INTERVIEWS

Geoffrey Weiss

I'm not a fan of hyperbole, especially when it comes to records. The “rarest” record of the moment might be one that boxes of it are waiting to be released back into the field. Some of the best “insert-genre-here" albums might be misunderstood by entire generations, and what’s regarded as “the best record of all time” by one person might be seen as a pedigreed relic with little historical importance by another. Such terms get even more watered down when they aim to describe record collectors. Lofty phrases like “deepest,” “best-schooled” and “the Alan Lomax of…” get liberally attached to everyone from hobbyists to the life-long obsessed. The result is hyperbolic noise, which is a shame, because what is there left to say when it’s actually true? There is one person I’ve met about whom I feel compelled to say: Geoffrey Weiss is, to me and to many, the world’s best record collector.

Greg Belson – Los Angeles, CA

Before commercial radio, before the first 78s were pressed, if you wanted to hear music, your best bet might have been to find a church. From rural chapels to urban cathedrals, from hymns to spirituals to chants, church and music have always gone hand in hand, made common not by genre but by purpose.

Logan Melissa

Next to the music itself, is anything more beloved about a record than its cover art? From 45 picture sleeves to LPs, cover art plays a prominent role in a record’s reputation and legacy. Entire books and websites have been devoted to cover art, and in some cases—think Abbey Road or A Dark Side of the Moon—an album’s cover is possibly more recognizable than its music. We put records in frames and hang them on our walls, we print posters and t-shirts out of them, and most of us will admit to buying at least a record or two based entirely on its cover. Indeed, if it were not for cover art, Dust & Grooves might not exist.

Sam Swig & Eric Bosick – Oakland, CA

I first met Sam at Tropicalia in Furs during one of those impromptu parties that would just start out of nowhere. We smiled at each other and said hi a couple of times throughout the night but said nothing—we were both pretty wasted...

Keb Darge – London, UK

The name Keb Darge has been a synonym for vinyl record culture for the past four decades. The outspoken Scotsman, responsible for starting more than his share of music scenes for the past 40 years, knows all too well the ups and downs of a record collector. Having owned and sold many of the world's rarest records in his lifetime, he has seen the many of these leave his record box more than once, without regrets. Credited for discovering unknown records and bringing them to the public, Mr. Darge has been adamant about one thing: the music.

Colleen Murphy – London UK

Introducing London-based collector Colleen 'Cosmo' Murphy: the woman behind the Classic Album Sundays, a self-proclaimed "audio diva," a mom, and a lover of cosmic-disco.

Ollie Teeba – (Soundsci / The Herbaliser) – London, UK

Sometime in the 1990s, I walked into Jack's Records in Red Bank, NJ and bought Blow Your Headphones by The Herbaliser without even hearing it. I had been turned on previously to them from some other music lover that passed it on to me. I dug it. Their brand of funk, soul, and jazz filled with samples and superbly crafted hip-hop beats had me nodding my head before, so I was sure they wouldn't let me down this time. They didn't.

Kevin Foakes (Strictly Kev / DJ Food) – London, UK

As a young photographer shooting and devouring music in the underground clubs of Tel Aviv in the late ’90s and early 2000s, I became acquainted with the DJ Food record Kaleidoscope. I listened enraptured to its jazzy, sophisticated sounds, particularly the track “The Aging Young Rebel.” I didn’t know whose deep voice was captivating me so much, but it stuck with me.

Ahmir Questlove Thompson – Philadelphia, PA [An excerpt]

When a window opens in Questlove’s schedule—even if it’s very last-minute and on July 4—you take it. As drummer for the legendary hip-hop band the Roots, bandleader for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, professor at New York University, and round-the-clock DJ, Questlove rarely gets a break in his schedule.

The Gaslamp Killer – Los Angeles, CA

William Bensussen is lucky to be alive. In the summer of 2012, the Los Angeles-based producer and DJ, better known as The Gaslamp Killer, was riding his scooter home from a friend’s house when a gust of wind threatened to take his hat. Reaching for it with one hand and braking with the other, he flipped his scooter, catching a hard blow to the gut on the way down. Internal bleeding meant emergency surgery, which left him with a scar the length of his abdomen and no spleen...

Gilles Peterson – London, England

Over the past 25 years, the name Gilles Peterson has gradually become synonymous with his self-styled ‘worldwide’ sound and his eternal quest for the perfect beat. Coming from French-Swiss parentage in South London, Gilles worked his way up the greasy pole of the music industry, taking on lowly jobs at record labels and setting up his own pirate radio station, to eventually become one of the most revered tastemakers in the UK and beyond.

Miriam Linna & Billy Miller – Norton Records

I first met Billy and Miriam of Norton Records and Kicks Books at one the Big Ten Inch parties that ran out of Brooklyn, spinning mostly old 78 RPM records. We then got to know each other even closer when hurricane Sandy hit their warehouses in Red Hook and flooded their entire stock. I was living a few blocks away and immediately ran over to help them salvage the records, recruit other volunteers, and bring my camera along to film the disaster.

Jeff Ogiba – Brooklyn, NY

Co-owner of Black Gold Records in Brooklyn, Ogiba describes records as “emotional vibrations on file.” He thrives on human connection, The Cure and the thrill of record hunting.

Yale Evelev – NY, NY

An expert on ethnographic series, 20th century classical, and James Brown, the president of Luaka Bop doesn’t mythologize the idea of vinyl.

Joel Oliveira, New York, NY

Welcome to Tropicalia in Furs, the Brazilian embassy of obscure records, psychedelic fuzz, and of course, bananas—ambassador Joel Stones gives us the lay of the land.