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Dance Gavin Dance is an American rock band from Sacramento, California, formed in 2005. The band currently consists of Tilian Pearson (lead vocals), Jon Mess (unclean vocals), Will Swan (lead guitar, programming, keyboard, backing vocals), Tim Feerick (bass guitar) and Matthew Mingus (drums, percussion). The band formerly included lead vocalists Jonny Craig and Kurt Travis. Swan and Mingus are the only band members who have appeared on every studio album.

Dance Gavin Dance
Dance Gavin Dance performing at the Minneapolis, MN date of Warped Tour 2017.jpg
Dance Gavin Dance performing on the Vans Warped Tour in 2017.
Background information
OriginSacramento, California, U.S.
Years active2005–present
Associated acts
Past members

The band released their debut extended play (EP), Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean, in 2006 and signed to Rise Records thereafter. They released their full-length debut studio album, Downtown Battle Mountain, in May 2007. Craig and guitarist Sean O'Sullivan left the band and were replaced by vocalist Kurt Travis and guitarist Zachary Garren. The band released their second full-length album, Dance Gavin Dance, in August 2008. Vocalist Jon Mess and bass guitarist Eric Lodge left the group before the album's release and Lodge was replaced by bassist Jason Ellis. Happiness was released as the band's third studio album in June 2009 and is the group's first release to feature guitarist Will Swan pursuing screaming vocals along with guitar parts for an album.[1]

In 2010, vocalists Jonny Craig and Jon Mess, and bassist Eric Lodge returned to the group and recorded their fourth studio album, Downtown Battle Mountain II, which was released in March 2011. Craig and Lodge left the band in 2012, leading to former Tides of Man vocalist Tilian Pearson, bass guitarist Tim Feerick, and guitarist Josh Benton joining the band. They released their fifth studio album, Acceptance Speech in October 2013, charting at No. 42 on the Billboard 200; Benton left the band shortly after the album's release. They released their sixth studio album, Instant Gratification, in April 2015, charting at No. 32 on the Billboard 200. In late 2015, the band embarked on their 10 year anniversary tour with A Lot Like Birds, Slaves, Strawberry Girls, and Dayshell. In 2016, the group released their live album, Tree City Sessions, and their seventh studio album, Mothership. The following year, the band released a cover of the Bruno Mars single "That's What I Like" for Punk Goes Pop Vol. 7, a stand-alone single "Summertime Gladness", and toured on the Vans Warped Tour. They released their eighth studio album, Artificial Selection, on June 8, 2018 and another stand-alone single, "Head Hunter".



2005–07: Formation and Downtown Battle MountainEdit

Dance Gavin Dance formed shortly after the dissolution of guitarist Will Swan, drummer Matt Mingus and bassist Eric Lodge's previous band, Farewell Unknown. After recruiting unclean vocalist Jon Mess, clean vocalist Jonny Craig joined the band after leaving his former band Ghost Runner On Third due to conflicts within the group. They released a self-produced extended play (EP), Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean, which was subsequently re-released on November 14, 2006, through Rise Records.[2]

Their debut studio album, Downtown Battle Mountain, produced by Kris Crummett, was released on May 15, 2007, on Rise Records. The band toured with American post-hardcore groups Alesana, A Day To Remember, and Pierce the Veil in support of the album.[3]

In August 2007, guitarist Sean O'Sullivan departed from the group and was replaced by Zachary Garren. In November 2007, singer Craig left the band, and when asked to re-join was denied due to tensions and personal conflicts with the group's other members.[4]

2008–09: Dance Gavin Dance and HappinessEdit

Shortly after Jonny Craig's departure, the band held auditions to recruit a replacement clean vocalist. Nic Newsham of American post-hardcore band Gatsby's American Dream was offered to join, however chose not to despite later featuring on the song "Uneasy Hearts Weigh The Most" on their self-titled 2008 album. Other singers that auditioned includes Kellin Quinn, Matt Geise, ans Thomas Dutton. Kurt Travis, formerly of the Sacramento based rock bands Five Minute Ride, O! The Joy, and No Not Constant, became the group's new clean vocalist.[5]

On April 20, 2008, Dance Gavin Dance entered the studio to record their self-titled second studio album with Kris Crummett.[6] The album was released on August 19, 2008.[7] Prior to the release of the album, but following the recording sessions, two original members, unclean vocalist Jon Mess and bassist Eric Lodge, departed from Dance Gavin Dance.[2] Following their departure, Will Swan pursued screaming vocal duties along with pursuing lead guitar, and Jason Ellis, formerly of Five Minute Ride, replaced Lodge on bass guitar. The group filmed a music video for the song "Me and Zoloft Get Along Just Fine", with director Robby Starbuck, which was released November 18, 2008. Jon Mess' vocals were lip-synced by Will Swan in the music video.

