Kicking off our voyage into the world views of the world’s most exciting artists with Moby. He covers a lot of ground from why he doesn’t eat insects to hoping God doesn’t press the reset button.

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Moby:
I mean, I've never written a memoir before and I had worked under the assumption that memories were written by old politicians, or disgraced public figures or pop stars. But then, I guess, it honestly all started with Patti Smith's "Just Kids", for me at least. That was when I realized that you could write a sort of discrete - when I say discrete I mean dealing with a specific period of time - memoire before you turn 90. I mean, Bob Dylan's "Chronicles" were similar, it was partially about Bob Dylan, but very much about what it was like to be in New York during the nascent folk scene there and I thought, presumptuously perhaps, that I had had enough interesting things happen to me, and also I thought that enough interesting things have happened in New York during the period that's covered by the memoire that it warranted being written. You know, if I was Chris Martin from Coldplay, and I like Chris, I'm not saying this to malign him, but there's not much to write about, you know, he had nice parents, I've met his parents, they're lovely, and his first record became successful and his entire adult life has been spent being successful. So if you've had a relatively stable, prosaic life, it's probably not going to make for the best memoire, but my life has been neither stable nor prosaic so I sort of thought why not try and write about it? And then the question I had to ask myself was: Ok, how do I write a memoire and not waste people's time? I didn't want to just craft, I didn't want this to be a PR exercise, I didn’t want to try and portray myself in some sort of flattering light that might help my Q rating, you know, I didn’t want to write a self-penned hagiography, I wanted to write something honest because that’s, I mean, it should be self-evident, but I don’t know if it is to say that the goal of art should either be abject entertainment or honesty, you know, because we’re, maybe I’m rambling on, but there’s sort of existential sort of underpinnings of everything that we do is trying to make sense of how baffling it is to be alive as a human being especially in a universe that’s 15 or 16 billion years old, you know, so we’re alive for a couple of decades, we pretend that we’re immortal, we pretend that our lives have meaning and significance, but deep down we know that we die, we disappear and we have no idea what, if any, meaning or significance our lives have had. So, for me, the response to that is just solidarity and communication, you know, and so that’s one of the reasons why I aspired to write an honest memoir because I wanted to talk about my experience being human, I didn’t want to lie about any aspect of it because there enough disingenuous culture in our world, like, I don’t feel the need to add more disingenuity to our sort of cultural pantheon.
Donal:
I was very relieved when I got to the end of the book, well I wasn’t relieved when the book ended, but I was relieved the way you said that you have changed some of the names. What was that process like in terms of… did you seek permission or forgiveness or… you know, it wasn’t a cathartic process for you because you go through a litany of bumps and grinds that many of us have been through, but writing it into a book, what was that process like for you in terms of processing your past?
Moby:
Well, the honest thing about writing a memoir, and I've sometimes described it as being like psychedelic time travel, so I would find myself – I live in L.A. now – I would find myself in L.A. sitting down with my laptop and maybe a cup of tea and writing about an experience that I've had in New York twenty-six years ago, but in the course of the writing, remembering the experience felt more real, and so I would sort of emerge from writing and have to remind myself that now I actually live in Los Angeles in the 21st century and not in New York in 1991. It felt sort of proustian in a way like that, like really revisiting and in a very tactile sensory way immersing yourself in a past that is long gone. There’s also something fascinating, as like, a therapeutic or diagnostic tool, to revisit yourself as a stranger. And it gives you insights into who you are and how you orient yourself towards the world and how you orient yourself towards yourself, and you gain an objectivity that’s really hard to have in the present moment. So even if the book had never come out, and even if no one had ever read it, I still would have loved the act of writing especially for that, sort of, diagnostic ability.
Donal:
Did you have to, did you feel you had to get in touch with every single person mentioned in the book? Was there a kind of a fact-checker, what was that process like?
Moby:
The criteria that I employed for determining who should be in the book and whether I should use their real names, really, the criteria were both practical and personal. The practical side was “did I say anything that would subject me to litigious action on the part of the people I've written about”, so I actually had to go through the book with a lawyer, and I guess it happens in the State whenever you write a book that's like a bildungsroman – which is a great word that you can only really use in this case – so you write a book that is based on your life and it involves real people, you have to figure out if they can sue you for it. So a lot of the names were changed simply so I wouldn't get sued. But then also, I didn't really throw anyone under the bus, you know, I didn't have any axes to grind. The only person who emerges from the book scathed is me. You know, everyone else is kind of described, I think, quite sympathetically, in fact, I've had a few people, a few of my old friends who I haven't talked in a long time, they've read the book and they've contacted me to say 'Thank you' for not throwing them under the bus because they knew that they could have been. I actually left out a lot of the bad stuff because I didn't feel, I just didn't want to do what Morrissey did with his memoir, which I like, but he used it as an opportunity to really sort of address grievances, and I just wanted to be kind to other people and throw myself under the bus.
