Eilon Paz’s photographs of vinyl obsessives – in pictures

The photographer’s portraits of record collectors at home have become a cult hit on his Dust & Grooves website

Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting is available to order with local shipping rates from dustandgrooves.com. A third edition will be published by Ten Speed Press in September

Gilles Peterson, DJ and broadcaster ‘Gilles was my holy grail when it came to collecting record collectors,’ explains photographer Eilon Paz. ‘I learned so much from his radio show and his compilations. He was like a mentor to me. I was chasing him for a long time before he agreed to the interview. It’s always nice when you ask someone about their influential records and, rather than picking something obscure, they choose something solid like Earth, Wind & Fire.’
Miriam Linna and Billy Miller, record store owners ‘Miriam and Billy run Norton Records in Brooklyn and they’re both musicians. Their warehouse flooded during Hurricane Sandy so they had to move everything into their house, which was filled with records when I visited. They were so passionate about music and would dance around the room when they put on a record. It was inspiring to see a married couple collecting together. Each knew the other’s history through the records.’
Rich Medina, DJ ‘Rich is a really funny guy. We spent a whole day with him at his house in Philly before he headed out to DJ in Manhattan. His collection has a ‘baby-makers’ section – records to get you in the mood. He reckons that some people reading the interview may have been conceived to the joints in that box.’
Questlove, musician ‘I was chasing Questlove [co-frontman of the Roots] for two years. It was only when he saw the first edition of the book that things started to roll. We met him in Philadelphia on 4 July: there was a Roots show that night and he had two hours between rehearsals. He was really generous, really funny – he would have talked to us about records for ever. This room is one of several in his studio with wall-to-ceiling records. These are the essentials, the stuff he grew up listening to. In the picture, he’s going through a bunch of Kool & the Gang records.’
Sheila Burgel, music journalist ‘After a year of doing the blog, someone pointed out to me that the collectors I’d featured were all guys, so I started looking for some women to profile. But then Sheila reached out to me. She’s a DJ and music journalist living in Brooklyn with really interesting taste in music. Her main focus is girl-pop from the 60s. Apart from a stash of heavy-metal LPs, there aren’t many men in her record collection.’
Mickey McGowan ‘Mickey used to run the Unknown Museum, a pop-culture repository in California, and he held on to a lot of its contents after it closed. Going into his studio was like entering a whole different world. He’s really obsessed with space exploration records and sound effects. The highlight from this shoot was when he put on an entire record of cricket sounds and played it over his quadrophonic system. We all just sat there quietly listening to crickets. It was amazing.’
Bob Mays, record dealer ‘Bob Mays is a famous record dealer in Detroit who has a lot of rare soul 7-inches and really knows his stuff. He lives on his own in a pretty scruffy house and sits there on his couch chain-smoking and listening to his little record player. In the picture, he’s rifling through his favourite hillbilly 7-inches. I wanted to know what hillbilly music was exactly and asked him if it was a derogatory term. He said, “No, I’m a hillbilly.” It was known that he could be grumpy but he turned out to be really nice. Maybe he was just in a good mood that day and we were lucky.’
Amnon Nissim ‘I went to Amnon’s house in Tel Aviv to photograph him for another story: he has a racquet-ball museum in his house. While I was there, I saw all these immaculately catalogued tapes and a very elaborate stereo system. He noticed my interest and took me into another room where there was a huge collection of oldies and goldies records: Cliff Richards and Elvis and Dalida. He collects everything. I didn’t learn much about good music from him but I did learn how to be passionate about things.’
Joey Altruda, musician Altruda is thumbing through a stack of bebop 78s in his living room in LA. On the coffee table is an assortment of record cover art by David Stone.
Margaret Barton Fumo, part-time DJ Barton Fumo collects prog rock and psychedelia. ‘The hippies got indulgent,’ she says. ‘Hawkwind’s giant foldout cover for Space Ritual is something else. It’s the perfect artwork for a pinnacle space-rock album.’

This article is taken from the Observer Newspaper




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