Moby opens up on Aphex Twin feud: 'I really liked his records'

29 April 2024, 12:56

Moby – Then It Fell Apart – memoir trailer

By Mayer Nissim

Moby says there was a "sadness" to the bust-up.

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One of the greatest electronic music triple-headers took place in the early 1990s, when Moby, Aphex Twin and Orbital went on tour together.

Unfortunately, after that tour there was some bad blood between Moby and Aphex Twin, also known as Richard D James.

Moby told Stereogum: "There was a sadness to it, because I really liked his records. I especially liked [Selected Ambient Works 85-92].

"I went into that tour feeling like, 'Hey, we’re all in this together'. I realised pretty quickly they didn’t feel that way. Luckily, that was a long time ago. I don't have any ill will towards anyone.

"But it did feel like, on the part of the intelligentsia, there was a collective embarrassment about the emotional expression of rave culture.

Moby in New York in 1993
Moby in New York in 1993. Picture: Getty Images

"It rubbed me the wrong way, because I love underground electronic music. I always have, even going back even to the '70s and the '80s."

Moby decried the split between rave music that "unapologetically wears its heart on its sleeve" and what Moby called so-called "intelligent techno".

"There were these arbitrary but unbroken lines being drawn between genres," he complained. "Why arbitrarily reject something just because it might have more of a populist appeal than the super obscure stuff?"

Moby - Go

Another reason for the supposed split between Moby and Aphex Twin was the former's insistence on taking a plane to each gig on the tour, rather than travelling by bus.

“He called me an elitist in the press, when actually I just had crippling tour-bus-inspired insomnia," Moby wrote in his memoir Porcelain, as quoted by NME.

"I wanted to like Aphex Twin, because I loved his records. But he rarely spoke to anyone, and when he gave interviews, he criticised me for playing guitar on stage."

Aphex Twin aka Richard D James in 1992
Aphex Twin aka Richard D James in 1992. Picture: Getty Images

Moby releases his new album Always Centered At Night on June 14.

The album features a number of special guest vocalists, including a collaboration with British poet and actor Benjamin Zephaniah recorded before his death in 2023.

Later this year, Moby will celebrate the 25th anniversary of his landmark Play album with a European tour including a one-off UK show at The O2 in London.