Donal:
The book finishes just as you're making play and is your life and your career are about to really change, and I was really curious about how or if money would change your life, and of course, the book finishes before that point, but you know, you grew up, you know, as you say in the book one of the few poor kids in Connecticut surrounded by all these rich people, and money is in the book so often, it's really obvious that you're not materialistic, but it was such a part of your reality the absence of money and then you know the book everyone knows that "Play" was a huge record and all of the tracks licensed and loads of hit singles and the book ends before that, that whole question of success and going from the absence of money to the presence of money and was that even something that's even worth thinking about for you?
Moby:

Yeah, well, I mean I grew up very, very poor. My mother and I were on food stamps and welfare which, I guess, in Europe would be just government assistance, and in the course of my adult life I've experienced abject poverty, you know, one point of the book I was living an abandoned factory in a crack neighbourhood and I had no bathroom and I had no running water and then especially after the successes of albums like "Play" and "18" I had a lot of material success, and I feel like in a way, and maybe I'm anthropomorphising a non-anthropomorphisable experience, but like I feel in a way like the universe has played this very benign, complicated joke on me because when I was growing up, like most people, I assumed that fame and wealth delivered happiness, and delivered emotional stability, and then the universe in it's complicated... I was going to say 'wisdom' but I guess it's complicated wisdom, it gave me both, it gave me more fame than I've ever imagined and it gave more money than I’ve ever imagined and I'd never been less happy, you know? After the success of "Play" and after the success of "18" I found myself a miserable, narcissistic, entitled, famous, wealthy alcoholic. And maybe other people have had different experience, but it was really interesting to be given everything that you thought could deliver happiness and find out that these things don't deliver happiness and then, if I was the only person who have had that experience I would say 'Clearly I'm a dysfunctional anomaly', I'm an outlier because clearly everybody else who has fame and money has figured out how to be happy with it, but then we look around and we're like: 'Okay, well there is Kurt Cobain, okay, he didn't seem very happy with fame and money, there's just around the corner Brad and Angelina, you know, can you think of in a course of human history two people with... I mean, they're the top 0.0001% of the human pantheon of fame and wealth and beauty, and they're miserable and they're getting a divorce. So I don't know why we still hold on to this idea that fame and wealth deliver happiness because they don't, you know, they're... the people who find happiness with fame and wealth often times, I would say, find happiness in spite of it, you know, they find happiness because they love their job, I think Elon Musk is pretty happy because he loves his job, but I don't think he is happy because he is famous and wealthy, I think he loves waking up and going to work every morning. In this point of my life I'm happy because I love making music, I love writing books, I love my friends, I love going hiking, I love reading other people's books, I like eating good food, but fame and wealth, like, on their own, all they do is make things complicated, and there is so much evidence to support that idea and there's also no evidence to support the idea that fame and wealth can deliver happiness so I'm totally confused why we collectively buy into that idea.
Donal:
Because at the end of the "Porcelain" it kind of felt the way book was written that the drinking had to stop. I've kind of felt... I mean, I was... we're all rooting for you, we're all there for you and I'm just kind of a “Oh my God, I didn't realise that the drinking didn't stop at that point”, I just assumed because it just seemed like it was getting crazier and crazier and crazier...
Moby:
Addiction is a funny thing because I sometimes think - I compare addiction to rational choices. What I mean by that is in the year 1992 I went to a vegan Japanese restaurant and I ate a purple Japanese eggplant and it gave me food poisoning so, as a result, for the next twelve years I stayed away from purple Japanese eggplants which was kind of irrational, but then I think of drinking where I was incapacitated and sick with hangovers five days a week for about twenty years. So why did I keep doing it, you know, and it's that... It makes me think of, like, Einstein and his definition of mental illness, you know, he said mental illness is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. So why, for years, did I keep drinking, keep doing drugs, keep dating the wrong people, keep doing all these things that would make me sick and miserable, but I kept doing them. And even regarding fame, you know, like, I kept touring even though I hate touring. And I remember at one point the absurdity of that struck me where I was getting ready to do a long tour, keep in mind that I really hate touring, and I was getting ready to do a long tour and my manager who's this dry witted, older German guy, he said 'Why are you going on tour if you hate touring?' and my honest answer was that I was afraid that if I didn't tour I would lose relevance, but the only consequence of being relevant is that you can keep going on tour and so I was, like, 'wow, I'm doing a thing that I hate to guarantee that I'll be able to keep doing this thing that I hate' and the absurdity of that... It's, like, it makes me think of Donald Trump and so many people who will think of him being a high society, like, they go to parties that they hate and have conversations with people they don't like, but they can't stop because they're afraid of losing the ability to go to the parties that they hate to have conversations with people that they don't like and I'm like 'I'd rather just stay home and read a book and go hiking’.
