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16 October 2009

Moby on Moby: “I sometimes ramble a little bit.”

Eminem released a new album this past May called Relapse. It sold over 600,000 copies in its first week of release. A month later Moby released his new album Wait for Me and, well, let’s just put it this way, it did not sell 600,000 copies.

Peoples love them some Eminem! Generally speaking, though, when he hates on people — his mom, his ex-wife Kim, Christina Aguilera — he doesn’t make a very sympathetic case. Entertaining? For sure. Somewhat terrifying? Definitely. Sympathetic? Hells no. His feud with Moby was a major exception. 9 out of 10 people seem to agree: Moby is annoying. Its harder to turn off that feeling than it is to ignore Eminem’s ranting. Weirdly most of this annoyance arose from Moby’s pop culture ubiquity around the time of his multi-platinum Play record.

People made him popular and then hated him for the condition they had caused.

This recent interview with the electronic musician made me reconsider my position on him. It’s a bit of a ramble — much more so than even my blog posts — so I’ve excerpted and edited the result, adding some paragraph breaks and such for increased readability.

The Q&A finds Moby struggling with one of the issues I glanced upon in yesterday’s post on Sufjan Stevens’ new music: What does an artist do once he gains a certain level popularity? Are they supposed to play to it, or ignore it? Are there certain musicians who don’t conceive of their creative endeavors leading to popularity? Finally, is it even possible to ignore the affections of rapturous fans, or the financial imperatives that seize upon the successful? Or does the application of fame and money inherently warp the creative process?

The lynchpin notion of this excerpt is “creativity outside of market concerns” — a notion that came to Moby via a David Lynch speech. Lynch later ended up directing a video for the title track of Moby’s new record, the video which opens this post.

The questions are in bold. Moby’s answers are not. He rambles a bit, just as his career after Play has rambled. My argument in the case of both Moby & Sufjan would be that the freedom to ramble is very much their prerogative, and that their ability to maintain a career financially while doing so is the real reward that success has brought them.

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Posted by Alec Hanley Bemis  

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