You’d be forgiven for thinking that an autobiography by dance music patriarch Moby might be a bit of a dull affair.
The facts we all know about Moby – committed vegan, animal-rights activist, former straight-edge punk rocker, Christian, non-drinker – don’t lend themselves to images of sex, drugs and techno-fuelled debauchery. inthemix writer Jim Poe toured around America with Moby in 1993, and described the man at the time as projecting an “aura of calm, reasonable, Christian libertinism”.
But apparently we’ve underestimated how debauched Moby’s life has been: his autobiography Porcelain comes out on 2 June and, as the Guardian puts it, it’s a story “packed with incident. Lots of dodgy sex, oceans of alcohol, antics a-gogo. Plus: cockroaches, raves, death, celebrities (from Madonna to Robert Downey Jr, but not in starry situations) and good old Top Of The Pops.”
The book, the Guardian reveals, is the tale of Moby’s struggle to rise up through the underground rave scene in the decade between when he first moved to New York in 1989 up to the release of 1999’s Play, the mega-hit album that fused early Black American folk music with a dance aesthetic and made him a household name.
It’s a tale of his musical progression, but also of his many personal changes, from a “vegan, sober, nonsexual God-botherer” into the kind of drinker who’s quiet night out, as Moby puts it, would wind up “at 8am, with strangers in my house, bags of drugs, I’d had about 15 drinks, having sex with a complete stranger,” and then back again to a health-conscious non-drinker.
And it’s also a tale of pre-gentrification New York, and being a struggling artist living in grimy, cockroach-ridden warehouses, struggling to make money as a DJ and producer while taking on side-gigs like DJing orgies and being the assistant to a dominatrix. “It’s quasi-Dickensian,” Moby told the Guardian. “Naive boy from the country moves to the big city and things go wrong.”
Read the full Guardian interview with Moby over here, and stay tuned for an inthemix review of Porcelain to come soon. You can read more about Moby’s early career in Jim Poe’s tale of his 1993 American tour with Orbital and Aphex Twin over here.