tv Talk to Al Jazeera Al Jazeera April 9, 2016 8:30am-9:01am EDT
and go behind the scenes at aljazeera.com/techknow. follow our expert contributors on twitter, facebook, instagram, google+ and more. this week on talk to al jazeera musician and activist, moby. >> glamorous dating, going to the right parties, et cetera, these can be fun, but they're not. they won't sustain you. it's like junk food or cocaine. >> he went from being a relative unknown to one of the most important electronic dance music pioneers. moby has made more than a dozen albums. the singer-songwriter has another set to come out in 2016. >> quite electronic, very song oriented. i have no idea if it's good. >> in addition to his musical career, moby is known for
being a dedicated vegan and compassionate voice for all animals. >> you either have to be delusional or a psychopath to believe that animals don't suffer. >> the multiplatinum performer's life-long passion for social activism is mainly grounded in pragmatism. >> so part of my criteria for evaluating the issues around us is not do i like it or do i not like it, but does it make sense? >> moby's also working on ground-breaking music therapy programs. >> music actually had re-- was a real-world healing modality. and not just on the level of, like, "oh, we listen to music and we feel better." but it actually physically changes us. >> i spoke to moby in washington, d.c. >> you got about 20 million albums sold worldwide, 1.3 million followers on twitter. you're called the pioneer of electronic music. for a guy who never set out to be famous, how did you end up so famous? >> i think it's a combination of, like, fortune favoring the
well prepared, and fortune favoring the well prepared, who are incapable of doing anything else. (laugh) meaning for years and years and years, my career as a musician just didn't work out. but i'd never had a backup plan. so a lot of my friends who wanted to be musicians, they also had, like, they were lawyers, they were accountants. they knew how to do other things. so when their music career bottomed out or never happened, they just went and did the other thing. but i never had that as an option. like, my options were, keep making music, and keep trying to have some semblance of a career, or work at denny's. you know, and as a vegan working at denny's would just be horrifying. >> yeah, that's not so good. that's not so good. is there something about being all in, though, that leads to success eventually?
>> i think for some people it increases the chances that you'll have success with something. i mean, i'm sure you've encountered that with lots of other people you've spoken to. it's, like, i mean. >> but most people have a backup plan. >> and-- but i'm also downplaying the fact that from the time i was three years old on, music was what i loved above all else. so it wasn't just, like, "oh, i'll arbitrarily choose music and work on it because what else am i gonna do?" it was like i loved working on it. and i hope this doesn't sound like a made up disingenuous answer, but the driver is just the-- the love that i've always had for music. the music, for me, was never, like a means to an end. >> it was never, like, "oh, if i write the right song, then things get better." it's the act of writing the song that's as good as it ever gets. you know? you can't, i can't buy anything that's better than music. >> some people might say you're in a great position to say that because you have had such
enormous commercial success. you can continue to make music just for the love of making music. can you imagine had you not had that kind of commercial success, would you still be doing what you're doing? >> i think so. >> yeah? >> i mean, if-- if i go back to, let's say 1988, and in 1988, i was living in an abandoned factory in a crack neighborhood. and i had no running water, and no bathroom. >> and no dates. >> and surprisingly few dates. i mean, i wonder why women were so disinclined to date a musician making $5,000 a year living in an abandoned factory in a crack neighborhood (laugh) without a shower. >> with no toilet, right? >> yeah, with no toilet. i mean, that seems pretty attractive to me. but i was spending all my time working on music, and i was really happy. and of course i had
professional aspirations and professional ambitions. but if nothing had happened, i probably would still be in that abandoned factory working on music, and being relatively happy. >> you were catapulted from being a relative unknown to being at parties with a-list celebrities and musicians. what-- what was that experience like for you? was it as gratifying as people on the outside may think it was? >> i will compare it to a really intense drug experience. meaning, and i'm-- i'll out myself as someone who has had really intense drug experiences. so i'm speaking from experience. at the beginning, it's great. you know, it's magic. because it all of a sudden-- like, i mean, i've spent my entire life in relative obscurity. and then suddenly everything
got 1,000 times better. you know, suddenly i was dating people who wouldn't have ever even spoken to me or acknowledged me. suddenly i was invited to things that i didn't-- hadn't even known existed. for a minute, it was great, but like with any drug experience, it just goes downhill from there. and then you have that period of, like, so let's say it's, like, the year is 2000. which was, like, the for me the height of dating, success, fame, wealth, et cetera. like, everything was just humming along. and it was wonderful. but then, sort of issues start creeping up. and you start realizin', like, "oh, well, i'm still a little depressed. and i'm still anxious." and then so you think, "okay, well, i'll just-- i'll drink more. i'll date more people. and i'll go to more parties."
and then the depression and the anxiety gets even worse. and so then you start thinking, "well, i must be doing it wrong. so i'm dating the wrong people. i'm going to the wrong parties. i'm doing the wrong drugs. so i need to shift that up." you know, kind of like rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic. and then eventually you just realize that, you know, i don't know. glamorous dating, going to the right parties, et cetera, these can be fun. but they're not-- they won't sustain you. you know, you can't-- it's like junk food or cocaine. you know, i don't wanna be 60 years old having had my 20th plastic surgery procedure, trying to date a 21 year old, feeling like that's gonna provide me with well being and happiness, 'cause it just simply never has for anyone. >> i don't think you've ever been a fancy guy that travels with an entourage, and rolls up into the big studio. from what i understand, you've made a lot of your-- >> too-- to my-- to my great
shame, i was for a little while. >> were you? >> yeah. >> but you've made a lot of music at home. you're still making music at home, aren't you? >> i mean, even when i bought in to all the sort of, like, the fame, sex, drugs, all the trappings that came along with that, i was still-- i had this bizarre work ethic where i would still work on music every day. and for the most part, working on music was this very monastic solitary experience. so i was going to crazy parties, and rolling with the entourage you were talking about, but when it came to work, i would go into my little tiny studio, onto my little tiny studio,