Moby has announced the launch of a new record label, always centered at night, which seeks to rebel against what he calls “our current, fear-driven, algorithmic-based culture”.
The aim of the label, as he puts it, will not be to achieve social media stardom nor reach a billion streams on Spotify – rather it will be to “do something uncompromising”, and create something that goes against the norm.
In other words, “to make music that is emotional, atmospheric, and potentially beautiful,” says Moby. “And what better use of this weird privilege I have than trying to foster creative expression that has uncompromising integrity?”
After all this time i’m finally starting a record label…always centered at night (@alwayscentered)
— moby XⓋX (@thelittleidiot) June 1, 2022
Art, in his eyes, should be a refuge from the mainstream. Attending clubs in downtown New York back in the 80s, he was exposed to music he would have never heard growing up in the suburbs, such as Sly & Robbie, Grace Jones, Soul, electronic and early hip hop records, and realising “that these musical traditions were so much more interesting than the music I had been listening to”.
This aspect of discovery was also present in the many record shops he used to frequent, such as Rocks In Your Head, Sounds or Bleecker Bob’s.
“There was something about the process of crate-digging when you found that rare record that hooked you, and you weren’t even thinking about sharing it with a billion people,” he says. “The lack of ubiquity back then always felt precious to me.”
Today, however, too many artists are obsessed with the marketability of their art, he suggests, driving many to disillusionment.
“There’s so much fear out there,” he says. “I talk to my friends who are creatives and it breaks my heart because they don’t trust themselves anymore.
“It seems like the only criteria is: ‘Can I sell this to a corporation? Will a corporation pay me to make it? Will I get enough ‘shares’ and ‘likes’?’
“What happened to the idea that art and culture should be a contemptuous refuge from the mainstream, as opposed to this lickspittle, running dog accommodation to the mainstream? And so what I have to say to artists I want to work with is: ‘Look. We’re trying to make something unique, idiosyncratic, and personal and the music and lyrics don’t need to explain themselves. They can be obscure, they can be whatever you want them to be.’”
This has led to the creation of always centered at night, a label solely based in Moby’s recording studio, which will seek to encourage artists to make music they might not have been able to make elsewhere.
“I love the idea of building a record label that creates music that’s not for everyone,” he says. “I’d rather make and put out music that is special to ten people, than ubiquitous to millions. Life is ridiculously short and random, you might as well do something interesting with your time here.”
The first release on the label is Moby and Aynzli Jones – Medusa, which has just been released. More information can be found here.