DJ? Artist? Producer? Author? Restaurant Mogul? There isn't a single title that can be used to encompass the multitalented genius known as Moby. Taking a break between a promotional tour and a concert tour, Moby took a few minutes to talk to us about his new album "Hotel," the joys of Teany and political activism.
DJ Ron Slomowicz: So you're in New York right now?
Moby: I've been doing this four-month long promotional tour. The promotional tour ends today and then tomorrow the concert tour starts.
RS: So you don't get to enjoy your house and your restaurant too much, do you?
Moby: I live right near the restaurant Teany, so I go there pretty much every day. I have this nice house upstate and in the true bourgeois fashion, I haven't been there in months.
RS: Where did the idea for Teany come from?
Moby: When I was twenty-one years old I went to France, and I was a really pretentious American. I was the cliché with a striped sweater and my beret. One of my favorite things to do was to go hang out in this tea shop called La Bouillante and in the back of my mind had this little dream about opening a vegetarian tea shop. My friend Kelly was working at Human Rights Watch, and before that she had worked in the Clinton White house and she wanted to do something different, so we opened Teany. It's done surprisingly well considering neither one of us has a clue what we're doing.
RS: That's always the best way. Since you eat there every day, what's your favorite item that you eat there?
Moby: My favorite thing on the menu is the Pambagnia sandwich. It's ciabata bread with olive garlic tapinade, roast red peppers, fresh basil, infused oils, fresh tomatoes and chopped red onions. It's really fantastic.
RS: Awesome. Let's talk about Hotel a little bit. What was your inspiration for the album?
Moby: My basic inspiration is trying to make music that I love in the simple hope that other people might love it as well. In the last couple of years I've had a few relationships that didn't work out though they were very loving relationships infused with a lot of attraction and respect, but they didn't work out. So I think that's the recurring theme to the album, relationships where even though you might love the other person, you know in your heart of hearts it's not going to work out.
RS: And that's like the concept of a hotel?
Moby: When you're in a relationship and you know it's not going to work out and you're not going to stay and, a hotel is kind of like that. A hotel is a place where you're there temporarily, just that notion of inhabiting a relationship temporarily. Our lives are very brief and we're here on this earth for a temporary period of time, and so I guess that kind of influenced the direction as well.
RS: How do you write your songs?
Moby: Well a lot of the songs on this record were written in an old classic manner, just sitting in my living room playing acoustic guitar. In the past I've written a lot with synthesizers and drum machines. Some songs on this record that are much more electronic, but most of the songs on the record were just written with acoustic guitar.
RS: I've heard a lot of people mention that this album, has no samples on it. Was this a conscious decision when you started working on the album?
Moby: When I was working on the record I ended up writing around three hundred songs, and some of those songs did have samples on them, but the reason I chose these fourteen that ended up on the record was just that these fourteen were my favorite of the songs I'd written. So it wasn't specifically a concerted effort to move away from using samples, it was more just the desire to include these fourteen songs on the record.
RS: So what will happen to the other two hundred and eighty-six songs?
Moby: Well some might come out as the B sides and some might get released under different names. Maybe I'll make pseudonymous projects. Maybe I'll give some to other artists. Some might just get thrown away, I have no idea. I've got, altogether, around four to five thousand unreleased songs.
RS: So basically if you pull a Tupac and fake your death, they'll be albums coming for years.
Moby: Yes, you could put out an album every day for the next ten years.