Dance Gavin Dance, Blue Swan Records, and Swancore

Blue Swan Records, a record label founded by Will Swan, and swancore, a genre associated with bands with a connection to Will Swan and others, are things that can be associated with one common denominator: Dance Gavin Dance. Dance Gavin Dance is a band with a young attitude and a surprisingly complex and complicated history but unlike with other bands, Dance Gavin Dance and its members, for the most part, have each embraced the band’s past musicians by always keeping past eras of the band alive. Below we’ve gone over the band themself, the record label founded by Will Swan, and several bands that are considered Swancore and what they’re so special.

Dance Gavin Dance

Dance Gavin Dance started in 2005 with Jon Mess, Will Swan, Matt Mingus, Eric Lodge, and most notably Jonny Craig as the rocky history of Dance Gavin Dance started with Craig. Jonny Craig was in the band from the founding until 2007 after the band had recorded and released Downtown Battle Mountain. From Craig, Dance Gavin Dance enlisted Kurt Travis for the next two albums, “Dance Gavin Dance” and “Happiness”, but that would be his last official recording with the band. From Kurt Travis, Dance Gavin Dance returned to Jonny Craig for the apparent sequel to their debut album, “Downtown Battle Mountain” with “Downtown Battle Mountain II”. Finally, after another predictable falling out with Jonny Craig, Dance Gavin Dance enlisted Tillian Pearson in 2012, who has been the band’s vocalist ever since and has released a total of five full-lengths with the vocalist. However, in recent years Dance Gavin Dance has enlisted its former vocalists for special concerts and events, and since Tillian joined the group, they have even been featured in a “Punk Goes” installment.

Blue Swan Records

Blue Swan Records was created by Dance Gavin Dance guitarist Will Swan in 2013 and has featured a very unique roster of bands, some multi-signed to Rise Records as well as Blue Swan Records, and others in some cases. The record label has appeared to be more of a stepping stone or a passthrough for some bands, while others have stayed on the label post getting signed elsewhere. To see a band signed to more than one label could mean a few things, but more than likely it showed that each label provided the artist with something the other can not or simply does not. While being on two labels could be overwhelming or confusing, it must be worth it varying on the artist themself or the general connection to either label. Overall, Blue Swan Records has been a label dedicated to its small and unique roster. Blue Swan Records has also held an annual music festival called Swanfest that has featured Blue Swan Records bands as well as other swancore-labeled groups.


Swancore, while not a real genre, has been used time and time again from not only fans of Dance Gavin Dance but bands in general that have been compared to Dance Gavin Dance due to similar, experimental elements and overall familiar sound. Dance Gavin Dance themselves have in the past and will continue to, include experimental elements in each of their albums. Some examples of experimental elements found in Dance Gavin Dance’s music have been the inclusion of rap segments in songs, and other elements but more often than not the band included some interesting production values.

Swancore Bands

When it came to bands actually considered swancore, we have bands directly linked to Dance Gavin Dance or Blue Swan Records, and of course even lesser-known bands with similar styles to the bands listed below, or Dance Gavin Dance. Swancore bands typically include experimental styles similar to Dance Gavin Dance but also generally fill the genres of post-hardcore, metalcore, and even progressive metal.

Current and Former Blue Swan Records Bands


Eidola was without a doubt one of the most interesting bands with a link to Blue Swan Records as the band had the most progressive sound of any of the other bands, and have the most unique atmosphere overall.

Secret Band

Secret Band, out of all of the other bands to feature at least one Dance Gavin Dance member, remains one of the most active and interesting bands that has a relation to Dance Gavin Dance. Secret Band was perhaps the most experimental band of all bands listed to have ever been with Blue Swan Records, but the band is currently signed to Rise Records.


Sianvar, like D.R.U.G.S. and The Sound of Animals Fighting, was considered a supergroup, although not well known and currently considered to be on a hiatus, the band was composed of members of Dance Gavin Dance, Hail the Sun, and Stolas. Stolas and Hail the Sun were both previously signed to Blue Swan Records Records but have either signed elsewhere or disbanded.

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One Comment

  1. Sianvar had Michael Franzino and Joey Arrington from A Lot Like Birds as well which was Kurt Travis’(previous vocalist for DGD) pervious band.

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