There were many reasons Moby was never going to make it as a DJ and musician in the New York club scene. This was the New York of Palladium; of Mars, Limelight, and Twilo; of unchecked, drug-fueled hedonism in pumping clubs where dance music was still largely underground, popular chiefly among working-class African Americans and Latinos. And then there was Moby—not just a poor, skinny white kid from Connecticut, but a devout Christian, a vegan, and a teetotaler. He would learn what it was to be spat on, to live on almost nothing. But it was perhaps the last good time for an artist to live on nothing in New York City: the age of AIDS and crack but also of a defiantly festive cultural underworld. Not without drama, he found his way. But success was not uncomplicated; it led to wretched, if in hindsight sometimes hilarious, excess and proved all too fleeting.
And so by the end of the decade, Moby contemplated an end in his career and elsewhere in his life, and put that emotion into what he assumed would be his swan song, his good-bye to all that, the album that would in fact be the beginning of an astonishing new phase: the multi-million selling Play.
At once bighearted and remorseless in its excavation of a lost world, Porcelain is both a chronicle of a city and a time and a deeply intimate exploration of finding one’s place during the most gloriously anxious period in life, when you’re on your own, betting on yourself, but have no idea how the story ends, and so you live with the honest dread that you’re one false step from being thrown out on your face. Moby’s voice resonates with honesty, wit, and, above all, an unshakable passion for his music that steered him through some very rough seas.
Porcelain is about making it, losing it, loving it, and hating it. It’s about finding your people, your place, thinking you’ve lost them both, and then, somehow, when you think it’s over, from a place of well-earned despair, creating a masterpiece. As a portrait of the young artist, Porcelain is a masterpiece in its own right, fit for the short shelf of musicians’ memoirs that capture not just a scene but an age, and something timeless about the human condition. Push play.
Richard (Melville) Hall (born September 11, 1965), known by his stage name Moby, is an American singer–songwriter, musician, DJ and photographer. He is well known for his electronic music, veganism, and support of animal rights. Moby has sold over 20 million albums worldwide. All Music considers him “one of the most important dance music figures of the early 1990 s, helping bring the music to a mainstream audience both in the UK and in America“.
Moby gained attention in the early 1990 s with his electronic dance music work, which experimented in the techno and breakbeat hardcore genres. With his fifth studio album, the electronica and house music-influenced Play, he gained international success. Originally released in mid-1999, the album sold 6,000 copies in its first week, and it re-entered the charts in early 2000 and became an unexpected hit, producing eight singles and selling over 10 million copies worldwide. Moby followed the album in 2002 with 18, which was also successful, selling over 5 million copies worldwide and receiving mostly positive reviews, though some criticized it for being too similar to Play.
His next major release, 2005’s mostly upbeat Hotel was a stylistic departure, incorporating more alternative rock elements than previous albums, and received mixed reviews. It sold around 2 million copies worldwide. Moby‘s latest album, Innocents, was released on October 1, 2013.
Moby has also co-written, produced, and remixed music for Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Daft Punk, Mylène Farmer,Brian Eno, Pet Shop Boys, Britney Spears, New Order, Public Enemy, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Soundgarden, and others.
“Moby’s Porcelain is a buoyant coming-of-age story set in the filthy, dangerous New York City of the 1990s that the musician and DJ adored. Funny, bighearted and raw.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Entertainingly gritty… A distinctive addition to the recent spate of well-written memoirs by contemporary musicians, a list that would include the likes of Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, and Carrie Brownstein.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A love letter to chaotic 1990s New York…Moby’s prose is honest, self-deprecating, and full of mordant wit, and when music is playing, it shines with exhilarating emotion.” —Publishers Weekly, starred
“Ten years of Moby’s life, mostly in the decrepit, dangerous, much-loved New York City of the 1990s, a life comically overcrowded, filthy, alcohol-fuelled, vegan, unbelievably noisy, full of spit and semen and some sort of Christianity; and often, suddenly, moving. The writing is terrific, enlivened by a bewildered deadpan humor that makes crazy sense of it all. His ancestor Herman Melville would, I think, be simultaneously revolted and proud.” —Salman Rushdie
“Full disclosure: Moby is a friend of mine, yet I had no idea that he was such a brilliant writer and storyteller. Porcelain, to me, is a classic and beautifully told bildungsroman—a young man comes to the city to find himself. And Moby tells this tale of his youth—his search for meaning and music—with gorgeous clarity, comedy, and compassion. Porcelainalso serves as a history of downtown New York of a certain time, a New York that doesn’t really exist anymore, but I was very happy to reencounter it here through Moby’s particular and fascinating lens.” —Jonathan Ames, author of Wake Up, Sir!