Moby may be known for his ambient electronica, but at a recent Brooklyn appearance, you wouldn’t know it.
In a conversation with WNYC’s John Schaefer at the Brooklyn Museum last Thursday, the focus was on his photography, which Moby, whose 1999 breakout album, “Play,” launched a thousand car commercials, has been doing as long as making music.
“I never felt comfortable showing people my work,” said the musician during his only New York appearance in support of his new photography book, “Destroyed,” which accompanies an album of the same name. “If I showed it to my friends, I was afraid they’d say, ‘Everyone with a digital camera thinks they’re a photographer. You’re just a dilettante musician.’ ”
His digital photographs document his recent tour experience, from crowd shots of thousands of fans to lonely airport portraits. During a slideshow of the work, the topic of conservation drifted from Moby’s massive drum machine collection to Bosch paintings to Bono to, inevitability, New York real estate.
“How much did you pay for your first apartment?” Moby asked Schaefer before revealing he paid $140 a month in the East Village. Of course, that was the 1970s.
Following the conversation, Moby broke out his guitar for a set that veered from his trademark layered, ambient cool, thanks to intimate covers of “Ring of Fire,” “Whole Lotta Love” and “Helpless,” as well as stripped-down versions of his hits from “Play,” including “Natural Blues,” “Porcelain,” “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?” and a crowd-rousing “Honey.”
“It was fantastic, it felt like a steal,” said Prospect Heights resident Audrey Morrell after the show. “We’re so lucky stuff like this goes on in the neighborhood. It’s a treat.”