Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Terry Cole (Colemine Records) Can you dig it?

Colmine Records Logo
Colmine Records Logo Colmine Records Logo Matt, Rob and DeRo Ikebe EP Cover The Jive Turkeys: B.A (A Side) On 45 The Jive Turkeys: Chickenfoot (B Side) On 45 Ikebe Shakedown: Hard Steppin' (A Side) On 45 Ikebe Shakedown: The Prisoner (B Side) On 45

Although there are some great new authentic sounding Funk and Soul 45’s being made right now the majority are distinctly average. No wonder there is so much apathy in the collectors Funk scene at the moment. But all of a sudden, out of the blue (actually – Ohio) comes ‘Colemine Records’ and a whole array of killer, classic sounding 45’s, and I mean KILLER!

As an exclusive to Blues And Soul, Snowboy talk’s to label-owner and artist Terry Cole and gets to the bottom of the ‘what and where’ with this amazing label.

What’s your background to this music Terry?

I’m a twenty-four year old high school biology teacher. And my background is simple. I grew up with records and specifically 45’s all around as a child because my dad collects Doo Wop 45s and has for about 30 years now. So for me, being involved with making Soul and Funk 45s is like second nature.

I enviously say that your Dad is quite a major Doo Wop collector. Has he been much of an influence on you?

Quite honestly, there is no way I would be this engrossed in music if it wasn’t for him. Growing up in my house, there were records everywhere (much to my mom’s dismay). And Dad was always blaring classic Doo Wop in the basement. So much so that I assumed what he was playing was stuff that was newly released. So when I would try to have conversations with my friends in 2nd and 3rd grade about music, there was usually a good amount of disconnect when they were discussing The New Kids On The Block and I was talking about The Heartbeats or The Moonglows. And what’s funny is that since my point of reference for music started off in the mid-50s, it was only natural that I would progress to love 60s Soul music, because that is ultimately what most of those Doo Wop groups turned into eventually.

Is Ohio a particularly soulful city?

I’m from Middletown, Ohio. It’s a relatively small city in near Cincinnati, Ohio. And while Middletown isn’t a particularly soulful city in my mind, Cincinnati has a rich history that has greatly influenced me. King Records (Federal, Queen, etc.) was based in Cincinnati and therefore I was exposed to a slew of great artists while digging through records in local shops. And we’re talking about artists with a ton of soul: James Brown, Hank Ballard, Spirit of Memphis, The Swallows, and Little Willie John just to name a few.

Is there much going on club or radio-wise to do with classic Funk and Soul?

Sadly, not much goes on with funk and soul around here. If you go north up in Columbus or Detroit, the scene is much stronger, but for some reason it’s difficult to get folks interested down here, which is ridiculous. Look at Cincinnati’s history: James Brown, King Records, The Ohio Players from right up in Dayton, Bootsy. Come on now? And when I’ve gone out to see Funk bands that promote themselves as “old-school” Soul or “real” Funk, I’m always disappointed. Usually it’s bands that try to sound like late Parliament or Earth, Wind, and Fire. Not that there’s anything wrong with those bands, but it always comes off really cheesy to me.

What’s the record shopping like? Any shops you can tip us off about?

We’ve got several good record shops around here. My favorite is ‘Everybody’s Records’ in Cincinnati. Great selection of cheap stuff, but they’ve always got plenty of new Hip-Hop and a great Jazz selection. ‘Shake-It Records’ is another good one in Cinci. ‘Gem City’ in Dayton, OH. And I can’t forgot about ‘Land Locked Music’ in Bloomington, IN. Great selection of newer Funk and Soul 45s.

How did ‘Colemine Records’ come about and what made you form the label?

