Moby: There are seven billion people on the planet, and I realize I will never ever be the best at anything. But I can potentially have the world’s largest collection of drum machines. So when I say obsessively, it’s obsession with a purpose. Ultimately, I want to have one of every drum machine made up until 1982. After 1982, they became more digital, and I sort of lose interest. But the old analog ones, I have always loved them.
Synth loving genre-straddler Moby recently released Wait For Me, his ninth studio album, and to celebrate the occasion, he invited Future Music magazine into his bedroom studio. “It’s got a great atmosphere,” says Moby. “Loads of different artists have had studios here – people like Iggy Pop, Sonic Youth, the Butthole Surfers and the Beastie Boys. I sleep in the smaller bedroom and I make music in the slightly larger bedroom.”
Moby’s had someone in to give the room some acoustic treatment: “Mixing in here used to be a real nightmare,” he admits. His monitoring setup, meanwhile, comprises a pair of Genelecs and Yamaha’s trusty NS10s. “The Genelecs are fun to listen to because everything sounds fantastic on them,” notes Moby, while supporting the consensus that “The NS10s sound crappy, but if you get it working on them, you know you’re doing something right”.
An enviable collection of synths can be found in Moby’s facility, and he managed to pick up some of his more lust-worthy analog models for less than you might expect. “I started collecting this stuff when nobody wanted it. There was that period between about 1984 and 1990 when everyone wanted digital synths. I think I paid $100 for the Juno-106. The Jupiter 6 cost me virtually nothing. How can you not appreciate these machines?”
Although he’s a big fan of synths, drum machines and other electronic gear, Moby still likes his ‘real’ instruments, which explains the presence of the guitar and bass in his studio. “[Wait For Me] started out with piano and guitar – just me sitting around and playing a tune or some chords.”
He may be a Pro Tools fan, but Moby still has plenty of outboard gear around the place. “Using all the old gear does mean you spend a lot more time messing around, because each reverb or compressor will only work on two or three pieces of music,” he notes. “Onboard compression works on everything, but it all sounds the same. The sounds you get from the analogue stuff make it worth the extra effort.”
Moby admits that he now regrets allowing so many tracks from his Play album to be used in ads, and won’t be going down that road again. “Unfortunately, once you make a bargain with the Devil, you can get caught out. I did and I got crucified, and rightly so. Things are different now. I certainly won’t do that again. This new album is just for me. It’s personal.”