Moby has emerged relatively unscathed after years of relentless touring, but not before trudging through spells of alcohol and drug abuse which have compromised his life.
Moby, known by his friends as Richard Hall, is easily one of the most famous figures in electronic music, yet his soft, thoughtful voice infers he's not jaded by it all. He's sat down to talk to Mixmag about experiences with his health and how the prevailing dream of world touring is at odds with the extravagant facade that fans see it as.
He first started touring in 1990, at 26 years of age. He discovered rather abruptly that the constant travel and exposure to toxins could overshadow the rush of performing. "Not to indulge in hyperbole, but the reality of touring and music is that every part of it is actually bad for your health. Over time, it became a little too repetitive. It stopped being exciting and I just noticed the health consequences".
"When you go on tour you invariably sleep less," he explains. "You’re exposed to all sorts of toxins (both intentionally and unintentionally): toxins in the form of being in an airport and being exposed to disinfectants and cleaners and really toxic chemicals. And then you find yourself drinking too much, doing too many drugs, eating much worse food than if you were at home. So while I was excited to be on tour, I was sleeping badly, eating badly and exposed to clubs filled with cigarette smoke, not to mention being hungover."
As the push and pull progressed, Moby fell into a vicious cycle of addiction which he refers to as an obsession with control. He's completely candid with his words, explaining an intriguing view on drug abuse that most would find surprising.
"The reason, and this is a generalization and very self evident, but the reason people drink and do drugs is because they want to change how they feel. And it gives people the ability to control their neurochemistry and control their physiology. But sometimes, the more control you give to someone the more entitled and narcissistic and controlling they become.
"Sometimes, being exposed to uncomfortable environments is much healthier than self medicating as a response to uncomfortable environments. And if you constantly rely on alcohol and drugs eventually you become addicted to controlling your environment, you become addicted to controlling your neurochemistry. Which is why so many addicts, towards the end, just stay in one room. It’s their way of controlling every single aspect of their environment."
Like many others, the compromise of self is what lead Moby to clean up: "Not drinking and not doing drugs is just the first step – the rest of it is coming to an understanding of yourself, the people around you, the world in which you live.
"Looking at the unjustified assumptions that you probably carried with you since childhood. Alcohol and drugs make you do a lot of things that are not in line with your beliefs. More often than not, you can lose your way. You have to find it again."
It's been a while since Moby has toured the world, but that doesn't mean he hasn't taken note of the countless new talents being pushed into the downward spiral he once found routine. He's been incredibly open about issues of wellness, hoping as many people as possible stumble upon his words. But the humble star is adamant that no young, fresh artist would earnestly take his advice.
"My hope is that people have the ability to stop doing things that are harmful while they still can. The consequences catch up very fast and before you know it, it can be too late." The artist is genuine in his concerns as he's seen it first hand. He quietly cites all the times drugs have taken over his friends' lives, worrying that most people do not recognize the danger of toying with mind-altering substances.
And yet, after decades of being Moby, if there's one thing he's learned it's that everyone must fall before they rise up. It's a sad realization that absolute happiness might not exist without complete anguish.
Moby takes a long pause, a moment of reflection before he signs off. A rooted sigh echoes the bittersweet reality of his next chosen words as he whispers: "The truth is: Everyone has to bottom out".
Content Originally Published By: Sydney Megan Jow @ Mixmag Health