Last month Moby announces his 11th studio album, Innocents. Due out October 1st, it features guests Wayne Coyne, Damien Jurado, Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age), Cold Specks, Skylar Grey and Inyang Bassey. “I spend most of my time alone in my studio,” Moby explained in a July 1st press release, “so for Innocents it seemed like a really nice idea to involve other people in the making of the record. Working with all of these collaborators has helped me to make a record that I’m very proud of, and working this way also gave me some semblance of a social life.”
“For the last 18 months I’ve been working on my next album,” Moby wrote on his website the same day. “I’ve made the album in my bedroom studio, but rather than make the album exclusively by myself I’ve had a lot of help from other people…. Mark ‘Spike’ Stent helped me to produce Innocents. You might know ‘Spike’ from the work he’s done with Muse and Bjork and Massive Attack, among others. He’s amazing. There are a lot of guest vocalists and collaborators on the record… they’re all amazing, too.”
Stent’s résumé also includes M.I.A., Yeah Yeah Yeahs, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Goldfrapp. “Spike’s role was unconventional – first and foremost, he was a friend, and simultaneously a consultant, A&R person, mixer, and, yes, producer,” Moby explained to Killbeat Music. “We grew up listening to the same records: it’s nice to have that shared frame of reference where you can refer to a British Electric Foundation b-side or an early rocksteady single that would be obscure to most people, but seminal to us. And Spike was the reason the album shifted from a dance record to a more personal one: what really connected with him was the emotional, personal music.”
For Moby, collaborating is part of the reason he made the new album. “I guess I just accept that the music business has fallen apart,” he told Killbeat. “That demise means that, as a 47-year-old musician, when I make a record, it’s simply because I love making records – I don’t expect commercial success. There’s no reason to second guess whether something’s going to sell well, or if a radio programmer is going to like it – so I can just make the record I want to make.” Because of this, Moby felt free to work with male vocalists for the first time in his career. “I’ve only ever worked with female singers… Until this record, if there’s been a male voice on my record, it’s been me… As I was writing “Perfect Life,” I kept thinking of Wayne singing it. His voice has such an interesting, vulnerable timbre. Likewise, Damien Jurado and Mark Lanegan have such unique voices, I just fell in love with the way they sing.”
Although a variety of people are involved in the music, the art work was all Moby – including the cover shown above. “I have shot all of the photographs for the artwork for Innocents and the singles,” he announced in July. “I’m not saying I’m a great photographer, but I’ve been a photographer since I was 10 years old (when my uncle gave me a nikon F), and I really like taking pictures. so, thus, I decided to take the pictures for the new album artwork.”
Moby explained on his site that the the album’s title is “‘innocents’ the plural noun. as in ‘a gathering of innocents,’ adding to Killbeat that, “It sounds like something you’d read on the side of a teabag, but there’s a quality of innocence that resonates in all of us. I have yet to meet a human – even the most hardened criminal, or the nastiest, toughest rapper – who isn’t scared and insecure. I always think, ‘At one point, you were a little kid who was scared in the middle of the night. You’re going to get older and look in the mirror and wonder what happened to your youth; you’re going to be alone, and afraid, and get sick, lonely, and all the things that affect us by virtue of being human. In my music, I try to evoke the emotional response to that – joy, longing, fear, anger: these very human responses to living a material existence for a brief moment in our vast, strange universe. I always think of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings: when it builds to a crescendo, unless you’re a sociopath, you have an emotional reaction to it. In my music, I try to give myself that same feeling – and if I’m lucky, someone else who’s listening to it will have a similar reaction.”
Moby created a spotify playlist of songs that inspired his new album (because he has “lot of free time right now,” he jokes).
1. Everything That Rises
2. A Case For Shame (with Cold Specks)
3. Almost Home (with Damien Jurado)
4. Going Wrong
5. The Perfect Life (with Wayne Coyne)
6. The Last Day (with Skylar Grey)
7. Don’t Love Me (with Inyang Bassey)
8. A Long Time
10. Tell Me (with Cold Specks)
11. The Lonely Night (with Mark Lanegan)
12. The Dogs
Although the first song from Innocents to be teased was “The Lonely Night” (with Lanegan – watch the mock video from this past April at the top of this page), the lead single is “A Case for Shame” (featuring Cold Specks vocalist Al Spx, directly above), and the first video will be “The Perfect Life” (with Coyne).
Moby held open casting for “The Perfect Life” video last Tuesday. Here’s his full note to would be cast members, followed by some social media updates and pictures of himself and Wayne Coyne on the set yesterday.
“so, this week in los angeles wayne coyne (from the flaming lips) and i are making a video for a song we’ve done together. and we need extras!
if you’re interested please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org casting is tomorrow tuesday august 6th shooting august 10th in Downtown LA.
below are the extras we need, if you think you can help out:
A DRUNK KING: Guy with beard age 35-50
S&M GIMP RHYTHMIC GYMNAST: A Rhythmic Gymnast dressed in a leather S and M Gimp costume complete with mask with a zipper mouth. Someone who is good at the ribbon and stick thing. Preferably a male if such a thing exists. If not a Women or girl with a flat chest.
8 ROLLERSKATING GHOSTS: Any gender. Roller skaters not rollerbladers, ideally people who can roller dance and do a choreographed routine, perhaps a roller dance crew if such a thing exists. Ideally people who also would be OK with taking off their costume and get naked but not obligatory rollerskating dance ability takes preference.
12 GOTH CHOIR MEMBERS: In their 20‘s Mixed sex and ethnicity. Don’t have to be able to sing but need to lip synch and be able to move with a little it of rhythm as the choir will move their hands in unison. They should be goth. Ideally they are comfortable with nudity.
2 OBESE BEARDED BIKERS IN RED SPEEDOS: Pretty self explanatory there. Need to be able to ride a motorcycle, ideally they have their own.
20 RANDOM PARTY GOERS WHO ARE COMFORTABLE WITH NUDITY: All ages. Freaky fun, people who are cool with dancing and getting naked. Existing costumes and skills a plus like hula hoopers, crunk dancers various random talents, jugglers etc, trick rope twirlers, stuff of that weird talent show speciality nature a plus. Comfortable with nudity is the main requirement here.
A PUNK ROCK BRASS BRAND: Maybe this pre- exist in LA? Like a steam punk anarchistic brass band?
p.s-these are real requests..
A long list of updates on what else Coyne has been up to lately is here (new Flaming Lips and fwends album this week? maybe….) . . .
Moby will return to the stage to promote the album, but for three nights only, October 2-4th at Los Angeles’ Fonda Theatre. “The whole, entire tour for the album will consist of 3 shows,” he explained on his website. “Maybe at some point in my adult life i’ll do more elaborate touring, but for now i just want to play 3 shows near my house.” Expect a mix of new and old songs, including his uber-film-and-TV-ad-synched hits. Tickets are available here.