Donal:
Well sometimes it feels like everyone in the planet is keeping up with The Joneses - this constant idea of discontentments that whatever we have isn't enough, that we should want more and that no matter how much money you have or how much access you have you'll always find somebody else with more if that's what you're looking for, you'll find someone to compare yourself to, why do you think you drank?
Moby:
Well I've drank for a bunch of reasons and I'm guessing because you're Irish and this is going to go out in Ireland, I'm assuming that quite a lot of people will relate to this because I certainly have some Irish in my ancestry. I drank because, at most basic level, I loved alcohol, it was a stimulant and a sedative and it was psychedelic for me and it just, it made me comfortable, it woke me up, it made me excited, it erased all of my insecurities and my feelings of inadequacy. It did everything which is why, for decades, I really... like, alcohol was my God. And for a while, it was a pretty benign God until it started giving me hangovers that lasted for days and when I wasn't drunk I was panicking and depressed and anxious. So that's why I drank, but yes, I mean, like, it's... and I don't want to sound just like another clichéd, middle-aged sober guy in southern California, but when I stopped drinking I had to go through this process of asking myself that question, like, apart from the fact that I loved alcohol, why did I drink and really, the bigger question - why do we do anything? And we do everything based on assumptions, really, everything is based on assumptions and, sometimes, we engage in bad behaviour based on erroneous assumptions, you know, like, an example would be - I would walk into a cocktail party or any party and I would be immediately uncomfortable, and I would drink to make myself feel comfortable. And my discomfort was that I assumed everybody else was judging me and that everyone else was better than I was, and that everyone else knew terrible things about me. These are clearly wrong assumptions so when you then go through the process of identifying what those very ingrained assumptions are, and with evidence try to challenge them and replace them, and you realise when you walk into a party everyone is insecure, everyone is scared, everyone doubts themselves, except for the sociopaths, and then you'd realise 'Oh, why am I self-medicating for a problem that doesn't actually exist?' and that's the best part, for me, of sobriety is being able to, like, unearth these deeply held assumptions and realise that they are erroneous.
Donal:
Do you think it's a disposition that - the propensity to be addicted to something whether it's, you know, gambling or porn or drugs or alcohol or money, do you think it's something we're born with, is it something we acquire, is it something we inherit from previous generations...?
Moby:
I can only speak for myself and from, you know, from what I've observed in other people, but, like, there is that idea of an addictive personality and... But addiction isn't rocket science, it's that the brain finds something it really likes and it holds on to it. For some people that's porn, for some people that's gambling, for some people that's shopping or food or alcohol or crystal meth... Because our poor little brains, they don't know any better. You know, the brain is just this complicated organ locked in a box and all it knows is how it feels. It doesn't have eyes, we have eyes that feed information to the brain, it doesn't have ears, we have ears that feed information to the brain, so the brain is making all these decisions based on how it feels, based on heredity and information that's coming at it from all of our sense organs. So it's trying to make sense of all these things, but it also, maybe this is irrelevant, but I think it's quite interesting, it also has a genetic predisposition towards adversity because all of our ancestors, human and not, going back for the last 3,5 billion years, were basically hungry and scared, and so the brain just assumes that we are hungry and scared. And if it finds something that makes it feel good it just holds on to it, whether it's a bad relationship, whether it's alcohol, whether it's shopping, whatever, it finds that thing and the brain doesn't ask itself whether the behaviour is healthy or sustainable, the brain only asks itself 'Do I feel good right now?'. We could have a much longer conversation about neuro-architecture, about where those thoughts reside in the brain as opposed to, like, enabling the prefrontal cortex so we have, like, more executive understanding of choices and consequences which is really what most therapy and meditation and sobriety are all about, is, like, moving away from our brainstem and our feral choices and coming to a more sort of like rational, cognitive relationship towards the world around us.
