Matthew Bruce is addicted to vinyl. His shelves contain several metres of rare folk 45s from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Many people trade in their record collections on Discogs for a three-figure dollar sum; he has digitised most of them, uploaded 775 to his YouTube channel, and plays some on his radio show on NTS. »I’ve listened to thousands of terrible records so that you won’t have to,« Bruce writes there. Only a finely sorted cut, a distillate of hours of digging and rummaging in American record shops and private collections, finds its way onto Forager Records, which he has been running since the start of the pandemic.
»After uploading my finds over and over again, I wanted to move things forward,« Bruce told Resistormag in an interview. »So I started connecting with the artists I was hearing on the old records – to license their music officially and make it available to a wider audience.« In Sam Hirschfelder, the trained graphic designer found a business partner who knew how to dub the master tapes. The seventh record on Forager, the hippie compilation »Child Of Nature«, was released last March.
Greetings from the mouldy pile of records
The fact that Matthew Bruce has taken a liking to compilations, of all things, can be traced back to his addiction as a founder. »These compilations contain thousands of hours of digging through piles of records and scrutinising artwork. What ultimately ends up on the record shows how much rare, unknown and obscure music there is out there. And maybe it will inspire someone to spend the same amount of time digging through mouldy piles of records in dingy basements.«
Bruce recorded a mix for us in advance of lugging his record case to the HHV store in Berlin on 2 June, 2023. As usual, he keeps the Woodstock vibes well alive – with folk rock and free-love funk from the musical past of the USA.