HAIRCUT 100: Day 65, No. 65. Moby (Richard Melville Hall): singer, songwriter, musician, DJ, photographer, author, vegan and animal rights activist; great-great-great-grand-nephew of Herman Melville, hence the nickname. An evolving and complex musician, killer Moby projects and collaborations are too wide-reaching to enumerate, rather like the causes he supports. (Move was certainly a major part of my student playlist, and who didn’t own Play? What a remarkable album.) Moby started out in the punk band Vatican Commandoes in the late-80s. His first single as Moby was ‘Mobility’ (released on Instinct Records in 1990). This didn’t chart, but his remix of the b-side, ‘Go’ – a progressive house track using ‘Laura Palmer’s Theme’ from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks – charted in the UK Top Ten in 1991. In the year that followed, Moby remixed The B-52s, The Prodigy, Orbital, The Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, and Michael Jackson. He had arrived, and the rest, as they say, is history; Moby becoming a hugely influential figure in dance music in the early-90s, his music and mixes doing much to bring the indie genre into the mainstream.
Moby is also notable for his contribution to film scores, for example Michael Mann’s Heat and the Jason Bourne franchise, with a memorable mix of John Barry’s classic James Bond Theme for Tomorrow Never Dies. MobyGratis.com, started in 2007, grants free licenses to independent and non-profit filmmakers and film students to use Moby music in their film – if a film is commercially successful, all revenue from commercial license fees granted is passed on to the Humane Society. Moby’s autobiography, Porcelain: A Memoir, was published this year. ‘I have no patience for anyone who thinks they’ve figured things out, no patience for people who think they’re right at the expense of everyone else. The world is too connected and too complicated to conform to any of our rigid ideas of what it should be like.’