Five Favorite Films with Moby
Plus, the musician on the Oscar-nominated Waste Land, composing soundtracks, and collaborating with David Lynch.
One of the most accomplished and successful electronic musicians of the past two decades, Moby has also created a body of work synonymous with the world of film soundtracks. His 1991 techno hit "Go" sampled Angelo Badalamenti's "Laura Palmer's Theme" from David Lynch's Twin Peaks, and his music has since accompanied dozens of films and television shows, from 007 to Michael Mann to Danny Boyle and beyond. (Not for nothing was his 1997 movie music compilation entitled I Like To Score.) He even came something of a full circle when Lynch directed the music video for his 2009 single, "Shot in the Back of the Head."
Moby's tracks provide the musical foundation for Lucy Walker's Oscar-nominated documentary Waste Land, which is being re-released in select theaters this week ahead of the February 27 Academy Awards. An unexpectedly moving piece, it chronicles the journey of Brazilian-born artist Vik Muniz as he returns to the favelas of Rio and engages the local "garbage pickers," who work in a literal city of trash, to become a part of his art project. More than simply an eco-themed documentary, it's a surprising human story that captures the transformative effect that art can have on peoples' lives.
Read through for our full conversation in which Moby discusses Waste Land, the issue of licensing his music, his impetus to compose original soundtracks... and what it was like to DJ his friend David Lynch's wedding.
But first, we got him to talk about his five favorite films.
Well, in no particular order, and not to be sycophantic, number one would be INLAND EMPIRE, the last David Lynch movie. I saw it four times in the theater, at the IFC theater on Sixth Avenue in New York, and I loved it because it plays with a lot of narrative conventions but then disposes with them. It made of lot of more traditional filmmaking seem sort of adolescent to me. And I might be alone in my opinion, but I think it's the best movie David Lynch has ever made.
Number two is Fireworks by Takeshi Kitano. I remember when I saw it, I love the way he marries in that movie... it's emotional and impressionistic but it still has these amazing outbursts of violence. I can't think of a single movie [like it] that goes from, in one instance,
being very delicate and poetic, to being almost obscenely violent. I think he's remarkable.
Number three, I don't know the name of the director [Ed. note: Eliseo Subiela], unfortunately, but it was a movie made in the '80s called Man Facing Southeast. It's an Argentine film. I should really find out who the director is, 'cause I saw it a bunch of times in an art theater in the mid '80s when it was released. I fell in love with it and I dragged all of my friends to go see it, and of course none of them liked it as much as I did, but something about it I just found incredibly powerful and it really resonated with me.
And four... oh, this is tricky. I'm just trying to go through them in my head. It's probably easier to pick 30 favorite movies as opposed to five. It might seem like an odd choice but I really loved it, the Tim Robbins movie Dead Man Walking. I just thought it was such beautiful, emotional, thoughtful filmmaking, and I'm surprised it hasn't taken a bigger place in the western film canon.
Them! (1954, 100% Tomatometer)
Next, Moby talks about the score for Waste Land, licensing and composing music for soundtracks, and his friendship and collaboration with David Lynch.
Okay, so I can think of about 300 to possibly choose, but this was one of my favorite movies when I was growing up. It's a movie called Them!; it's about giant ants that invade Los Angeles. My friend Paul and I, when we were growing up, we had a videotape of it and we just watched it obsessively over and over again. Especially like the first 20 or 30 minutes of it, it's so apocalyptic and quiet and disconcerting. And the sound design [of the ants] is amazing. I was gonna pick Godfather II or something a little more predictable, but I'll go with Them! 'cause it truly is one of my favorite movies.