Donal:
And in some ways, historically, religion would have played that part of a way to live that you're supposed to just adopt unquestionably. I wish religion was a bit more adaptive. The Catholic ethos is not very malleable, it doesn't really roll with the times that much at all.
God is a word, those three letters you use a lot, where you at now in terms of religion and God and it's place in our world?
Moby:
In the course of my life there were times when I was an atheist, times when I was an agnostic, times when I was a Daoist, times when I was a Christian, times when I was just a secular degenerate and then there's, you know, the twelve-steps which applies to alcoholism, applies to lots of addictions, the twelve-steps model. The most challenging of the twelve steps to me is the third step which says 'made a decision to turn our lives and our will over to God as we understood God', and when I did twelve-steps I came to that step and I was like 'Well that's pretty huge!' because there's my life and my will, that's everything, turned over to the care of God and I was like: 'What does that mean?" and I don't know if this is going to make sense, but I've spent about a month wrestling with that, it said: 'The God of my understanding' and I kept wrestling with that phrase because I was like: 'Well I don't understand God, I don't know who God is' and I was like 'The universe is potentially 15 billion years old or it's a temporal and exists in dimensions we can't even conceive of, how can I, as someone in his forties', because at the time I was in my forties I was like: 'How can I objectively understand who God is?' And then the realization I had was: 'Oh, I don't understand who God is, so the God of my understanding is a God that I don't understand because, in human form, we cannot understand God, we just can't!' And once I accepted that everything is fine. I talk to God all the time and I have no idea who am I talking to, you know? But I certainly have ideas, I mean, who knows, maybe we die, we go to heaven and there is some angry, old guy with a beard who gets mad at us because we jerked off when we were fourteen-years old or we stole a candy when we were kids. I assume that is not the case, I assume that whatever divinity is, one does not behave in a petty manner, I just don't see God being upset with how you describe God, you know, I don't think God, when we die, I don't think we go to Heaven or wherever we go and God says: 'Well, you could get into Heaven except you called me one thing and not another'. You know, the absurdity of that. And, I don't know, the part, for me, of being human is that question of just wondering who and what God might be, but I don't need an answer. I'm okay, I don't need a picture, I don't need a name, it's okay to constantly talk to God and ask whatever, whoever, whatever God might be, just say like: 'What do you think I'm supposed to do now?' and understanding I'm going to make mistakes, but always just asking.
Donal:
Is a higher force of some description?
Moby:
Yeah, I think it's funny when people categorically deny the existence of God, I'm like: 'Well, I don't know, maybe there's nothing, but I don't know how... In philosophy, I remember taking the logic class when I was a philosophy major and there's one sort of facile, specious approach to proving the existence of God called 'The Watchmaker theory' and it basically means you can't make something complicated from nothing. A watch, like a Swiss army or Swiss watch doesn't just magically appear. Something complicated has to give rise to something complicated. Broadly speaking, I sort of believe that, I sort of believe that we look at the unspeakable complexity of life, you know, how somehow DNA can turn dirt and water into a redwood or a little bush, how somehow two seeds can become optic nerves and skin and this huge complicated self-sustaining organism, I'm like: 'You know what, I don't know what's going on, but based on that it seems like something is going on', you know, just how, and when science says: 'Oh, it's just evolution', I'm like: 'Perhaps'. I love science and I think that whatever belief in God that I have is completely supported by science. Like, whenever there's a new scientific discovery that points to the unspeakable complexity of the universe, I'm like: 'I think that divine might be in there somewhere', you know.
Donal:
Science, doesn't go all the way, that's the thing, that when you, you know, dive deeper and deeper and deeper into the Big Bang theory, there’s still this unknown at the very centre of the core scientific theories.
Moby:
It is really fascinating to me that science and philosophy and spirituality are all ending up at the same place which, to over-generalize, is a place where we see the complexity of things, but we have no understanding of it. But maybe it's not our job as humans to understand the complexity. Maybe we're just suppose to, sort of, stand back and very benignly observe it. Maybe we have the rest of eternity to understand the complexity. Maybe we have a few decades now to just sort of be separated from it and look at it and try to almost take like a humanistic, Hippocratic oath and just do no harm.
Donal:
I've read something recently that really had freaked me out - hardcore Buddhists believe that humanity is a punishment for getting something wrong in a previous existence. If you're incarnate as a human it's because you got a previous life wrong and you haven’t got right yet. That really kind of, like, stopped me.
