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Into the Mind of Moby Print E-mail
Written by JORDAN BRANDES   
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Moby is not just a musician, he is a mystery of the music industry. Although he has been a part of the mainstream music world for well over a decade now he rarely ever tours in the U.S. and only produces an album every two to three years. A rising star in the early 2000s Moby tends to stay under the radar now. Few know him well, even less know what he is thinking.


Photo L.A.
Santa Monica Civic Center
Santa Monica, CA
January 12, 2012

Which makes the opportunity to not only see him, but also listen to him lecture, even more lucrative. Moby sat down with an intimate audience of about 50 people at Photo L.A. on a recent Saturday, a three-day art exhibition held in Santa Monica each January showcasing some of the best and most innovative artists from around the world.

Naturally calm and collected he is about what you would expect based on his music. While not overly talkative he describes himself as very analytical and it is hard not to notice him taking in the whole room, gears turning in his head. He may not show the widest range of emotion while talking but there are many layers hidden just below the surface.

Moby, besides being a seasoned musician, is also a very passionate photographer. “I’ve been a photographer for much longer than I’ve been a musician,” he told the audience “my uncle was a photographer for the New York Times and so I was raised as a photographers assistant. Even now when I’m doing photo shoots I always find myself playing both the subject and the assistant, just out of habit. “

His new book “Destroyed” is a compilation of photographs he took while on tour late at night. “I typically get insomnia while on tour so I thought that rather than sit in the hotel room and stare at the wall I would get out and photograph my tour. The only difference is I wanted to do it from my perspective. What most touring artists don’t tell is that after awhile all the cities seem to blend together. That I why even though I’m in some of the most beautiful places in the world, I wanted to only show the outside of a hotel or a street lamp late at night.”

Although there is an album of music sold with the book he notes that the two do not necessarily have to go together. “For me the purpose of a photograph is to exist in its own two-dimensional space. Because I’m the one that took the photo I can look at it and tell you exactly what I was feeling when I snapped the picture, what I ate for dinner that night, what kind of weather it was…but since you weren’t there you don’t have the point of reference. That is why I like photographs so much, because they work so well on their own and in their own context outside of any other factors. The music can add to the experience but it wasn’t created specifically for that purpose,” he says.

“I created this book to show the beauty in everyday experiences. Anyone can take a pretty picture. I wanted to show the squalor of reality and the beauty that seems to come with the mundane,” notes Moby.

There are a few cases in his book where that is not entirely true. More than a few photos show the reader exactly what it is like to be up on stage in front of a live audience from Moby’s perspective. “One of the best compliments I got was I heard someone saw my photos in a gallery and got stage fright. If I can give someone a panic attack from my photos than I’m doing something right,” he says.

Although the Photo L.A. exhibition is coming to an end, Moby’s new book is available in stores and online throughout the world. While minimalistic in its execution the book manages to give the reader quite a bit of insight into the day-to-day life of a touring career musician than many that have come before it. This may be due to the fact that it is Moby taking the pictures and writing the captions rather than an outside source. The result is honest without being too subjective. Many up and coming musicians should consider the book an insider’s guide to the world of life on the road.

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