Colemine Records is a labor of love — two dudes doing the work of many to get out into the world the modern and old school Funk & Soul music they love. They do get some help, of course. Although they work long hours, and only pay themselves enough to live simply, they aren’t literally giving up food for Funk…and yet, they aren’t living like Richie Finestra from HBO’s Vinyl.
Beloved By Bands, As Well As Funk & Soul Fans
Colemine Records is increasingly becoming one of the leading Funk & Soul music labels because of their multiple, exciting new releases, like Out On The Coast by Sure Fire Soul Ensemble. More & more often, whenever I hear about a new Funk or Soul band I get excited about — they’re on Colemine. In addition, they license music from more well known bands on the Funk & Soul music scene to put out vinyl 45s and other special editions like Orgone’s gorgeous Beyond The Sun vinyl package.
I sat down with Terry Cole on a sublime, warm day in October at Plaid Room Records in Loveland. It’s a lovely little town outside Cincinnati, along the scenic, Little Miami River. A beautiful bike path runs through it along the river & through the woods. Several restaurants & bars were packed with people on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
Loveland has a real nice vibe. It’s not so ironic that they’re emanating love for Funk & Soul music from tiny Loveland and out into the world for all to enjoy.
Since I keep hearing so much great music coming from Colemine Records, and I was in Ohio, I decided to go meet Terry & Bob Cole to learn more about what they do and why they do it. Read the interview below as we talk about how the music business works, and the astonishing record releases from Colemine Records…
Listen to some of the best of Colemine Records, here in this Spotify playlist while you read…
We get to interact directly to 125-150 shops. We know each other personally, and trust our recommendations. We give them promos, etc. You don’t always get that level of service from major labels.
One of the strengths we have as a label is that we always try to keep the bands supplied with product. If they’re touring a lot like Orgone or Sure Fire Soul Ensemble, that’s money they can make for themselves on tour. If we can keep them supplied with records, and they sell them on the road it’s money in their pocket. It’s not really us doing anything, so they get to keep all that money. For a band being supplied with product, that’s a good thing.
As a label, we want slow consistent growth…to be a consistent source of quality that bands and shops trust. I wouldn’t give that up for anything, even if it meant accelerating the rate of growth and getting more people to know us. As long as we put ourselves out there as a label where people can always discover great music, we’re happy.
JG: How do you find, approach, and form a relationship with the bands you want to work with?
It’s usually very obvious when it will be a great relationship. When we met Steve Haney from Jungle Fire, we clicked right away, and then he pushed people our way.
There’s a certain sound that the label has. We have a niche thing and people come to expect certain things from this label & brand and we don’t want to upset that. This is the label’s strength…we have that certain sound that attracts bands & fans.
JG: How do you support them, and help them with marketing, etc?
And, we have great distribution. We do social media, and outside that we don’t get too crazy with the marketing. Hiring someone to do it was a big step. It feels like a waste of money to pay for advertising. Then we think, “This has a lot of potential. Let’s pay somebody to promote it and see what happens.” Then it all works out and it’s worth it.
It’s hard to spend money on marketing early in the life of a label because it’s hard to throw down $2000 on marketing when you have $8000 riding on physical product. And then, as we do more & more, we get more confident and feel better about spending money, which ultimately grows a band and the label.
JG: How would you describe the process of signing a band to releasing a record, and continuing to make sales after the first rush of publicity?
The process for us is — once the music is done, I do the artwork. Once the band is cool with the artwork, we order the CDs, tapes, and vinyl. Once we have the records in hand, at that time, we set a street date. Then we do orders with stores, offer the pre-sale to our subscribers, and start building up hype about 3 weeks from the street date.
We’ll do a little online advertising to drum up digital sales, get some good press, a few good write-ups, and then it’s the easy, fun time to just push the record.
JG: What motivates & impels you guys to keep putting out cool music?
It’s really fun finding a band that has good music and be able to get that to people that want it. It’s just genuinely enjoyable. And there is so much in the pipeline for us right now. It’s awesome! It’s so cool that this is our job, and this is what we do on a daily basis.
The shop & the label really compliment each other because now we can see why people buy things. And we see the big picture of the industry. We see the entire spectrum, which helps us learn to work smarter. We can see what other shops want and position ourselves so they are more likely to work with us, and want to bring our product in. They compliment each other really well.
One of my favorite things about having the store is getting to be kind of in the know what’s new and getting to turn people on to that. Whether it’s our releases or not, it’s nice to tun people on to music we’re excited about, like the new Frightners record, for example. That’s a good feeling.
JG: What else should people know about Colemine Records?
Dig deep into the ever-growing catalog of Colemine Records at https://www.coleminerecords.com/. Check out impressive new vinyl LPs like Out On The Coast by Sure Fire Soul Ensemble and the self-titled record from Durand Jones & The Indications, as well as dope 45s by AJ & The Jiggawatts and The Gripsweats…and much more.
Follow & like Colemine Records on Facebook to stay abreast of their new releases — https://www.facebook.com/colemine45.