American electronic musician, DJ, record producer, singer, songwriter, and photographer Moby (Richard Melville Hall) was born September 11, 1965 in Harlem, New York. He was raised by his mother in Darien, Connecticut. His middle name and the nickname “Moby” were given to him by his parents because of an ancestral relationship to Moby Dick author Herman Melville: who is his great-great-great-grand uncle. During the 1980s, Hall played guitar for the hardcore punk band Vatican Commandos. Later in the decade, he was a guitarist for the alternative rock group Ultra Vivid Scene and appeared in the video for their 1989 single “Mercy Seat.”
Moby’s first live solo performance was witnessed by manager Eric Härle, who described it by saying: The music was amazing, but the show was riddled with technical mishaps. It left me very intrigued and impressed in a strange way. Moby released his first singles for Instinct under several different names, such as Barracuda, Brainstorm, and UHF. This was a rap record with vocalist Jimmy Mack, titled Time’s Up, featuring several remixes and stems for remixing. His first single under the pseudonym ‘Moby’ “Mobility” was released in 1991. However it was The remix of Mobility’s b-side, Go (Woodtick Mix), a progressive house track using the string line from “Laura Palmer’s Theme” from the TV drama Twin Peaks, which became a hit And earned him his first appearance on Top of the Pops. He released his eponymous debut in 1992. Some of his other singles in 1992 and 1993 were “Next Is the E”, “Thousand” (with its 1,000 Beats Per Minute tempo), and “Voodoo Child. Between 1991 and 1992 he also remixed The B-52s, The Prodigy, Orbital, Bob Taggett – Mind Metal, Erasure, Michael Jackson and Ten City. He also provided a rap for a Recoil track called Curse.
In 1993, Moby signed with Mute Records (Elektra in North America) and released an EP titled Move. This became his second appearance on Top of the Pops. In 1995 he released the album Everything Is Wrong. Early copies in the UK and Germany came with a special bonus CD called Underwater. This was a 43-minute five-track instrumental ambient CD and Spin magazine named it “Album of the Year” He followed this up in early 1996 with the double album Everything Is Wrong—Mixed and Remixed. In 1996 Moby released a punk rock album, Animal Rights, which included a cover version of Mission of Burma’s “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver” and toured Europe with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Soundgarden. Moby then released The single “Come on Baby” from Animal Rights. Ironically, just as Moby decided to change direction, the electronic music he had moved away from started to gain recognition and popularity through artists like The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy. Moby contributed the song “Republican Party” to the AIDS benefit album Offbeat: A Red Hot Soundtrip produced by the Red Hot Organization.
In 1997, he released I Like to Score, a collection of his music that had been used in movies. Among those tracks were an updated version of “The James Bond Theme” used for the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, and “New Dawn Fades” (a cover of Joy Division’s original), which had appeared without vocals in Michael Mann’s film Heat. Moby made a special guest appearance in a 1998 episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast where Space Ghost is possessed by the Curse of Kintavé. In 1999, Moby released the album Play, influenced by the Lomax albums that an early friend, Gregor, had lent him. Play mixes songs from Alan Lomax’s 1993 Atlantic recording Sounds of the South: A Musical Journey From the Georgia Sea Islands to the Mississippi Delta. For the song “Natural Blues”, Moby mixes “Trouble So Hard” performed by Vera Hall from the Alan Lomax Sounds of the South compilation.
In 2000, Moby contributed his song “Flower” to the intro of the Nicolas Cage remake of Gone in 60 Seconds. In July 2001, Moby: PlaytheDVD was released and was nominated for a 2002 Grammy award. The DVD included various sections: “Live on TV”, most of the music videos from the album (excluding “South Side” with Gwen Stefani), “Give An Idiot a Camcorder” (where Moby was given a camcorder ) plus an 88-minute “Mega Mix” of all the remixes created for the album. The “Mega Mix”. n 2002 Moby released the follow-up to Play, 18, which earned gold and platinum awards and Moby also toured. In 2001 He founded the Area:One Festival featuring an eclectic range of musical genres. The Area:One tour featured Outkast, New Order, Incubus, Nelly Furtado, Paul Oakenfold, and Moby himself. Area2 tour (2002) featured David Bowie, Moby, Blue Man Group, Busta Rhymes, and Carl Cox. Moby also co-wrote “Is It Any Wonder” with Sophie Ellis-Bextor, remixed the Beastie Boys, David Bowie, Nas and Metallica, produced and co-wrote the track “Early Mornin'” for Britney Spears’ fourth studio album In the Zone, and collaborated with Public Enemy on “Make Love, Fuck War”. Moby’s song “Extreme Ways” was also used in the Bourne movies. In 2003, Moby headlined the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury.