Moby:
As long as there've been people, there've been stories. And people's favourite stories are about people, like in creation myths and whatever. The moment any creation story leaves the world of metaphor is when I have no interest in it. Whenever someone tries to, with any specificity, tell me what exactly is going on, I'm like: 'You don't know.’ So if a Christian tries to tell me that there's Heaven and Hell and whatever I'm like: 'No, probably not.’ If a Muslim tries to tell me that suicide bombers go to Heaven where they are given lots of virgins I'm like: 'No, probably not.’ Or if a Buddhist tries to say like: 'Oh, there's this Karma and you're reincarnated specifically as one thing’, I'm like: 'No', because you're trying to get specific around something that we can't know. Anyone trying to describe God or the divine with specificity would be like me trying to, I don't know, try to describe the Tokyo subway system, like I've never been on the subway system in Tokyo, how could I describe it. So it's so absurd whenever... And the other thing with specificity around creation and the divine is - it's always self-serving. I have yet to meet someone who describes the divine with specificity who isn't somehow professionally involved in the consequences of that. You know, like when Catholics tell me, you know, 'Here's...'... When Catholics present to me the specific Catholic universe I'm like: 'Well it's kind of your job to say that'. The same way like if a Buddhist says that there's this reincarnation, whatever, I'm like: 'Well, if you say that people keep coming back', so I'm just super-weary of professionally self-interested specificity around the divine and the universe that we can't know anything about.

Donal:
What is the thing you find hardest in life?
Moby:
For me the hardest part of being alive is my lack of understanding, you know. I know that the universe is unspeakably complicated, but I still respond to things on this very reductionist way. What I mean is I look at a houseplant and I just see it as a houseplant. Of course, I know that there are billions and billions and billions of complicated cells and it's going through photosynthesis and creating oxygen and going to mitosis and all these things are happening, but still I just feel like such a dimwit in the presence of complexity because I still see things as being simple, and to me that's the hardest thing, sort of like the core of existentialism is that question of, like, we have no objective knowledge of the universe as it actually is. The spirituality that I tend to trust the most, is the spirituality that's based on the acceptance of that, acceptance of: 'Oh, the universe is ancient and complicated and we know nothing about it' - okay, now let's just accept that and be nice to each other.
Donal:
When you're dealing with daily life and daily existence and, you know, "Everything Is Wrong", the sleeve notes to that record, 1995, wasn't it, really changed me in many ways, it's something that I come back to many, many times, the idea of the joined up thinking that you can display, you know, the idea of, as you sat at this piece of metal and plastic and type, all of the different things are wrong on the world, and now, all these years later you've got a record called "These Systems Are Failing" and the photographs in the sleeves are, you moved to non-verbal communication, but a lot of the same issues that remain unsolved and you as an individual who's been aware of these things all your life made other people aware of these things all your life. How do you feel about the pace of change or how things change or what changes, how do you cope with knowing what you know and the world still being how it is?
Moby:
The world is a heartbreaking place because, for the simplest, simplest reason that, like, we collectively, the seven billion of us, are making all these choices and in the process destroying the environment, destroying other creatures, destroying each other and destroying ourselves. It's such a kick in the teeth. We're burning through all these resources, destroying the environment and we're not very happy. It would almost be excusable or forgivable if we were all really happy as we burn through all the oil and the timber and all the resources. If we were having the greatest party ever and we're just delirious with joy, maybe it would almost be forgivable, but the fact is we're having this huge party and burning through all these resources and we've never been more anxious, we've never been more depressed, and it all comes down to this simple concept that humans hate, which is just two words - evidence and consequences. People hate evidence, especially the long term evidence, and they hate the idea that actions have consequences. Specially, I'm just going to speak for Americans – Americans think that they can smoke cigarettes and eat McDonald’s and be healthy. No, there is no evidence to support that idea so if you keep doing it, you're ignoring mountains of evidence. People think they can stay in miserable relationships and be happy, people think they can stay in jobs that they hate and be happy - no. The unwillingness that we collectively have to look at evidence and to assess consequences is so heartbreaking.
Donal:
How do you coexist with these people?

Moby:
When I talk about evidence and consequences, I'm just as guilty. I don't think that there's been a human who is ever been exempt from the human condition. A lot of my friends were doing different types of spirituality, they're looking for these transcendent experiences that will somehow separate them from humanity, and to me the best spirituality is when you realise the humanity that you see in other people, the fallibility you see in other people exists in you just as much. I might have a different perspective as a result of, I don't know, education, heredity, privilege, having DHA oil in my smoothie every morning, I have no idea, I might have a different perspective, but my humanity is identical to everyone else’s. I just have maybe learned to apply the idea of looking at evidence to the choices that I make. I'm just hoping that we as a species evolve, not to the place where I am, I'm saying that we evolve to a place where we stop making such bad choices, because 7 billion people, day in and day out, making bad choices is destroying everything. That would be the most heartbreaking thing - a hundred years from now if we have an uninhabitable planet because human beings didn't know themselves well enough to make good choices. That would just be the stupidest thing ever.