The whole genesis of the label itself is actually one big hoax. I’ll explain:

I started the label when I was in college at Miami University in Oxford, OH. This was about three years ago. Oxford is a small-ass college town in the middle of nowhere, so any half-way decent band can usually make a killing playing at the bars because where else are the students going to go? So at the time, I had two sources of income. One was selling old 78s on eBay, which was paying for all of my college tuition. And the other was playing bass with a hip-hop/jazz/funk/soul band I was in called Soundscape, which would pay my other bills and give me a little spending money. Our band’s MC, Rideout, and I became pretty close friends and since he lived in Detroit, he would often crash at my place on nights that we had shows (much to my roommate’s dismay, but that’s another story entirely). Anyway, he was always letting me hear beats that producers would send him and would ask me what I thought of them. The whole concept of one person making a beat and emailing it to another person was foreign to me at the time, so I was intrigued. How did they make the beats? What did they use? How’d they get permission to use that sample? And many more annoying questions. So after listening to all these beats that I felt were just average, I thought to myself, “Hell, I bet I can make a beat that’s better than those.” So I made some. I made about 15 or 16 beats. Then me and Rideout made 12 songs from those beats and had an album! And everyone involved thought the album was pretty good. Once it was done I thought about shopping it around to some labels, but I had no idea how the hell to do that and didn’t really have any interest in learning. But I still wanted people to take the project seriously. I wanted it to seem legit. So I developed some artwork, made up a name for a label and put it on there. Then, when people would ask me whether or not we were signed, I would simply nod and say, “Of course we are.”

It’s funny because I made up the label in an attempt to legitimize our music, but our music actually ended up legitimizing the label.

Where did the name come from?

Well, the name originally stuck out in my head because when you think of a coalmine, you think of digging. As in digging for records. And if you’ve ever dealt with 78s, you can usually count on coming out looking like you were in a coalmine as well. But Coalmine was already a label in NY. So I just took my last name, Cole, and threw it on the front to get ‘Colemine’. And for as much as I love the name, it’s kind of a pain having to make sure people know which one we are. “No, we’re the one from Middletown, OH, not Brooklyn, NY.” My favourite part of coming up with the name was developing the logo. I’m kind of obsessive about certain things and I will let one idea consume me. I tried to come up with a logo I liked for weeks and nothing would take. I almost failed my genetics course because I would doodle during the entire class every day. But then one day while I was eating a sub at Subway, I had an epiphany. I drew the logo on a napkin and that was that.

What kind of a run are you doing on the 45’s? Are they a limited run are you re-pressing?

At this point, we’re pressing 1000 copies per release. Our first 45 is pretty close to selling out and I haven’t decided whether or not we’ll do a second pressing. If we do, I’ll definitely do it on a different color paper so collectors will know the difference between the two. That was always one of the favourite things about 45s, trying to figure out what was a bootleg, what was a 3rd press, 2nd press, 1st press. There are so many goofy things you have to look for in order to figure it out.

How many people work for you?

None. I take care of pretty much every aspect of the label, with the exception of some of the recording. For example, Ikebe Shakedown’s EP was recorded in Brooklyn with Tom Brenneck from Daptone/Dunham.

My wife does help me wrap packages every Sunday night though, which is very helpful. And if you ask her, she’ll tell you that she’s the CFO of Colemine because she’s the one that’s always brought home the bacon. Although now that I’ve got a full-time job teaching, we’re both helping to finance the label (but she still claims she’s the CFO).

Are all the bands from Ohio?

No, not all of the bands are from Ohio. The Jive Turkeys are friends that I’ve been playing music with for about five years now, so we’re from Ohio. But Tough Junkie is from Jacksonville, FL. Rideout is originally from Detroit, MI. I think Othello is originally from Portland, OR. DJ Vajra is from Colorado. And the Ikebe guys are from Brooklyn, NY.

Tell me about each band.

Rideout & Terry Cole - The project I mentioned earlier that I worked on with Rideout ended up being titled The City. It was released simply as Rideout & Terry Cole. The album actually featured members of Soundscape and several friends we all went to college with. But I produced all of the tracks and Rideout rapped on all them, hence the name Rideout & Terry Cole. Pretty original, eh?

