It’s weird to think that Moby and Aphex Twin are two artists who occupy the same planet, let alone come out of the same scene. But in the ’90s, they both came out of the rave underground, and they even toured the United States together. And during a new edition of THUMP’s Rave Curious podcast, as FACT points out, Moby recalls the way tensions between the two developed during that early-’90s tour, where Moby shared stages with Aphex Twin, Orbital, and Vapourspace. During that moment, Moby was making grand, anthemic techno anthems, and he was experimenting with playing guitar and acting like a rock star onstage. His whole style clashed sharply with the cerebral, complicated dance music that Aphex was making, and Aphex apparently didn’t think much of Moby. Here’s what Moby says about that time:
I remember, at one point, Aphex Twin saying to some journalist he couldn’t understand why I was on the tour because he thought I was just a buffoon. And I was like, “Well, that’s a shame” because I really liked his records. But it’s hard to continue to like someone’s music when you know they hold you in contempt.
Here’s the full podcast; the Aphex Twin talk starts about 35 minutes in.
As Rolling Stone points out, Moby also addressed the Aphex issue in his recent memoir Porcelain: “I wanted to like Aphex Twin because I loved his records. But he rarely spoke to anyone, and when he gave interviews he criticized me for playing guitar on stage… He called me an elitist in the press, when actually I just had crippling tour-bus-inspired insomnia.”
For the record, I hold that euphoric early-’90s Moby anthems like “Go” and “Feeling So Real” and “Next Is The E” can hang with anything that Richard D. James was making at the time.