Jill Greenberg
Liane Bonin
June 03, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

As far as Moby’s concerned, if you find yourself flummoxed by his new album, ”Play,” that’s your tough luck. A head-scratchingly diverse mix of instrumentals, African-American folk music, and disco, the album is a far cry from his 1995 techno-tinged hit ”Everything Is Wrong.” And the 33-year-old musician knows this means he isn’t likely to climb the Billboard charts this time around. ”Commercially, I probably would have sold a lot more records if I had just stuck with dance music,” he tells EW Online. ”But that wouldn’t be who I am.”

Who Moby is has had people scratching their heads since his first dance-floor hit, ”Go,” in 1991. The media pounced when they discovered he was a clean-cut vegan with a thing for God — a slap in the face to the drug-addled DJ cliché. But Moby, who says he’s happier listening to Britney Spears than sitting through most of today’s ”white guy guitar band alternative rock,” squirms at the prospect of being labeled, even in a positive light. ”The clichés that have attached themselves to me are all half-true,” he says. ”Yes, I’m a vegan, but I’m not a didactic one. I love Christ, but I don’t see myself as a part of modern Christianity as we know it. I’m 33 and I’m on a planet that’s 5 billion years old, so I can’t take my beliefs too seriously.”

Even if he isn’t taking himself seriously, Moby has inadvertently won over critics (”Everything Is Wrong” made Rolling Stone’s essential recordings of the decade list this month) and stars (he’s remixed David Bowie, Michael Jackson, and the Smashing Pumpkins) with his idiosyncratic style. But color the artist formerly known as Robert Melville Hall unimpressed. ”Maybe I’m stupid, but the idea of having a master plan of selling a million records doesn’t really concern me,” he says. ”If someone told me I couldn’t make another record ever, I’d be disappointed, sure. But if I could spend the rest of my life getting married and having a family and living in the woods by a river, that would be okay. There are other ways to live.” Hmmm, ”Little House on the Prairie: The Soundtrack Mix” anyone?

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