Funky Poetic Bootlegs is the debut project by Richard Cole on the Amari Communications label. Mostly recorded on 4 track between 1987-2009 with overdubs and mixing done in Audacity during 2022-2023, Funky Poetic Bootlegs is an avant-garde take on the funk with weird noises, backward sounds and plenty of bass. Funky Poetic Bootlegs is currently in the mastering stages and will be released this summer. Two singles, We Funk (2 the Last Band) and Save Yourself are available on many streaming services. Richard discusses the journey to finally get Funky Poetic Bootlegs released. 



Q: How and when did your involvement with 4-Track Cassettes begin?


A: It started with my old band, Chaotic Beat around '88. My band mate and songwriting partner, Walter (Johnson) and I  bought a Yamaha MTX 4 track. We demoed a lot of songs with that machine. I continued using it long after the band until '99. I’m actually digitally archiving that stuff now. Not sure what we’ll do with it. 


Q: Had you thought about releasing the music at the time?


A: At the time it was unheard of to release music from the 4-track. It was mostly a songwriting tool for demos. We talked about releasing some of the songs on that medium, but sort of laughed it off. Many years later I heard about Cody ChestnuTT releasing his first album using 4-track cassette. 


Q: Was there an underground scene in St. Louis?


A: No. In the 80’s there were quite a few R&B/funk bands. One of which became DaKrash and was produced by Jesse Johnson. The Chaotic Beat were underground because we were really going out of our way not to sound like what was going on at the time. Plus we were more interested in recording than the stage. We did very little performance wise. It hurt us in a lot of ways, but we really developed our own sound. It's really helped me in what I do now.


Q: How did being unknown over the years help turn you into the music artist you are today?


A: It gave me the opportunity to study a lot about what works in all of the music scenes. It helped me to see that it's ok to be myself.


Q: What excites you to create music then and now?


A: I've always been moved by funk. I'm influenced by a lot of things, but I like funk. I won't deviate much from that.


Q: Were you ever involved in hip hop?


A: I've dabbled in all of its incarnations. There's a little bit on Funky Poetic Bootlegs. The track “Get 2 Know Ya”


Q: Talk about some of the other tracks on Funky Poetic Bootlegs. 


A: There's the singles We Funk (2 the Last Band)  and  'Save Yourself'. A couple of instrumentals 'Piscean Aquarium' and ‘Another Moment’ which is from the Chaotic Beat days. From about 1991. It’s inspired by Art of Noise ‘Moments in Love’. 


Q: What are your favorite tracks on the album?


A: 'Save Yourself', 'Rise', 'Experience in Love' just because it’s pure songwriting in that they have a beginning, middle and end. They're very complete songs for me.  'Rise' and 'Experience in Love' were the last songs written for the album. They both have a very spiritual meaning to me. 


Q: What was the motivation behind Funky Poetic Bootlegs this way as opposed to a state of the art studio recording? 


A: I just wanted a lo-fi feel to the tracks. I loved that hiss from the tapes from Prince bootlegs and The Beatles bootlegs from the Get Back sessions. Plus a lot of East Coast Hip Hop in the 90's pre-Biggie was recorded for that sort back pack/headphone experience. 


Q: How did you come up with the title?


A: I wanted a title that was cool sounding. Probably the main influence was Carolyn Fok/Cyrnai's 'Charred Blossoms' cassette.



Q: What do you miss from the old days and how does that compare to what you are doing now?


A: I'm finding I miss New Jack Swing (laughs). I have to find a way to be in on it should someone decide to bring it back. Plus with the return of vinyl, I’m enjoying a lot of what I loved about the 70’s and early 80’s. Lot of good feeling and memories from those days. 


Q: What impact has the internet had on you?


A: Huge. It started with MySpace for me. Then my own website and You Tube. Streaming is great. I love it for the exposure. I know it’s hard for an independent artist to get the streams and the revenue. I wish we had this in the 80’s. I love it and thankful it exists.


Q: Can you give us your take on what’s wrong or right with today’s current music industry / non-industry?


A: There's a lot that's been said that's wrong with the industry today. I think it’s harder to get deals now unless you get the million views on YouTube. 


Q: What do you have planned for the future?


A: I'm taking a break before starting the next album. I’m trying to finish creating a couple of comic books, but I’m taking a break before I start writing the next one. I want to do a proper album. It will be more state of the art recording wise than Funky Poetic.