Moby gets vulnerable in his film MOBY DOC with a little help from his friends David Lynch and Gary Baseman.
Musician, activist, author and filmmaker; Moby gets vulnerable in his film MOBY DOC with a little help from his friends like David Lynch and Gary Baseman. He rose from poverty to selling over 20 million copies of his 1997 iconic album PLAY, he shares this truth and the highs and lows from befriending and collaborating with his childhood idol David Bowie, to being so intoxicated that he slept through his mother’s funeral. Moby kicked off NeueHouse Hollywood’s “Sunset Sounds” Series on their outdoor terrace overlooking Sunset Blvd just as California started to allow gatherings again. Before screening his film, he performed an acoustic set of songs by other beloved artists and a few from his new record Reprise which re-imagines music from his 30-year career with the Budapest Art Orchestra. Reprise was imagined when Moby was invited to take part in his first-ever classical collaboration – a live concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall with his friend Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
The iconic artist, who’s album “PLAY” is beloved by millions and made him a household name, shared his thoughts with us on his creative documentary about his childhood, rise to fame, struggles and preference of animals over people – entirely understandable given how cruel much of the media was after supporting his rise to fame then seemingly enjoying when his future records did not reach the same popularity.
Before it was common to make an album from your bedroom or share music online to gain a record deal like Billie Eilish, Moby built his career doing exactly that – while squatting in a warehouse and playing his own music while DJ’ing. He planned for his fifth record PLAY to be his last and thought it would be a total failure because “it was weird, badly-mixed, badly-produced and made in my bedroom involving vocals from people who’d been dead for forty or fifty years.” This was a time before DJ’s held residencies in Vegas or made Grammy nominated songs of their own. But he could not have been more wrong about PLAY, Rolling Stone continues to list it as one of the best top 500 records ever and no matter your age you know at least one of his hit songs. Another change of plans, he also continued to make music, along with a lot of other art daily till even today with his latest record REPRISE and this documentary film.
Directed and edited by Rob Bralver, and on digital platforms now, it’s a deep honest dive into his art, childhood, fame, struggles with drugs and alcohol, to sobriety, veganism and unexpected friendships with his idols through unique re-enactments, interviews, rare archival footage and a understanding into why he prefers animals to humans. Lynch speaks to rubber clown suits of negativity dissolving and pure gold coming within, yes, its weird, like we’d hoped it would be, Moby even chats with the Grim Reaper about life. From psychic damage to the toxicity of fame, addiction and fear, he cycles us through his hustle to his fame and the reinvention of self into sober life and activism.
Moby shared his baffling compulsion to make things, largely a result of 12 years of sobriety hearing people’s honest stories in his AA and ANON meetings. He made a serious effort to make it interesting and actually be truthful and vulnerable, he somehow had no anxiety about the film, sharing there is not a huge downside to being honest. No stranger to incredibly insulting critics, he’s learned to ignore what people say and do. Hunter Biden is a personal friend who he bonded with about this very matter, realizing that self-preservation is imperative to being healthy, especially when you are in the public sphere so don’t let strangers affect your sense of self, don’t compromise your integrity and recognize that social media can create a false sense of self where everyone is both a critic and media outlet. Learning how to ignore the things you can ignore, like not reading comments on social media posts, he reminds himself what exists on screen is not real, it’s not three-dimensional life, real life is.
Broadly speaking when faced with anxiety, adrenal/cortisol he suggests Physical and Neurological help; first go outside, move your body, burn off chemicals and practice mindfulness, especially gratitude and historical perspective. Like in his case he will remember a time like being 7 years old and having a panic attack, or other times he has panicked before will pass, as it always does, at some point it will be historical. Mindfulness – actual mindfulness is asking what is actually really right now, focusing on basic needs being met along with breathing exercises – just simply slowing down doing long slow breaths will change your feedback loop.
In the film he did so many interviews with friends yet 99% got cut, he and the director decided to tell his story differently using puppetry, animations, manipulated film, and his very own self-titled “Childhood Trauma Re-Enactment Players” who are friends lending acting out real-life scenes that caused him to feel neglected, ashamed, fearful and a preference of animals over humans. Speaking of human relationships, given how much pain he has felt by other humans, I was curious how he handles friendships, especially being as famous as he is. His explanation was about curating friendships and ideally those relationships improve the quality of your life, freedom to choose to be helpful choosing people who bring positivity into life. He regularly spends time with friends playing music in his backyard and collaborating on a variety of projects, including his own.
Most of his greatest inspirations have passed; Lou Reed, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen but thankfully David Lynch is still a constant source of inspiration, he describes him as such a delightful being, working 7 days a week with a constant childlike approach to all he does and of course a devote mediator. Lynch, along with the ever-talented artist Gary Baseman are two of the only interviews he kept in the film.
SO what is Moby’s own Wonderland? “Non-human environments. Being in human-less spaces because of the perspective he gets be it a forest, mountain or desert; all indifferent to humans.”