Moby once released a whole album of music inspired by and created for films, but that was nearly 10 years ago, and in the movie business that means it's time for a sequel or a remake.
As it happens, the DJ/musician has two new projects he's working on — the music for "Southland Tales" and the big-screen adaptation of "Miami Vice." Moby's collaborated with "Miami Vice" director Michael Mann before, contributing music to the soundtracks of "Heat" and "Ali," so it wasn't too difficult to figure out which tack to take with "Vice," which stars Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx.
"It's very dark and it's got a lot of pathos to it," Moby said of the movie, "so the music is dark and laden with pathos."
But "Southland Tales" — helmed by "Donnie Darko" director Richard Kelly and featuring stars such as Seann William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar and the Rock — was a little trickier. After all, it's been described as a comedy, a drama, science fiction and a musical.
"It's very strange," Moby admitted, "from the casting to the narrative to the way it's told. It's very conventional but deeply unconventional. It's essentially about the end of the world but told in a 'Dr. Strangelove' meets 'Repo Man' kind of way. I love it. It'll be interesting to see how people respond to it."
Since the apocalyptic "Southland Tales" is a "very confrontational movie," Moby wanted the music to work to counteract that. He described the score as being "very melodic and atmospheric, very delicate," which he says is surprising and subversive, "because the movie is not delicate. It creates a very interesting counterpoint. Of all the things I've worked on, 'Southland Tales' is one of the ones I'm most proud of," Moby said.
That is, of course, outside of the career-spanning collection he's putting out this fall. The greatest thing about a greatest-hits album, Moby said, is that "you don't have to do a lot of work. The songs are already written and recorded." Same with the live DVD he's putting out April 18, "Moby Live - The Hotel Tour 2005." Recorded in Belgium and directed by George Scott, the disc will also include two unreleased short films. "You can't even call them movies," he said. "When I go on tour, I bring a little video camera with me, and I do these dumb little films. They're more like random assemblages."
While Moby has plenty on his plate as far as film work goes, one thing he doesn't have on his schedule (yet) is producing the next Courtney Love record, although she has told some reporters that he is. Moby's previously remixed or produced Metallica, Britney Spears, Aerosmith, the Beastie Boys and Ozzy Osbourne, so he's certainly up for the challenge, but Love?
"I'm not sure we're working together," Moby said. "The truth is, I actually don't know. I mean, I've known Courtney for a long time, and I find her to be remarkably talented and just a fascinating person, so we might work on something together, but I don't know. It's just been some friendly conversations at this point."
Whether he ends up producing her follow-up to America's Sweetheart, Moby predicts that Love's new songs will "surprise" people, calling her demos "really powerful."
"It's actually really well-written songs that are very earnest, very passionate," he said. "So I'm sure she'll make a wonderful record. It's got a humble strength to it."
Moby also advises Love to keep that same humility when she turns her attention to licensing her late husband's catalog (see "Courtney Love Sells Substantial Share Of Nirvana Publishing Rights"), based on his experience licensing so much of his own music (most famously, every track from Play).
"The majority of licensing I do is to small student films and independent films, but those aren't the ones people necessarily remember," he said. "At this point, because the music business is essentially falling apart, if you're a musician and you make a record and you want people to hear it, you have to explore a lot of avenues. But you sort of have to let your conscience be your guide."