouths. Everyone was just trying to be the center of attention. I had never seen it before, so I went on thinking that it was just going to be a reasonable discussion on current events. Basically, it was just people yelling.

W: Who else was on the show with you?

M: I had never heard of any of them before.

W: Any bizarre touring stories?

M: Not really. I mean, I love touring, but itís very much the same. You wake up in a parking lot, you do sound check, and then you perform. Nothing particularly anecdotal has happened.

W: How much longer are you touring?

M: We just got off of a three month promotional tour, and now weíre doing a concert tour that will go until January or February.

W: Are you heading outside of the U.S. at all?

M: We will be going to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and then Japan.

W: Have you visited any places that have really impressed you?

M: New Zealand. Although, I really love the people in Australia, too. Iíd really love to move to Australia. But itís so far away.

W: Tell me a little bit about your musical background.

M: Iím 33 years old, and I started playing classical music when I was 8. I played classical guitar for a long time. Then I played in a bunch of punk rock and new wave bands when I was growing up. I started making music on my own in 1984.

W: As a child, who did you see perform live that influenced you?

M: I saw Black Flag a bunch of times. They are great. Adam and the Ants and The Specials were really great, too. Echo and the Bunnymen were really terrific, also. Some things Iíve seen recently that Iíve liked is Gwar. I love Gwar, and I will always go and see them. I will drive hours and hours to go see them.

W: If you had to give one piece of advice to the human race what would it be?

M: Work hard at something you love.

W: Do you feel that youíve achieved that with Play?

M: Yes.

W: Now that Play is set in stone and done with, is there anything that you would do differently?

M: The sound quality. Sometimes I listen to the album from a song-writing perspective. Sometimes I listen to it from an instrumentalistís perspective. Sometimes from an engineering or production perspective. The sound quality on the album is good, but I wish that it could be better.

W: Are there any tracks on the album that stand out as favorites?

M: No. Different. I donít have favorites in anything.

W: Do you just look for the subtleties in things?

M: No. I just look at things differently. I donít understand the idea of hierarchically comparing one thing to another, because everything in the world is just different.

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