In 2005, Moby released the album Hotel featuring vocalist Laura Dawn and containing the songs, “Lift Me Up” and “Slipping Away”. In 2006, he wrote the soundtrack for Richard Kelly’s 2007 movie Southland Tales, because he was a fan of Kelly’s previous film, Donnie Darko. In 2007, Moby also started a rock band, The Little Death with his friends Laura Dawn, Daron Murphy, and Aaron A. Brooks. They released an album in 2010. In 2008, Moby released Last Night, an eclectic album of electronic dance music inspired by a night out in his New York neighborhood (the Lower East Side). This features a number of guest vocalists, including Wendy Starland, MC Grandmaster Caz (one of the writers of “Rapper’s Delight”), Sylvia from the band Kudu, British MC Aynzli, and the Nigerian 419 Squad. Songs on the album include “Alice”, “Disco Lies”, “I Love to Move in Here”, and “Ooh Yeah”.
In 2007 Moby produced and performed on a remake of “The Bulrushes” by The Bongos. Later In 2009 Moby released an album, titled Wait for Me featuring the song “Shot in the Back of the Head”, which had a video directed by David Lynch. Moby also toured with a full band. From 2007 to 2008 he ran a series of New York club events titled “Degenerates. Moby also raised between $75,000 and $100,000 to help those affected by domestic violence by donating the profits from his shows in California (San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles). In 2010, Moby launched a UGC competition with Genero.TV asking his fans to create a videoclip, for his single “Wait for Me”. The chosen videoclip, written and directed by Nimrod Shapira from Israel, features a girl who summons Moby into her life by using a book called How to Summon Moby Guide for Dummies, putting herself through 10 bizarre and comical steps (each is a tribute to a different Moby videoclip).
In 2011, Moby released his new album, Destroyed featuring a more acoustic and less electronic sound. He also started a heavy metal band named Diamondsnake, with his friend Phil Costello, and they released two albums on Facebook featuring atmospheric and melodic electronic music, plus a photography book with the same name. The album cover, for Destroyed, was taken in LaGuardia Airport & features a sign that reads ‘destroyed’, part of the longer phrase “All unclaimed baggage will be destroyed.” The album consists of 15 tracks including. The songs, “Rockets”,”After”, “The Right Thing” and Lie Down in Darkness”. An EP Be the One, was also released containing 3 of the tracks from Destroyed. In 2012, Moby released Destroyed Remixed, a limited edition 2CD collection of remixes plus three new exclusive remixes by David Lynch, Holy Ghost!, and System Divine and a brand new 30 minute ambient track by Moby called ‘All Sides Gone’. In 2013, Moby performed both acoustic and DJ sets at the Wanderlust Festival, in Hawaii, Vermont, California, Colorado, Canada and Chile. Moby also performed at the 1 World Music Festival in Singapore, Coachella, and the Movement Detroit festival. For Record Store Day 2013 Moby released a 7-inch record called The Lonely Night featuring former Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan, with remixes by Photek, Gregor Tresher, Freescha and Moby himself he also released the album “Innocents” Featuring the songs The Perfect Life, A Case for Shame and The Lonely Night. Moby performed a DJ set in Las Vegas, DJ’d an intimate show in Sydney, Australia DJ’d at the 10th annual Decibel Festival in Seattle And performed three shows at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles.
In 2016 Moby released the album These Systems Are Failing. under the name Moby & The Void Pacific Choir featuring the songs “Are You Lost In The World Like Me?” “Don’t Leave Me” The video for which addressed smartphone addiction and won the film & video: animation category at the 2017 Webby Awards. A vegan festival in Los Angeles created by Moby named The Circle V festival featured his only live performance of 2016. In 2017, Moby released a free follow up record called “More Fast Songs About the Apocalypse” online.
Moby also appeared as a guest performer on A$AP Rocky’s “A$AP Forever” which samples his song “Porcelain”. In 2018 Moby released the trip-hop inspired album Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt featuring the songs “Like A Motherless Child”,”Mere Anarchy”, and “This Wild Darkness”,
Moby has also done a number of Film scores; he contributed two songs to the score of Michael Mann’s film Heat: a cover version of the Joy Division song “New Dawn Fades,” and the original composition “God Moving Over the Face of the Waters.”He also wroth the song “Extreme Ways” for The Bourne Identity and In 1997, Moby released an album of music that has appeared in films called I Like To Score. The compilation album features Moby songs that have appeared in films such as Cool World (1992), Scream (1996), Tomorrow Never Dies. He also contributed four songs to the soundtrack of the 2010 film The Next Three Days, including the single “Mistake”.
So far Moby has sold over 20 million records worldwide, and AllMusic considers him to be “one of the most important dance music figures of the early 1990s, helping bring the music to a mainstream audience both in the UK and in America.