In His Words...
Born September 11, 1965 in Harlem, New York City. Given the legal name Richard Melville Hall. Given the nickname 'Moby' at birth due to having Herman Melville as an ancestor. Lived in a basement apartment in New York City with James Hall and Elizabeth Hall and 3 pet lab rats, a dog named Jamie, and a cat. In 1967, James Hall killed in a car crash.
In 1967,moved with Elizabeth Hall (mom) to Danbury, Connecticut to an apartment in a strange house by the Danbury prison.
In 1968, first fell in love with a song, 'Proud Mary' by CCR. Refused to leave car when aforementioned song was on crappy sounding AM radio in beat up old Plymouth.
Summer of 1969, moved to San Francisco for the Summer of Love. Vague memory of meeting John Wayne.
Autumn of 1969, moved to Darien, Connecticut to live in a big suburban house with grandparents, Myron Warner and Jeanette McBride Warner. Attended Royle Grammar School from 1970-1975. Strange fact: best friend in 1973 was Robert Downey Jr. Parents used to smoke pot together, haven't seen him since. In 1975, moved to a haunted house populated with hippies in Stratford, Connecticut.
In 1977, moved back to Darien, Connecticut. In 1978, began taking guitar lessons from a cute suburban girl who was in love with James Taylor.
In 1978, learned how to play first song on guitar, 'Crocodile Rock'. Disappointed that cute guitar teacher had no amorous interest in me? oops, in Moby. Sorry, trying to maintain objectivity.
In 1979, started first band. We knew 2 songs, 'Money' by Pink Floyd and 'Birthday' by the Beatles.
In 1980, started first new wave/punk rock band called 'The Banned', then 'Uxb', then 'DD", and finally settling on 'Vatican Commandoes'. We started out covering Clash and Sex Pistols songs and then writing our own punk rock ditties, such as 'Housewives on Valium' and 'Wonder Bread'. In 1982, started darker new wave band called AWOL..
In 1981, to break the timeline a little bit, went to first New York City nightclub. the Mudd Club, to see 'Fear'?it was awesome.
In 1983, released first record, 'Hit Squad for God' with Vatican Commandos. In 1983, I also got my first 4-track recorder. It was a brown, Tascam 4 track cassette recorder and I set it up in the basement of my mother's house. This is when I realized that I could finish songs by myself and that I didn't need to be so reliant upon other musicians.
In 1984, released second record, 'AWOL' by AWOL. Oops, graduated from Darien High School in 1983 and started Attending University of Connecticut, but that didn't last long. Dropped out of UConn in 1984. In 1984, started DJ'ing at the Beat in Port Chester, New York. Early DJ'ing experiences there consisted of playing records at 3 in the morning in the middle of the week to 4 or 5 passed out drunks. It got better, and I had some really wonderful moments there. Ah, memories...Continued to live in Darien, Connecticut until 1985. Moved to Greenwich, Connecticut in 1986. Lived next door to George Bush's mom. Very strange. Lived in the woods in a carriage house that a friend of mine was sort of squatting in. Moved to Stamford, Connecticut in 1988. Lived in a semi-abandoned factory with no running water in my space. It was illegal to live there, but I loved it. Had cockroaches the size of Chihuahuas. Could hear them running around. They were disgusting. But I loved living in that old, semi-abandoned factory. In 1987, I started taking demo tapes around NYC trying to get a record deal. 2 years of very fruitless labor, being rejected by every label that I spoke to. In 1989, I finally received some interest from a new label in NYC called Instinct Records.
And in 1989 I moved to New York to a very dark and dirty apartment on 14th Street and 3rd avenue that was next to a Mexican restaurant with deep-fried everything and a 24 hour sex shop/brothel. New York sure has changed...Released first single, 'Time's Up' as the Brotherhood. This record sold all of, I don't know, 8 copies? Began DJ'ing around New York at defunct clubs such as Mars, the Palladium, MK, Palace de Beaute, etc. First ever live electronic performance at MK in the summer of 1990.
1990. I wore a suit. I was very nervous. Second ever live electronic performance at the Palladium in Autumn of 1990. 5,000 people. It went surprisingly well even though I was a nervous wreck. Released 2nd single 'Mobility' in winter of 1990. It sold around 2,000 copies. I was thrilled. Really. For I expected it to fare as well as 'The Brotherhood' single, so selling anything over 100 copies was, for me, a great success. Released 3rd single 'Voodoo Child' in early Winter of 1991. It sold around 4,000 copies and I actually heard it played in a nightclub. Life was good. Released 4th single, 'Go' in spring of 1991. I was hoping that it would sell 4,000 copies. It has since gone on to sell around 1,000,000 copies and was even listed as one of Rolling Stone's best records of all time. Imagine my surprise. And that's when things started to get a little bit crazy. The Rave scene was exploding and I was putting out records that were actually selling well and I was traveling back and forth to Europe and performing for thousands of kids slathered in Vick's Vapo-Rub and out of their minds on ecstasy. Needless to say it was very exciting.
