Signing Story: Cliffdiver

Date Signed: Dec. 10, 2021

Label: SideOneDummy Records

Band Members: Joey Duffy, Briana Wright, vocals; Matt Ehler, Gilbert Erickson, guitars, vocals; Tyler Rogers, bass; Dony Nickles, saxophone; Eliot Cooper, drums

Type of Music: Emo Pop

Management: Joe Giordano - 918 Management

Booking: Christian Ellett & Andy Somers - Paladin Artists

Legal: Henderson Cole Law

Publicity: Natalie Schaffer (Big Picture Media) - [email protected]

Web: cliffdiverok.com

A&R: Thomas Dreux

Formed in 2018, Cliffdiver is made up of players from various Tulsa, OK acts. When they allowed singer Briana Wright to provide guest vocals on their 2020 single, “Gas City,” they knew she had to become a member. 

One day, the group’s attorney mentioned he’d been talking to SideOne-Dummy Records and casually namedropped them. The players were stoked, considering they grew up fascinated with the independent label’s notorious output. “The first albums that blew my mind were the Warped Tour compilations,” enthuses Joey Duffy, Cliffdiver’s other lead singer.

Speaking by phone with label co-founder Bill Armstrong, they were bowled over by his grasp of their artistic vision, which fearlessly explores the stages of grief. This was in stark contrast to other places that had shown interest. Still, the band did its due diligence, talking with other musicians who’d been on SideOne. The positive affirmations they received instilled confidence that they were making the right decision. 

Cliffdiver had previously been the recipient of other offers, but all seemed predatory. In contrast, SideOne’s terms were extremely favorable. “That was the one that made sense,” insists Duffy. “They believed in us and understood the vision.” The label’s willingness to speak aloud regarding mental health issues, a subject the band deeply cares about, made the deal inevitable.

The only thing they requested was permission to continue playing with other groups. Wright, for instance, is in an act called Nightingale. “Tyler [Rogers], the bassist, and I have a karaoke, pop punk, emo-type thing,” burbles Duffy. The ability to further participate in these outfits was subsequently written into their contract.

Duffy advises against accepting the first opportunity that comes a young artist’s way; always hold out for something better. Additionally, have faith and persist. “Keep going. Just don’t give up,” he intones. “I’m 34. There’s no timeline. You can do it.”