The Jive Turkeys – Once The City got licensed by P-Vine Records of Japan, I started to realize that maybe we could release another project. At the same time, I had just started to get hip to the whole Brooklyn Soul and Funk scene with Daptone, Truth & Soul, etc. I was amazed that they were able to put out this raw Funk music that I loved so much on 45s and people were buying ‘em! So, while it took a bit of persuading, I eventually convinced the core of Soundscape (Matt Amburgy on organ, Andrew DeRoberts on guitar, Rob Houk on drums, and me on bass) that we should cut some instrumental Funk and press it on vinyl. So we got together in a little room, and starting cranking out the most natural Funk we could muster. I think the Jive Turkeys sound like a happy marriage of Booker T. and The M.G.’s meets The Meters.

Tough Junkie – TJ is producer/MC from Jacksonville, FL. He contacted me sometime late in 2007 and was interested in working on a project for Colemine. We’ve actually never met, but I was drawn to his music because he’s got a lot of weird idiosyncrasies about him. Kind of in an MF Doom or De La Soul type of way. But he’s definitely his own guy. He’s a great MC and an extremely talented producer. I will say one thing, he’s not the type that you immediately love, he’s kind of an acquired taste…but that’s his most endearing quality.

Othello & DJ Vajra – I first heard about Othello via his group Lightheaded (made up of Ohmega Watts, Braille, and Othello). And at the same time Rideout and me were working on The City, he had just recently performed with Othello at a show in Lansing, MI. Rideout told me about how great of a performer Othello was and that he thought he would be someone that I would really like (being a sucker for organic hip-hop). So I reached out to him and told him that if he ever wanted to work on a project together, I was down. So this passed summer he called me and told me he had a project he had just finished with DJ Vajra. I listened to it and it was fantastic! Funky, soulful, classic Hip-Hop! So we picked two tracks from the album and released it as a 12” single. The A-side features Stones Throw artist Mayer Hawthorne. And we’re going to be dropping the album sometime in the spring of 2010.

Ikebe Shakedown – Ikebe is an 8-man Afro-funk band from Brooklyn, NY. I stumbled upon their myspace page a while back and contacted them. At the time, I had only heard live recordings, which didn’t really do them justice. Vince Chiarito, who plays bass, and I talked for a while, got along really well and decided we could help each other out. Vince and I were one the same page about how the band should be recorded and the timing couldn’t have been better. Ikebe was about to go into the studio with Tom Brenneck at Dunham Records to record their debut EP. We just released their debut 45 and EP and they are doing great.

Is there much of a live scene there?

Eh, it’s decent around here. The Cincinnati music scene is trying to come back. Every year it seems to get a little better.

What’s the reaction been like in the local press?

Quite honestly, most of the press for our releases have not been local. We’ve got some love from Wax Poetics and Okayplayer, but locally we haven’t got much attention yet. I should probably make more of an effort to make local press aware of our existence.

Have you had much radio support there?

A lot of the local college radio stations have supported us, especially our vinyl releases. College and independent radio is really where our type of music thrives in the States.

Have you had much reaction worldwide yet?

Like I said, the worldwide reaction has been stronger than the local reaction. We work with P-Vine Records in Japan, who released our first album last October and just released The Jive Turkeys’ full-length debut. In addition, our 45s have been very well received in Europe. And even though we’ve got distribution through Fat Beats, I still take a lot of orders direct because I like interacting with our customers directly. And I’d say more than half of our 45 orders come from Europe, which is great in my mind. It’s also great to link up with record stores in Europe and work with them directly to make sure they’ve got our records.

Where do you go from here?

2010 is looking to be a big year for us. We put out 6 new releases in 2009 and that will probably be the least we do in 2010. The Jive Turkeys have their full-length debut, Bread & Butter, coming out in the spring. Othello & DJ Vajra’s album, The Required Taste, will be coming out around the same time. Hopefully Ikebe Shakedown will be putting out their debut full-length next year as well. And we’ve got plans for several interesting 45s as well. And that’s just what we’ve got planned! I’m sure we’ll have plenty more ideas come along as the year approaches.

Ultimately, my goal for Colemine is really simple: to put out music that I love. I’m not worried about pleasing any particular type of listener or critic or limiting Colemine to a particular genre. I simply want to put out music that I love and believe in, whether it be Funk, Soul, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Blues, Gospel, whatever. It’s really selfish, but it’s what I want to do. I simply hope I can continue to find new artists to work with and continue to move soul music forward.

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