Möbius band

Forget everything you think you know about Los Angeles: Moby's enthusiasm for his new hometown is infectious. "So much amazing art and literature and music came out of New York in the 20th century," says the native New Yorker. "But I feel now New York has become a victim of its own success. Certainly a lot of schlocky stuff comes out of L.A., but the whole east side of L.A. is like one big college town. Amazing college radio and tons of great record stores and bookstores."

The multi-instrumentalist/producer/DJ/photographer has been based in east L.A. for 10 months now, and it's a big change. But in a good way. One major shift: Moby now listens to music in his car. "It's such a difference to take music out into the world and see how it feels and sounds, late at night when it's really desolate," he says.

Moby was already drawing inspiration from late night and desolate places. Those are two of the major themes of this year's Destroyed, recorded in hotel rooms during his world travels and resulting jet lag-induced insomnia. "It’s a fuzzier, woozier strain of the ‘elegant melancholy’ which has characterized much of Moby’s best-loved music; a rare quality in a musician still affiliated, however nominally, with the extrovert escapism of dance music," reads the album's bio notes.

Though the tracks on Destroyed are more introverted than, say, "Lift Me Up" or "Bodyrock," the album's creator seems as excited about insomnia as inspiration as any other instrument. "The main reason I became a musician is because of how it affects me creatively," he says. "I'm really solely interested in how music, regardless of genre, can create a profound emotional effect in a listener." And in making music, he adds, you can use anything as an instrument.

So what does Moby use? A lot of Moog gear. In fact, "I basically use every single thing that they make," he says. Favorites include the Murf and the Voyager and Little Phatty synthesizers. According to Moby, Bob Moog "enabled the growth of electronic music."

Moby's role in that field is nearing the 30-year mark, and he shows no sign of slowing. Destroyed is his ninth studio album, but he tells Xpress that he has about 6,000 unreleased songs. "I'm really prolific," he says. His fans reap the benefits, and will continue to. Electronic music, unlike image-driven pop and rock, seems to allow its technicians and journeymen evolve (read: age) with the medium.

"I think it's almost safe to say that no one has bought an electronic album because the artist is young and sexy," says Moby. It's the good looking 20-year-olds who start bands with tons of sex appeal, but they start bands with short shelf lives. The not-so-attractive people buy synthesizers and go on to have careers for 30 and 40 years. "It's sort of just desserts for me and my fellow nerdy electronic musicians," says Moby.

For full Moogfest coverage, click here.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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