Donal:
You seem very cognisant of your own actions and how you roll and, you know, is owning and operating a vegan restaurant, is that just because you want a place to eat the food you want or do you feel it's someway contributing to building the type of world you hope exists?
Moby:
I think of my day job is being activism, whether it's animal activism or climate activism or human rights activism, that's the only good use of fame is to try and be a better activist, to try and be an advocate for things that you think are important. I don't know if I'm doing a good job, I don't know if my actions have any long-term beneficial consequences, I have no idea. It's one of the perils of not being omniscient. I don't understand chaos theory, I don't understand if my actions are making things better or worse or just having no impact at all, but I wake up every day and just try and do what little things I can.
Donal:
What have you learnt or what have you noticed since "Little Pine" opened? What's happened as a consequence of that, what did you notice happening that didn't happen before it?
Moby:
I've been a vegan now for 29 years and I'm a vegan activist, I'm a vegan evangelist. Doesn't mean everyone in the world has to be vegan but the very least - people need to be willing to look at the consequences of widespread animal agriculture, and to that end I make videos, I write essays, I support documentaries, I give money to organizations, but I've also opened my restaurant as a way of representing the concepts that I believe in. And because I can write an essay and someone can read the essay about veganism or animal rights and maybe even agree with me, but bringing them to my restaurant and giving them a beautiful plate of food and a lovely bottle of vegan, organic wine, that may accomplish more than an essay. I try to do everything I can without being so presumptuous as to say that I'm doing anything right or that I'm having a good effect or good impact, but I just keep trying.
Donal:
I know it's a long time ago, but why did you become a vegan?
Moby:
Well first, 31 years ago, I became a vegetarian, is that right? Yeah, about when I was around 19 years old. And the reason I became a vegetarian was because I was petting a cat that I rescued, and I loved this cat so much and up until the time I had this what I’ll call my Saul on the road to vegan Damascus epiphany, I had held on to the paradox that most of us hold on to which is - I loved animals, but I also ate at Burger King. I was perfectly happy with that paradox. And then I was petting this rescued cat and I suddenly realised the cat that I was petting had two eyes and a central-nervous system and a very profound emotional life and a desire to avoid pain and suffering. And then at that moment a little switch got thrown in my brain and I suddenly realised: 'Oh, every animal with two eyes and a central-nervous system has a profound emotional life and a desire to avoid pain and suffering". That led me to be a vegetarian and then, a couple of years later, I became a vegan and that was 29 years ago.
Donal:
So in the last 29 years, your relationship with alcohol, drugs, sex, God has changed quite dramatically, but your relationship with what you eat hasn't. I mean, what does that say to you in terms of your defining influences in your life that all the flux. That’s been a constant.
Moby:
Well the only two constants in my life have been music and veganism. Music because it's just what I love so much, and veganism because I have... even, like, you know, sober, not sober, degenerate, not degenerate, Christian, not Christian, whatever, all those choices, those were choices where the consequences only affected me, veganism is a choice where the consequences effect other sentient beings and that's why it never wavered. You know, if I was filling my body with cocaine and vodka I was hurting myself, I wasn't really directly hurting anyone else, whereas if support animal agriculture I feel like I'm harming other sentient creatures, so that's why that has been, for me, a non-negotiable.

Donal:
Where do you stand on eating insects?
Eating insects? You know, it's funny because I've been a vegan for a long time so what I love are the peripheral questions. And what I usually will say, when confronted with peripheral questions, is: 'My focus is on the big question which is the hundred billion animals who are killed every year for human purposes'. To me that's... Until I can successfully redress that the other questions are light and fun. A recurring question someone will ask me is if I was on a desert island and there are only rabbits there would I kill a rabbit to live and I was like: 'You know, I've never been on a desert island, I have no idea, how about lets' talk about animal ...' so eating insects, for example, I hope to never eat insects, I actually have spent a lot of time, this might sound a little crazy, but from my perspective insects have two eyes and they really want to avoid pain and suffering, like, I've probably spent way too much time because, like, in urban environment it's hard to find animals, I found a lot of insects so I've spent a lot of time with ants and cockroaches and spiders and whatever, and I don't know what thoughts they're having, but I do know that they will do everything in their power to avoid pain and suffering, so I would just as soon not be involved in anything that caused pain and suffering to a creature that's trying to avoid it.
