Dead Oceans is an American independent record label based on Bloomington, Indiana with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Berlin. Dead Oceans is a label included in Secretly Group, which also includes Secretly Canadian and Jagjaguwar. Secretly Group includes the three record labels as well as a music publisher known as Secretly Publishing, representing artists, writers, filmmakers, producers, and comedians.
Darius Van Arman
|Country of origin||United States|
In 2007, Phil Waldorf left Misra Records after nearly a decade of managing the label to form Dead Oceans with Chris Swanson, Ben Swanson, Darius Van Arman, and Jonathan Cargill of Secretly Canadian and Jagjaguwar.
Before becoming the head of Dead Oceans, Waldorf was a Virginia native with a teenage love of skateboarding and punk rock seven-inches. He left home to go to college in Athens, GA where he worked at the college radio station, WUOG, as their music director, and in the city’s underground music scene. While there, Waldorf came to know future indie bands Neutral Milk Hotel and Olivia Tremor Control in their formative years, going to early house shows before both bands rose to underground fame.
In 1998, Waldorf moved to New York City when he was hired by the iconic record store, Other Music. While working at Other Music, Waldorf also managed an indie label, Misra Records. After some time, Chris Swanson and Waldorf became friends and began talking about the possibility of working together.
“I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
In 2007, Waldorf officially started Dead Oceans with the Swanson brothers, Van Arman, and Cargill. The addition of Dead Oceans to Secretly Canadian and Jagjaguwar’s partnership led to the formation of Secretly Group.
As the label began, some of their earliest releases include titles such as Phosphorescent’s Pride, Dirty Projectors’ Rise Above, and Akron/Family’s Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free – ranging from folk to art punk to groove-y rock. Since then, Dead Oceans has grown to include Julianna Barwick, Mitski, Phoebe Bridgers, Japanese Breakfast, Ryley Walker, The Tallest Man on Earth, Kevin Morby, Marlon Williams, and many others.
In 2015, Secretly Group began a partnership with The Numero Group as well.
- A Place to Bury Strangers
- Julianna Barwick
- Bear in Heaven
- Better Oblivion Community Center
- Bill Fay
- Bishop Allen
- Blackout Beach
- Dirty Projectors
- Dub Thompson
- Durand Jones and the Indications
- The Donkeys
- The Explorers Club
- Frog Eyes
- Gauntlet Hair
- The Good Ones
- Japanese Breakfast
- Alex Lahey
- The Luyas
- Mark McGuire
- Kevin Morby
- Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band
- Night Beds
- On Fillmore
- Phoebe Bridgers
- Tom Rogerson
- Strand of Oaks
- Kane Strang
- Sun Airway
- The Tallest Man on Earth
- These Are Powers
- John Vanderslice
- Ryley Walker
- White Hinterland
- Marlon Williams
Awards and honors
A2IM LIBERA AWARDS
- Bear In Heaven - I Love You, It's Cool - Light Bulb Marketing Award (2013 finalist)
- Phosphorescent - Muchacho - Album of the Year (2014 finalist)
- Ryley Walker - Golden Sings That Have Been Sung - Best Country/Americana/Folk Album (2017 finalist)
- Mitski - "Your Best American Girl" - Video of the Year (2017 finalist)
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