In 1992, I did my first-ever American tour with the Shamen. It was fun at times, but I was very unhappy being away from home for 6 weeks. In 1992, I also left Instinct and signed with Elektra records and Mute Records.
In 1993, I did my second ever American tour with the Prodigy and Richie Hawtin (and the plus 8 sound system). This was a lot more fun and I even had my first ever tour-related one-night stand! Which, of course, I felt very guilty about. In 1993, I released a single called 'Move' that became my 3rd UK Top 40 Single ('Go' went to #10, and some other singles, 'uhf' and 'Next is the E' Also went top 40. All very surprising for a little wiener like me from Connecticut).
In 1994, I did my third-ever American tour with Orbital and Aphex Twin. It was kind of a sad tour, cos' everyone hated me. Really. Which is too bad, cos' I liked them. Ah well. In 1995, I released my first real album, 'Everything is Wrong' which was named Spin's 'Album of the Year'. That year I also toured with Lollapalooza and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Spin also named the single 'Everytime You Touch Me' their favorite single of 1995. It was a very good year, and then it all went dark...
In 1996, I began suffering from acute panic attacks and I was working on "Animal Rights', which I loved but which no one else seemed to like very much. After the relative success of 'Everything is Wrong', the bad reviews and poor sales of 'Animal Rights' were kind of depressing, but I still love 'Animal Rights' and I'm thrilled the record companies let me release it. To compound the darkness of this period, my mother was diagnosed and ended up dying of lung cancer. In some ways, I see 'Animal Rights' as being my strange and pained reaction to her illness (even though it was written before she was diagnosed. I think on some level I knew that something was wrong. There's even a song on 'Animal Rights' called 'Love Song for My Mom' that was written and recorded right before she was diagnosed with cancer.)
In 1997, I stopped touring for a while and worked on some film music, including the 'James Bond Theme', which became my 8th(?) UK Top 40 single (it charted at #8, which made me feel good after "Animal Rights' tanked). And did you know that when I went to the UK to do press for `Animal Rights` they could only find 2 journalists who wanted to talk to me? Yup. That's why I refuse to complain when I find myself doing a lot of interviews. The alternative to doing a lot of interviews, doing none because no one is interested, is grim. So if you ever hear me complaining about the arduous life of a traveling musician just hit me (but gently, I'm little and I bruise easily...).
In 1997, I released 'I Like to Score', which was a collection of music that I'd made that had appeared in different films. It did ok compared to 'Animal Rights', which isn't saying much. And around this time was when I believe that most people had pretty much completely written me off, which, thankfully, I wasn't aware of at the time. So in 1997, I began working on my next record, which was released in.
May of 1999, and ended up being called 'Play''. When I made 'Play' we spent a few months looking for a new American record label (cos i had parted ways Elektra in 1998), but no one was particularly interested, but luckily V2 Records liked the music and were willing to take a chance on 'Play', and when we released 'Play' we had very high hopes. Our great ambition was for "Play' to sell 250,000 copies worldwide, so imagine our joy and surprise as it's since gone on to sell almost 10,000,000 copies and around 3,000,000 singles. 'Play' was a #1 record in a lot of countries, and it ended up becoming a platinum record in 25? 26? countries. I'm still kind of shocked at how well it did. What am I saying? I'm still completely shocked at how well it did. A little record made in the bedroom of a musician that most people had completely dismissed that goes on to sell almost 10 million copies? I'm sure you understand my surprise at its success. And because of the strange and long-developing success of 'Play' I ended up being on tour for over 2 years, which was great, for in the beginning of the tour we were playing tiny little venues and by the end of the tour we were playing arenas?that's crazy, isn't it? Our first show in New York City after the release of 'Play' was in the basement of a record store. Our last show in New York was for 15,000 people. Our first show in London after the release of 'Play' was for around 500 people. The last show was for 20,000 (over 2 nights). Crazy, but fun, and exceptionally gratifying given the surprising and unexpected nature of the success. Other kind of strange and surprising tid-bits of success were being nominated for Grammy's 3 years in a row, winning an MTV Europe and an MTV U.S.A award, winning a VH-1 award, and so on. Oh boy, all of this shameless bragging makes me feel kind of dirty...So the tour for 'Play' ended in February of 2001, and I came home to New York to begin work on my next record, which, as I write this, is finished and is entitled '"18". Not to be too arrogant, I love it. It worries me how much I love this record, cos normally when I make a record I have very mixed feelings about it, but there's something about this record that I really love. Ah well, maybe I'll listen to it tomorrow and think that I'm a complete failure and that no one will like it or buy it. Because I make my records by myself, I do tend to lose perspective and objectivity, but right now I love '18', and I genuinely hope that you like it, too. Thanks for reading and listening MOBY