Of all the arable land that's currently being used for agriculture 99% goes to support animal agriculture, 1% doesn't. I'd rather eat beans than insects, I'm really fond of beans, beans - no ethical consequences, high in protein, high in fibre, high in phytonutrients, so a lovely plate of black beans as opposed to a plate of ground up grasshoppers? I'll choose the beans.
Donal:
Why do you think that humans show so little regard for other living creatures?
Moby:
I would say people, myself included, a lot of people live in this paradox, I don't think that humans show disregard for the lives of the other creatures, I think that people don't see how other creatures are treated, you know, like the slaughterhouses, the feedlots, these are kept very far away from polite society. So your average person in Dublin they go to the supermarket and if they're buying meat, they're buying this hygienically wrapped piece of flesh, they don't see the suffering, they don't see the death, they don't see the torture, so they can still hold on to the idea that they like animals, you know, they can go home and pet their dog, they can pet their cat and they can fry up their steak pretending that they're actually not hurting anything. And it's one of the reasons I love being a vegan, so I don't have to pretend. I don't have to pretend that I'm engaged in a process that is contrary to my beliefs and my ethics.
Donal:
What do you think of all these strides recently in terms of this lab-grown meat?
Moby:
Lab-grown meat is interesting, it's not... there's a word that I wish was in common usage because it's a really good word and people just thing that you're mispronouncing the word practical, which is practicable, and practicable means ‘can it be done’, you know, and lab grown meat right now because it's so cost prohibitive, it's not practicable, and practicable is actually a word, it's not just me with a speech impediment.
Donal:
And can you imagine yourself, like, it's been so long now for you, can you imagine yourself eating a lab-grown steak or would that just repulse you as a concept?
Moby:
I've been a vegetarian for 31 years and vegan for 29 years, so if someone gave me lab-grown hamburger or lab-grown steak I would probably choose not to eat it. I don't think there's... there's clearly the ethics of eating lab-grown meat are pretty benign, except that it just costs so much to make it, but if it gets to the point where lab-grown meat costs as much to produce as animal meat, then I assume, that most people would choose the lab-grown meat because it would safer and there would be no death and pain and suffering attached to it.
Donal:
Your book "Porcelain" is all about New York , and if you were to say to the New York you that you were going to end up living in L.A. and it seems to be the thing you didn't gradually at first spend more time in L.A. but there was a time, I don't know, seven or eight years ago, when you went: "I live in L.A. now, it's my home.". What, why, how, what does it represent to you?
Moby:
I moved to L.A. for a bunch of reasons, first and foremost - and again I'm sure that if people are hearing this in Ireland they will appreciate this – I just didn't want to be cold anymore. New York is a wonderful place but walking down Orchard Street in February when it's either freezing cold or cold and raining, I just realized life is short and I just didn't want to live in an environment where I had an adversarial relationship with the outdoors. It's one of the greatest things about L.A. is, like, the outdoors is your friend 363 days of the year and that's really nice, I think it's one reason why people in L.A. tend to be a little more open and relaxed. Every time they walk out their front door – it's nice. But also L.A... there is a weirdness to L.A. that I really like, you know, there's what people see on TV, whether it's "Baywatch", that's going back a ways but, like, the clichés of L.A. don't exist for me and my friends, you know, for us living in L.A. is going to the bookstore, going hiking in the mountains, going to the farmer's market, playing with dogs in the backyard, it's a very benign place.
Donal:
Did you have preconceived notions about L.A. like... as an east coast punk, wasn't this a place that you thought you never would like and it just evolved over time?
Moby:
L.A. was, when I was growing up before I ever been here or when I first started spending a little bit of time here, L.A. was very confusing to me. Because on one hand I would be, I was told by people that it was a vapid place, but then a lot of my favourite music came from here, you know, the band X and The Doors came from here, and I was like: 'Well, if it's a terrible place how did some of my favourite music come from here?' and then people would tell me that, like, the entertainment business is completely shallow and I was like: 'Yeah, but David Lynch lives there, and my other favourite directors live there, and they're all working there', and then I started realizing a lot of my favourite writers lived here, and my favourite visual artists lived here, and at some point I realized that people's criticism of Los Angeles wasn't really based on much, you know, it was, like, just sort of a glib, blind criticism, but when you actually come here, it's a city that's warm in the winter, that's filled with artists and writers and musicians and lots of good vegan food and we have two million acres of mountain estate park. It has its shortcomings, but the good stuff is pretty nice.
