High school teacher and record label founder Terry Cole is traveling the country delivering 45s
Terry Cole is the founder and owner of Colemine Records, an independent label headquartered in Ohio, began after he and a band mate wanted to release an album under a legitimate looking label, and has now left a wake of 30 different 45s and a twenty-track compilation CD of Motown and Funk artists. Earlier this week, he stopped by Twist and Shout Records as part of a nation-wide tour to tell record stores about his label. "It's just overwhelming, the number of shops in the states," he says. "It was kind of frustrating trying to get our records into all these different shops via e-mail or phone or something. That's just a clusterfuck. These places get hit like that all the time."
What he is not doing is setting up booths in the corner, Comic-Con style. Nor is he going out of his way to push the Colemine Records releases. He was, at the moment we found him, in the jazz section, shopping.
He isn't travelling across the country from record store to record store for his own attention. This guy loves music. This guy puts music above all else. That, of course, is why he started a record label to begin with.
"We had pressed some CDs up when I was in college, and I wanted to make it look legit, so I made up a label to make it look like we were signed," he explains. "At the time I was really into Daptone [Records], and trip and soul stuff, really inspired by what they were doing. We were like, 'they're killing it with 45s, why can't we?'"
After independently pressing and releasing a small catalog of personal projects and underground funk artists, Cole landed on an oft-forgotten method of spreading the word: a label tour.
Cole spends most of the year as a high school science teacher in Ohio, creating a "yin and yang," as he describes it, between academics and music.
"I love it. I think doing that keeps me interested in this [Colemine Records] and doing this keeps me interested in that," he says. "It's a lot of fucking time, but it's a good balance."
At the end of the most recent school year, Cole decided hit the road for the summer, driving from state to state, record store to record store, personally delivering the copies.
"It's my attempt at the very, very old school technique of building relationships person to person," he said. "The long term payoff will be huge though. They know who I am. We've met and shot the shit. I'm a real person, not just some e-mail or some company."
Colemine Records' twenty-song compilation CD is available right now at Twist & Shout, your own transportation to Tarantino-esque opening credits sequence.
"We're not trying to recreate old records, but if you listen to those old records, you catch a definite vibe, and I think we're trying to capture that vibe," he says. "If you like that vibe of old Otis Redding or the vibe of old Motown, you'll probably like what we're doing. It's just dirty, shitty funk."
Cole plans on continuing to ride the wave that the record label's initial splash has made, pressing more music, distributing more vinyl, and meeting more people.
"What I am doing is very unorthodox, yeah, extremely old school," he says. "I will literally have about 10,000 miles on my car by the time I'm done."
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