Moby Plans To Continue Pushing Musical Limits

Eclectic artist says he needs to try on new styles to grow as a musician.

NEW YORK -- Considering Moby's complex musical personality and

the range of sounds he can come up with, it's something of a surprise to walk

into his uncluttered Lower East Side home.

The 32-year-old musician lives in a space resembling an art gallery, minus the

art. White walls, high windows, a simple bookshelf, a bed perched on a loft: a

minimal existence for such a highly complex artist.

"I'm a bachelor," said Moby, sitting at a yellow Formica table. Unshaven,

dressed in a gray hooded-sweatshirt and barefoot, this master manipulator of

sound and style appeared nonplused at having strangers invade his apartment.

"My work life and my personal life -- there isn't really a distinction between the

two," he said, pointing to a wall behind which lies his recording studio. "I wake

up and maybe start working, or maybe sit down and play guitar or listen to

someone's music, or my own, and the day goes on like that, it's very seamless

that way."

Seamless but busy. Rivaling rap producer/artist Puff Daddy as the most prolific

musician of 1997, Moby released three albums last year: Animal Rights;

side project Voodoo Child's The End Of Everything, a melodic, electronic

album that contains alternate and extended versions of "Dog Heaven" and

"Reject;" and I Like To Score, a compilation of movie-soundtrack

contributions from such films as "Scream" -- the song

HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Moby/First_Cool_Hive.ram">"First Cool

Hive" (RealAudio excerpt) -- and "The Saint."

And while the I Like To Score album has gotten perhaps the most critical

attention, Moby said he is most fond of the Voodoo Child record. "It is far and

away one of the nicest albums I've made," he said. "In the last year I've done so

many outside projects, so many remixes, film stuff, that now I want to just make

my own next record. I have a moratorium on doing outside work."

Having covered just about every music genre from techno to punk to

cheesy '70s songs, Moby did not want to talk about the specifics of his next

album, except to say that trying on different music styles is essential to his

growth as a musician. "Depending on the song, it's almost like method acting,"

he said. "To the extent where if I'm working on a quiet piece of music, it brings

out the more reflective side of me, and if I'm working on a nasty punk

song, it brings out the more visceral side of me."

Of his different musical personalities and how they relate to the way he writes

music, Moby added, "I give them free rein. I indulge them to the point where they

become extreme musically. And also, just the way I live. I think that that

confuses a lot of people -- like how is it possible to be, on one hand, a

thoughtful, vegan, animal-rights activist, reflective essayist and, on the other

hand, like pornography and occasionally find myself at seven in the morning

drunk out of my mind?

"It's nice to be able to express yourself in so many ways," he said.

That doesn't mean he doesn't have a more conservative side.

With Prodigy's video for "Smack My Bitch Up" pulled off MTV recently due to its

controversial lyrics, Moby said that he is no fan of the censorship or of the lyrics

to "Smack My Bitch Up." "I love the Prodigy but the song glorifies misogyny," he

said. "I almost think it is indefensible."

While Moby bowed to pressure from the music-video channel when he allowed

them to change the lyrics for his 1997 video "When I Reach For My Revolver,"

the artist contended it was better to err on the side of caution. "I thought the new

lyrics to it were OK," Moby said. "Also, I kind-of felt like I can understand the

difference between fiction and reality, and singing something about when 'I

Reach For My Revolver,' it's an ambiguous expression about angst and rage

but not specifically about shooting someone.

"If I turned on the news and heard that some kid had gone to school and shot

his classmates while singing 'When I Reach For My Revolver,' I'd feel sick," he

said. [Sat., Jan. 17, 1998, 9 a.m. PST]