He turned 50 this year, and besides a lot of things he wrote his first novel.
“Porcelain” is pretty awesome , very cinematic, a very dense memoir that is fun to read and tells us where this never resting singer/songwriter/animal activist comes from. Where and how he grew up.
Moby is smart and friendly and easy to talk to - just in case anybody wondered.
I meet him in his very cool vegan restaurant “Little Pine” in Los Feliz.
Moby: The book is a memoir called “Porcelain”. It starts in 1989 and ends 1999.
In 1989 I was squatting in an abandoned factory in a crack neighborhood making maybe $6000 a year.
FC : I can already see the movie.
Moby: We ll see, I just enjoyed writing it. I had written for “Rolling Stone”, “The Economist” etc. I had never written a real book before, so I didn’t know how long it had to be. I had to get rid of almost 200,000 words. The initial writing was 6 months. And a year of editing.
FC: That is crazy fast.
The waitress brings pretty Avocado toast and lovely tea.
FC: Did you sleep well last night?
Moby: No, I never sleep good. Even as a little baby. If I m lucky I ll get 6 hours. I also wake up a lot. I go to bed around 1 am, wake up at 6,7 am.
FC: What is rejuvenating? How do you charge your battery?
Moby: Sitting in traffic decreases my Chi. Playing with dogs, listening to my favorite music or being in nature increases my energy. If I am tired or feel like I might get sick I listen to my favorite music and all of a sudden I feel fine.
FC: What does silence do, is it a good thing?
Moby: Maybe because I spend my entire life listening, working on music for 40 years, its hard for me not to be affected by silence.
So if I m in a loud restaurant, bar or street, it gives me anxiety.
And being in a room in a calm, quiet yoga studio or being in the middle of the woods where it is quiet and calm feels so good.
FC: Whats your ratio for you listening versus talking?
Moby: I live alone and I work alone, so sometimes an entire day will pass where I don’t speak to another person. Its nice, but then it is weird when you do encounter people and you actually have to speak, it feels so unfamiliar.
Maybe I didn’t talk to someone in lets say 18 hours and then I speak and I hear the sound of my own voice and it sounds so awkward.
FC: Do you have reoccurring dreams?
Moby: I have been having this dream since I am 20 years old and it is terrifying, but every time I have it I get so excited.
The dream is that there is some entity or being ,who lives in a parallel dimension to ours. It can come into our dimension , and it is evil.
And in the dream I am the only person who is aware of it. And I can go into the other dimension. The hope in the dream is that the creature doesn’t know I m there.
And I have a lot of reoccurring dreams of dramatic destructive tornadoes in cities. In reality I have never seen a tornado.
FC: Define “home”.
Moby: The word to me is a “cultivated refuge”.
When I was a lot younger I had no interest in refuge or safety. I just wanted things to be interesting and exciting. I lived in abandoned factory, people shooting guns outside, no running water but I truly didn’t care.
As I ve gotten older I ve come to see that as a human, as a living organism, we need rest.
FC: What makes you nervous?
Moby: People. People make me nervous.
To some extend every person I encounter makes me nervous.
The other day I went hiking, and there was a 7 foot snake in our path. For some reason snakes don’t make me afraid so I started moving towards it and talking to it. My friend was terrified.
As for snakes I understand what they do, but people are way more complicated.
FC: What has surprised you recently?
Moby: What has surprised me is American culture. Like, if 10 years ago you had written a premise for a TV show where the most beloved comedian in America turns out be a serial rapist, the most beloved Olympic athlete becomes a transgendered woman, our president is an African American who grew up in Hawai , and the republican candidate running for president is the head of Miss USA beaiuty pageant, and gay marriage and marijuana is legal….that s crazy.
The bad surprises are guns still being legal, we are still exploiting the environment, people haven’t realized that climate change is real….Its the 21st Century and we are still having these conversations. That’s what surprises me.
FC: What do you “need” to trust a stranger?
Moby: The only thing I can think of is that feeling of shared experience and shared humanity.
When you just get the sense that the other person has had similar thoughts about being alive, and when you get the sense that the other person isn’t misrepresenting things.
The world in which live…there are a lot of people that are misrepresenting themselves. Personally and professionally.
And when I sense that , that’s when I pull back.
We all know this situation where you just want to say to someone:” Its okay. Just calm down. Be yourself.”
FC: What is the most magical place to you?
Moby: It depends…There are places of profound beauty and they are magical.
But our patio here (-at “Little pine” ) is dog friendly , and I go out there on a Saturday and the dogs are playing-that is the most magical to me.
Los Angeles National Forest is a big magical place, to me, physically.
To have a city with 12 million people and to have a National Forest the size of NYC in that enviroment is pretty magical.
Of all the places in the world I ve seen, travelling, touring for 25 years ,the most magical place I have seen is the western coast of the north island of New Zealand.
FC: What makes you excited?
Moby: Anywhere from a great date, to playing with dogs, sledding, listening to Led Zeppelin,…I am excited to see that the world is bending towards the right direction. Peoples attitude is changing.
Thank you for the conversation.
Check out Mobys LA restaurant:
And read his book:
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