Moby is in demand all over the world

November 25, 1999|By J.D. Considine | J.D. Considine,SUN POP MUSIC CRITIC

Bandleader, DJ and multi-instrumentalist Moby calls his new album "Play." And if his day-to-day life had a title, it would probably be "Fly." "Our touring schedule has been really scattershot," he says, over the phone from a hotel just outside Paris. "Like, we did two and a half months in the States, and then we did three weeks in Europe. Then two weeks in the States. Then four days in Europe. Then 10 days in the States. "We just finished Italy and France, and now we're going to Thailand, and then Australia and New Zealand, then back to America."

By the time Moby begins his current American tour, with the Lo-Fidelity All Stars (the two groups play the Recher Theater in Towson tonight), he will have flown around the world twice this year. "There are very few things in the world I can brag about," he says. "But I can brag about just how much traveling I do." He'll be on the road through next August at least, with only occasional breaks, and he's glad of it. "I guess I'm in the fortunate position of having a record that's doing well internationally," he says. "So all the different licensees in all the different territories want me to come there. Which is nice."

Being in such worldwide demand is also vindication, of a sort. When Moby began making records, he was known largely as a DJ and was talked about as one of the biggest names in techno music. But there was more to Moby's interests than techno, and as his recording career progressed, his music broadened and branched out, incorporating everything from soulful dance beats to thrashing guitars, and from whispering piano to pulsing strings.

For a while, he was lumped in with the "electronica" movement, but he's glad that label has largely fallen by the wayside, since it seemed to emphasize the equipment musicians used more than the kind of music they made. "The limited criteria that people used to define electronic music a few years ago seemed really strange to me," he says. "To call the Chemical Brothers `electronica,' but not to call Busta Rhymes `electronica' is weird, because they basically use the same equipment to make their records."

The equipment Moby and his band use, by contrast, is basic rock band instrumentation, and his shows cover a wide range of musical ground. "With the live setup that we have, we can play straightforward dance music, or we can play punk rock songs, or we can play really slow, quiet ballads, or what have you," he says.

By contrast, his DJ dates are more limited, stylistically. "DJ-ing is basically just house music and techno, and that's it," he says. "Whereas the other live performance is a much more eclectic performance."

That's not to say he doesn't like doing DJ shows; he does. But Moby gets more out of what he can do with his band. "That flexibility, from my perspective, makes for a more interesting performance," he says. "Also, I have more fun."

Moby

When: Tonight, 8 p.m. (Doors open at 7: 00 p.m.)

Where: Recher Theater, 512 York Road, Towson

Tickets: $20

Call: 410-481-6500 for tickets, 410-337-7178 for information

Pub Date: 11/25/99

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