Moby: Warts-and-all documentary aims to show people the real me

A film released with the electronic musician's new album discusses his experiences of depression and addiction.

Moby says he hopes a candid new documentary featuring his struggles with addiction and depression will help counter any “misrepresentation” of who he really is.

The film, Moby Doc, features moments of brutal honesty, including discussion of his father’s suicide and his own problems with alcohol and the darker aspects of fame.

At one point in the film, he even details how he slept through his mother’s funeral because he was “in bed, drunk, passed out”.

“I’ve appreciated other public figures who’ve attempted to be honest, or who’ve been willing to be honest,” the artist and animal rights activist, 55, told the PA news agency.

“Not even public figures, but just humans, friends of mine, or people I meet at AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings, who are actually willing to be vulnerable, willing to be honest, and willing to openly discuss the things that so many people are either ashamed of, or work so hard to hide.

“We live in a culture where there’s so much misrepresentation, you know, misrepresentation of who we are.

“Oftentimes, the only time you find out that someone’s struggling is after they’ve tried to kill themselves, or when they’ve killed themselves. The list is just endless, of people who you thought were living great lives, until all of a sudden, publicly, you realise they’re despondent.”

The documentary, featuring interviews with Moby’s close friend David Lynch, will be released on May 28 alongside Reprise, a new orchestral album reimagining some of the biggest hits of his career.

The cover for Moby's new album, Reprise (Deutsche Grammophon/Universal Music)
The cover for Moby’s new album, Reprise (Deutsche Grammophon/Universal Music/PA)

One thing not mentioned in the film is the controversy around his relationship with Natalie Portman.

Moby was criticised after stating in his 2019 memoir that he had dated the actress, a claim she denied.

Portman, now 39, told Harper’s Bazaar she recalled “a much older man being creepy with me”, adding: “He said I was 20; I definitely wasn’t. I was a teenager. I had just turned 18.”

Moby, who later apologised for behaving “inconsiderately and disrespectfully”, declined to discuss further details with PA.

“It got a lot of attention, but it was, just in terms of page count, an incredibly minor… banal part of the book. But the world we live in is that’s what people prioritised,” he said.

“Actual in-person relations are a lot more nuanced and probably not well represented by… the sort of quick 120-character media.”

As well as a string of reworked classics such as Porcelain and Natural Blues, Moby’s new album includes a tribute to friend David Bowie in the form of a stripped-back cover of Heroes – a track he loved as a child and later performed alongside his hero on his own sofa.

David Bowie
David Bowie (Yui Mok/PA)

“It was just one of the most special moments of my life, not even professionally, but personally (and) spiritually, to sit with my favourite musician of all time and play a delicate version of my favourite song of all time,” he said.

“So in covering it for Reprise, I wanted to…  both honour and sort of represent and pay homage to David, to my friendship with David, and also to… the inherent vulnerable beauty of the song.”

Unusually for Moby, the record features no electronics and gives control over orchestration to Hungary’s Budapest Art Orchestra, a process he said was liberating.

“There are few things more personally or professionally satisfying then being a control freak and handing some part of the process over to another person and realising that they’re so much better at it than you are or than I am.”

– Moby’s new album Reprise is released on May 28 on Deutsche Grammophon/Decca Records

– If you are struggling to cope call Samaritans on 116 123 or text Shout to 85258

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