EDM.com Spotlight

EDM.com Spotlight

Moby Talks Embracing Musical Freedom

"I just accepted a long time ago that if I was going to experiment with music I was going to confuse people." - Moby

American DJ/producer Moby is anything but a sell-out. He's experienced both extremes of electronic dance music from the underground world to the mainstream masses. Richard Melville Hall is widely accredited as one of the most significant and influential voices of the EDM movement, ironically due to the fact that he has never succumbed to the pressures cranking out "hit" songs. In a recent conversation with Dancing Astronaut, Moby shares his thoughts on the current EDM scene, weighing in on musical freedom and how it's impacted by technology and major record labels. 


“The laptop revolution did great things for the industry. With so many people making music on their laptops it just makes the chance that much greater that someone is going to make an amazing dance record.”

Although Moby is a distinguished leader in terms of releasing unique material, one thing is for certain that he would never put down another artist for their productions. Many veteran producers in the industry often claim that the lack of production skills and the misconception that DJ/producers simply push buttons can be pin-pointed to the use of technology. Making music 10-15 years ago was obviously much harder and a more strenuous process than it is today, but the art form is most definitely still there.

Moby's clear distaste for major record labels is due to the way they can stunt musical freedom from reaching its fullest potential: “Removing content is not the way to protect a label. The labels tried to do it with Napster, they tried to do it with Limewire. A lot of the smarter indies have learned that the way to stay in business is to work with good artists and make good records.” Obstructing access to music is never an effective method to get music out to potential fans.

“All genres have a similar trajectory; The music always comes from the underground, it gets embraced by the mainstream, it gets corrupted and watered down by the mainstream and then it goes back underground.”

Moby's entire DJ/producer career has endured in part because of his commitment to keeping it real and interesting. With over 31 years of experience in the industry, Moby has a particularly insightful perspective on the current music industry and how it encourages the concept of access and steps away from the notion of musical creativity.

Moby's 2005 album Hotel:Ambient was way ahead of its time as the album focuses on soft, ambient music instead of dominant vocals and repetitive rhythms: "I understood that releasing an album of very quiet, instrumental, ambient music — something with neither drums, nor vocals, nor songs — wasn’t going to be a big seller. It’s just music that I’ve always loved and I wanted it to be out in the world. I’d be surprised if it sells 100 copies.”

Hotel:Ambient is a prime example of how Moby has influenced early EDM and continues to impact it to this day. The instrumental-dominated album was re-released in 2014, proving that the tastes of the mainstream masses was and still is evolving into more interesting and daring sounds. Hotel:Ambient raises the question of whether music is still considered an art form rather than a way to make a living in the modern world. Moby has never been afraid to step out with something different; his eclectic sounds display his desire for change in the electronic music world as well as what he wants from the industry itself. As a longtime DJ/producer, Moby has watched electronic music ride two distinct waves as it has gone from underground to mainstream.

The musical landscape within electronic music has morphed into a completely different ballgame. Moby takes the position that increased access to music and technology to create it is - if anything - a good thing for music. 

You can read the full conversation with Moby via Dancing Astronaut here.

[H/T: Dancing Astronaut]

Cover Photo Source: unitemag.com

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