Donal:
Do you think that you could've written "Porcelain" when your dear departed mother was still alive? Do you think that would've be a thing you're able to do?
So writing "Porcelain" while my mom was still alive? My mom been alive wouldn't have been that big of a variable, the variable was more how... I don't know that I'm a terribly aware person right now, but my awareness is definitely greater then it was back then, or different, and I kind of, in order to write this book "Porcelain", I had to experience my rigid Christianity, I had to experience my very unrigid debauchery, I had to experience poverty, I had to experience wealth, I had to experience fame, I had to experience degradation and to experience all these things and then, luckily, move past them. So, I mean, hopefully, I think a lot of insight is very much the product of perspective and I think... and perspective is the product of experience, and so I just think that as I'm older and I've been through the wringer and I've experienced a lot, I've had more experience which gives me the perspective where I can hopefully write about things in a potentially insightful way.
Donal:
While I was reading I was thinking of my own mother and like, If I wrote something like this and my mother was alive, I don't know how I'd feel about her reading it.
Moby:
My mom probably most of the, I mean I hope my mom won't get mad at me for saying this but, like, a lot of the stuff that I did I'm assuming she did in her youth as well, you know, I mean it was weird I gave copies of the book to my aunts and uncles and, like, there is gnarly stuff in this book, you know, there is, like, having really degenerate sex in a bathroom at the top of the World Trade Centre, there is really rough stuff…
Donal:
The dance floor.
Yeah, having sex on a dance floor, dancing around your own semen, like, there is gnarly, rough stuff in there, but to a large extent, everyone has been there. Not everyone has had sex on a dance floor surrounded by drag queens, but everyone had compromised sex, everyone, like, the messiness of the human condition is something that we’ve tried either legislate-against or we've tried the moralise-against but, like, it's part of being human, you know, I think it's so odd this idea, and I didn't grow up Catholic so I can't speak to it, but a lot of my friends who grew up Catholic were brought up with this sense of shame around who they were physically, you know, as if they almost had to hide themselves from God, and I was like: 'Yeah, God has probably seen a lot worse", you know, God has seen births, God has seen diarrhoea, God has seen a trillion upon a trillion compromised orgasms, God has seen the worst physical, disgusting nonsense you can imagine, I think that God is like an ER surgeon - at this point, nothing would phase, whoever God is, I just can't... I imagine God being very concerned with people's emotional state and their feelings and, you know, their suffering, but I just don't see God being too concerned about the physical aspects of humanity because that's who we are, we're just a sloppy, messy bag of, like, gas and fluid.
Donal:
In the book your whole... the process of even you as a DJ choosing records and sharing them and making music, it really strikes me that music was like your trump cards that you got to play…
Moby:
Bad choice of words.

Donal:
Where do you think your gift came from?

Honestly, I don't think I'm a gifted musician at all, I really don't. I think that my entire approach towards music, whether it's making music or listening to music, it's just enthusiasm. I don't have an ability or gift that is in anyway different or unique from anyone else’s, I just spent my whole life working on it. Some people have, like, inherent aptitude or orientation, all I’ve ever had... I think, regarding music, I have two things - intense enthusiasm and inability to do anything else. In those times of my life when music wasn't working out I didn't have a fallback career so I just had to keep on doing it.
Donal:

The show is called "Born optimistic”. You're the very first guest on "Born optimistic". Would you describe yourself as an optimist?
Moby:
What I can say is there are many things that support my optimism and there are many things that support my pessimism, but what I would qualify both optimism and pessimism with is - it's based on a perspective that is not informed by omniscience. My world view, there is evidence to support it, but it's still 'I'm not omniscient', you know, I don't know... It's why I try not to judge other people because the moment I judge I'm saying I fully understand where something is coming from, I fully understand what it is and I fully understand what it's going to be, and I can't fully understand any of those things. So I'd say I'm 60% optimistic, 40% pessimistic with hopefully some humility around my lack of omnissions. In order to be optimistic I hope that whatever is in store for humans involves humans. I've had this vision of again whoever or whatever God is of just God's finger hovering over the reset button and saying like: 'You know what, that humanity, that was kind of an interesting experiment, but in the future I'm not going to let angry apes run the world.’ I'm hoping that God is not about to press the reset button on humanity because I'm curious to see where humans could go.

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