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Certainly So Makes a Splash at Deep Dive

Deep Dive celebrates its anniversary and continues to bring in national performances.

Tanner Gray from Certainly So performing at Deep Dive. (Bec Legato/Ithaca Week)

A Deep Dive into a Local Music Venue

With the one-year anniversary of Deep Dive, the performance space continues to celebrate musicians nationwide, including Certainly So, a Nashville-based indie-rock group. 


Exterior of Deep Dive in Ithaca (Bec Legato/Ithaca Week)

TJ Schapner, an Ithaca College alumnus and the co-owner of Deep Dive wanted to focus on creating an inclusive and safe music venue that is open to everyone 18 years and older. After working in music education, he wanted to create a venue that would elicit more student participation and give them music opportunities in the local area.  

He wanted it to be “a place for everyone [that] was inclusive for anyone, and a place that most importantly feels safe, surrounding nightlife. That’s not always like the easiest thing to guarantee but that’s a big part of our mission is to create a safe space for everyone and have a small amount of patience for those that don’t agree with that.”

The Deep Dive space has been a music performance space since 2000, originally opened as Castaways and hosting multiple performers including Schapner himself when he was still a student. Schapner said, “That night, in particular, was the most educational thing that I did in Ithaca.” 

TJ wanted to avoid labeling Deep Dive with a particular genre, even though he acknowledged that a majority of the sound of Ithaca is reggae-centric. 

TJ Schapner (Bec Legato/Ithaca Week)

“I am hoping that it’s not pigeonholing [Deep Dive] into anything. You know, I’m trying I’m trying very carefully to not program too much of the same thing… I don’t want people like, ah, that’s the jam band place, or oh, that’s the punk rock place.” He said. “I wanted to just each event be its own thing.”

Defining Indie

Certainly So, who performed at Deep Dive on September 9th, tends to stray away from labeling the genre that makes up their band, saying, “We actually like to ask people that question. How would they describe our band?” 

From Left to Right: Tanner Gray, Zach Corder, Colby Wilson, and Chase Porter from Certainly So performing at Deep Dive. (Bec Legato/Ithaca Week)

They eventually fell back on the decision that they’re generally indie rock, gaining a lot of inspiration from artists like John Mayer and The Beatles. 

Ashlynn Richardson, a local musician who attended the concert commented that their presence on the stage inspired them to get up on the scene as well. 

Their debut album, “Future Self Only Dreams” was self-described as being very intentional while “Dreams of Green” was more of an outlier. It allowed them to include some of the songs that did not make it onto their initial album while also experimenting with the Country and Americana sound that makes up a lot of the music in Nashville. 

Their next album will reflect the sounds from their first album. However, they joked that future albums could be something completely different with them constantly experimenting with how their instruments can work in harmony together.

Looking Back on Deep Dive

Schapner recounted his year as a whole saying, “I think bringing people to Ithaca and then having Ithaca go out into the world is really important… I’m kind of embracing it, but keeping it in a safe place. Because too much growth can be a problem. And I love Ithaca for what it is right now. But at the same time, I’m ready for it to pop off. And it’s basically like an investment into the future.”

He continued, “Everyone says that community is a verb, it’s something that you do, it’s not a noun, you know, it’s an action. And so, by encouraging community with different artists, and even people that I talked to, like booking agents and managers that don’t come to the shows, we have a community, and I can call upon them, and they can call upon me.”

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