Moby on ‘Blunt Talk,’ His New Restaurant, and His Sixth Sense
Plus: the musician explains why he thinks we should be eating more dirt.
On September 12th, Starz will air very special episode of Blunt Talk, the Patrick Stewart comedy that Moby has a recurring role on. In case you haven’t been keeping tabs on Moby, he’s a singer-songwriter, musician, photographer, and die-hard vegan. He’s also bald, which is apparently the key factor in him landing his Blunt Talk gig. We got Moby on the phone to talk about the show, and what he’s been up to lately. He also had some interesting things to say about eating dirt.
How did you come to be involved with the show ‘Blunt Talk?” Is your character going to show up in future episodes?
I hope so. So basically how it evolved is I’ve been friends with Jonathan Ames for a long, long time, and when we both lived in NY we did a lot of really strange, cabaret, vaudeville type shows together, and we just sort of stayed friends over the years. I guess when he and the other writers were writing Blunt Talk one of them thought it would be funny to include me as Patrick Stewart’s character’s ex-wife’s current boyfriend because I’m bald, as well. So yeah, basically their only reason for casting me is because I’m bald, and a friend of Jonathan’s.
The only episode of Blunt Talk I’ve seen is the one they sent me before doing this interview, which introduces you as a music teacher of sorts for little kids. Did you have a music teacher when you were younger who inspired you in any kind of memorable way?
The only real music teacher I had was for about three years when I lived in Connecticut, I had a guitar teacher, but he played in a heavy metal band and had long curly hair down to his butt, and was covered in tattoos, so he was about as far from a unicorn horn wearing pre-school music teacher as you could get. I broke his heart because I was really into punk and I remember one day I showed up having cut my hair really short and dyed it blue and he was just crestfallen because he thought I was gonna follow in his footsteps and become a heavy metal guitar player.
During an average day on the set of Blunt Talk, where do you fit in clique wise. Are you social with the other actors, or do you tend to isolate yourself and do your own thing?
What’s interesting, and I’m not sure if this is common knowledge or not, but when the show was signed to Starz it was signed for two seasons. So because of Patrick Stewart’s involvement, and Seth MacFarlane’s involvement, Starz gave them this really great deal and offered two seasons right off the bat, which is really unheard of. So what followed from that is that everyone who became involved with the show knew that they were gonna be hanging out with each other for the next two years. Jonathan is really good at putting people at ease, and he hired people who had similar attitudes, so the ethos of the show is everyone just really liking each other, and everyone hangs out with each other even when we’re not shooting.
You’ve been on other TV shows before, the most memorable for me being 30 Rock, would you say that comedy comes easily for you? It’s kind of something you’re either good at, or you’re not. Comedy can’t really be learned. So how have you approached that?
I grew up in a very dysfunctional home, but that one thing that everyone in my family had in common was that everyone was really funny. So much so that I didn’t know that there were families who weren’t funny. So I can’t say that comedy is something I’m particularly good at, but I find it to be really comfortable. Also there’s a lack of stress or pressure on me whenever I’m doing any sort of acting because I’m not an actor, and I don’t really want to be an actor, so there’s no career pressure.
For someone who has such an extensive background in composing soundtracks, do you feel like the fairly new practice of binge-watching things disrupts the landscape of TV at all?
I can’t criticize binge watching because like everyone else, I’m guilty of some pretty intense binge watching. In fact it seems really odd now to ever only be able to watch one episode at a time.
What are some things you’ve binge watched lately?
I can’t say it’s true binge watching, because it’s more topical, but the John Oliver show on HBO. It’s so smart and funny. Without question, when it’s good, it’s the smartest, funniest thing on TV. But over the years I’ve binge watched the same things pretty much everyone else was binge watching, from Dexter, to House of Cards, etc. I did also binge watch Daredevil, largely because my friend Charlie was cast as the main protagonist, and Charlie is this really sweet, nice friendly, British, classically trained actor and I just loved watching him as an American tough guy.
When you’re watching something, either a TV show, or a movie, do you sort of unknowingly soundtrack it as you go along? Seems like that would be an occupational hazard.
For the most part, a lot of movie or TV scores, or incidental music, is so obvious that you don’t even notice it. I’d say 99% of the music written for TV or movies serves its purpose in a very utilitarian extent that I’m not even aware it’s there. The only times I really notice a music que is when it’s sort of unexpected. Like the Leonard Cohen song they used at the beginning of True Detective.
What would you say the soundtrack to your average day would be like?
I think it would be a combination of Led Zeppelin, classical music, Brian Eno, and old punk rock.
What have you been listening to recreationally lately?
Well, like many other people I’m a little obsessed with weird Spotify playlists, so the last couple of days I’ve been listening to glam rock Spotify playlists. It’s been reminding me just how much I love early glam rock. Everything from Marc Bolan, to David Bowie, to early Queen.
Being someone who does a lot in music, photography, and culinary lifestyle practices, you exercise all of your senses. Which sense do you feel is the most underdeveloped, personally?
I was having this odd conversation with one of my cousins, all my cousins are scientists, and I have this one cousin who works in the aerospace industry, but he’s interested in a lot of other things, and we were talking about how one huge change in modern humans, as opposed to our ancestors, is simply the amount of dirt we eat. Like if you think about it, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 years ago, we would eat a lot of dirt, because you wouldn’t really eat clean, scrubbed food, you’d just be eating dirty food. And we were talking about how a lot of what’s in dirt is weird trace minerals and metals, and so we had this theory that now that we’re not eating as many metals, we don’t have as much telepathy as we used to. Whether this is based on science, I have no idea. So basically the sense that I’d say I’m not very good at using is the sixth sense. I almost wish there was a course you could take to develop that sixth sense. Because clearly it’s there.
What do you have coming up that the Internet doesn’t already know about? While getting ready for this interview I was thinking about how cool it would be to have you attached to the new Twin Peaks season. Is there a possibility for that?
I’m name dropping but I’ve been friends with David Lynch for awhile, and he has promised me, that if on Twin Peaks he happens to write a character who’s an evil, bald, space alien, I get to play the evil, bald, space alien. But apart from that, I’m opening a restaurant here in LA in October, called Little Pine. It’s an organic, vegan restaurant in Silver Lake, and then next year hopefully putting out a record, and putting out a book, but none of those things are really finished yet, so I wouldn’t know how to describe them. I mean, next year will be 2016, I’ll be 50-years-old, releasing an album, I don’t really expect anyone to buy it. I mean, if they do that’s fine, for me the satisfaction of making music has to be the actual making of it, not the thought of some big commercial pay day. Because A) no one buys records and B) nobody buys records from 50 year old guys making their fifth record.
Photos by Starz