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More Moby: '18,' to be exact

Moby: "I love the idea of making music and making records that people can take into their lives and into their homes and fall in love with".  

(CNN) -- Warmth. Emotion. Soul. And quantum physics.

According to techno-pop king Moby, these are the tantalizing ingredients that help make up the disc jockey's highly anticipated new release, "18."

The album features -- get this -- 18 fresh cuts created by the man with the shaved pate and the unerring sense of what makes for a modern hit.

"It's a much warmer, more emotional record from some of the other records I've made in the past," Moby tells The Music Room. "It's got an ... almost delicate, soulful quality to it."

Will it be as popular as his 1999 release, "Play"? That album thrust Moby, who's been cutting records since the early 1990s, into the pop culture spotlight. Every song on that album was featured in various television commercials, and tunes like "South Side" climbed record charts and found a permanent home on MTV.

Now, with "18" tracks, Moby's hitting the road this summer for his Area2 concert tour -- a follow-up to the Area:One tour last year.

Moby recently sat down for an exclusive interview with The Music Room's host, Sasha Rionda. Among the topics of discussion: What's with the NASA space suit?

Sasha: Tell me about your new album.

Moby: Well, it's called "18" and it's not the most imaginative title in the world because it has 18 songs on it. That's the main reason I called it 18 ... but also I like the idea of having an album title that's not in English. So this way someone from Mexico City could ask for 'dieciocho,' someone in France can ask for 'dix huit,' someone in Tokyo can ask for 'ju-ha chi.' It's a much warmer, more emotional record from some of the other records I've made in the past.

Sasha: Why's that?

Moby: Well, in large part it's just because that's the record that I wanted to make. I love the idea of making music and making records that people can take into their lives and into their homes and fall in love with. Music that can almost exist as an emotional soundtrack to someone's life.

Sasha: Can you tell us a little about the first single, "We Are All Made of Stars"?

Moby: On one hand it's a sort of uplifting song about solidarity in the face of difficult circumstances. And on the other hand it's also about quantum physics because I'm a sci-fi geek and I grew up watching way too many science fiction shows and watching too many science fiction movies. So in the video I wear a NASA space suit walking around downtown Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles.

Sasha: How did you cast the cameo roles in the video?

Moby: I actually had nothing to do with that. The director's this man named Joseph Khan, and he directed a video for me for "South Side." He's such a great director that when I work with him I kind of give him carte blanche to do whatever he wants to do. So the video was completely his idea. I made the music obviously, but I just showed up and let him do what he wanted to do.

Sasha: On this album you worked with Sinead O'Connor, Angie Stone, MC Lyte. What was that like?

Moby: On my new record I have a bunch of guest vocalists and some of them I've never actually met. Sinead O'Connor sings a song on my record and we've never actually met. We spoke on the phone and we've exchanged e-mails, but the way it worked was I recorded the song in New York and I sent the tapes to her in London and she recorded the vocals in London, sent them back to me in New York and I mixed it all in New York. I'd like to meet her. I'm sure she's a very nice woman, but we've never actually met in person.

Sasha: What's your favorite track on the album?

Moby: There's an old cliche among musicians that songs are like children. And if I had 18 children it would be really hard for me to pick a favorite one. In the same way, having 18 songs on this record, it's almost impossible for me to pick a favorite song.

Sasha: What are the differences between this album and "Play"?

Moby: In some ways I see "18" and "Play" almost like brother and sister. "Play" in some ways had a more masculine quality to it, and I think "18" is a little more feminine. I wouldn't call "Play" an aggressive record, but it had some songs that were a little more aggressive and a little more energetic, whereas "18" tends to be a lot more subtle ad soulful and more feminine.

Sasha: Did you feel pressure to top "Play"?

Moby: I didn't really feel any commercial pressure in making 18. I felt an artistic pressure to make something that I love, that other people will love as well, but as far as commercial pressure ... I never expected to be a commercially successful musician. When I was growing up all my heroes were musicians who never sold records, basically. And for most of my career I've been a very marginal, underground music figure. So when "Play" went on to sell 10 million records I was completely surprised. And because I didn't expect it I certainly didn't feel commercial pressure in making the next record.

Sasha: Would you call yourself musically restless?

Moby: I don't know about musically restless. More musically enthusiastic. There's so many different types of music that I love it would seem strange to just limit myself to just one style of music. If I could only perform one type of music for the rest of my life, I think I'd just get really bored. It's the equivalent of only being able to eat in one restaurant for the rest of your life or live in one city for the rest of your life. I think one of the things that makes life exciting is diversity and one of the things that makes my life as a musician interesting is diversity and eclecticism.

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