In February 2009, the band went into the studio as a five-piece to record the follow-up to their self-titled album, yet again with producer Kris Crummett. The resulting album, Happiness, was released on June 9, 2009, less than one year since the release of Dance Gavin Dance. Bassist Jason Ellis appears on Happiness, however left the group before its release, subsequently being replaced by Tim Feerick. AllMusic gave a mixed review of the album, writing, "Happiness bristles with the kind of overachiever eclecticism that's as impressive as it is divisive," but that two songs were marred by the "nasally realm of high school emo," leaving the listener unsatisfied with the experience.[8] A music video for the track "Tree Village" was released shortly after the album. The band embarked on tours with American rock bands Emarosa, Closure in Moscow, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, and others in support of the album.

On February 10, 2010, guitarist Zachary Garren was allegedly removed of the band's line-up due to personal conflicts with other members. Shortly after, Garren met drummer Ben Rosett and formed the math rock trio Strawberry Girls, now signed to Tragic Hero Records.[9] Dance Gavin Dance played the Soundwave festival as scheduled as a four-piece with Swan handling all guitar duties and Kurt Travis playing keyboards.

2010–12: Downtown Battle Mountain IIEdit

Jon Mess and Eric Lodge officially rejoined the band in mid-2010.[10] Josh Benton, former guitarist and bandmate of Kurt Travis in No Not Constant, took up guitar duties. In August Alternative Press said singer Kurt Travis and Dance Gavin Dance had officially parted ways in order for Jonny Craig to rejoin the band.[11] Mess stated in an interview with that if Jonny wasn't willing to rejoin, the band would've broken up.[12] Former guitarist Sean O'Sullivan rejoined the band for several home shows towards the end of 2010, returning the band to their Downtown Battle Mountain line-up. On March 8, 2011, the band released Downtown Battle Mountain II.

In March 2011, the band began their U.S. tour with Iwrestledabearonce, In Fear And Faith, and Just Like Vinyl, followed by a small European tour, culminating in two shows in London playing the original Downtown Battle Mountain in full on the first night and Downtown Battle Mountain II in full on the second night. The band also played at the 2011 Vans Warped Tour. In an April 2011 interview with Mind Equals Blown, Drummer Matt Mingus stated the band plans to release another album with the current, reunited lineup.[13] On August 20, 2012, Jonny Craig announced his departure from the band.[14]

2013–14: Acceptance SpeechEdit

On August 21, 2012, Dance Gavin Dance announced Craig's departure via Facebook, stating:[15]

When Jonny rejoined DGD, we were about to call it quits. Tired of touring and being away from home for 8 months of the year, we wanted to shake things up. We thought it'd be fun to do a dbm sequel with Jonny and go out on that. We recorded dbm2 and felt it would be a disservice to our fans not to let them hear the new record live. We did a tour and felt rejuvenated but Jonny wasn't in a good place. After trying to convince him into getting help over warped tour, we canceled a headliner in November/December 2011 and told him we wouldn't tour until he sought out real help for his addiction. We got our good friend Matt Geise to fill in for a short run we did earlier this year while Jonny was in rehab. He was released and wanted to be out on the road immediately. We weren't sure how things would go so we only booked a small portion of the all stars tour to see if Jonny could still function as our lead singer. After a week and a half things were not going well. Everything came to a head when Jonny was publicly scolded by the owner of Sumerian Records for multiple offenses. It was then that we realized that our time with Jonny had reached its end. We wish Jonny the best In his future endeavors but he will no longer be a part of DGD. We however will continue playing and writing music because it's what we love doing.

Tilian Pearson, formerly of Tides of Man, was asked to replace Craig as clean vocalist during the making of his solo album, Material Me (2013). Pearson, along with guitarist Josh Benton and bass guitarist Tim Feerick, were confirmed as official members by Jon Mess. The band's fifth album, Acceptance Speech, was released on October 8, 2013 with Rise Records. The album was produced by Matt Malpass. Shortly after the shooting of their music video for their single "Strawberry Swisher Pt. 3", Josh Benton parted ways with the band in order to focus on his career as an audio engineer and producer. Aric Garcia of post-hardcore band Hail the Sun replaces Benton for The Acceptance Speech Tour and The Rise Records tour. On September 17, Dance Gavin Dance released a b-side from Acceptance Speech, entitled "Pussy Vultures".

2014–15: Instant Gratification and 10 year anniversaryEdit

On October 29, 2014, producer Kris Crummett announced that recording sessions for the band's sixth studio album were completed. In place of former member Josh Benton, Strawberry Girls and former Dance Gavin Dance guitarist Zachary Garren, Secret Band guitarist Martin Bianchini, and Hail the Sun guitarist and touring member Aric Garcia contributed their respective guitar parts on the album. On February 6, 2015, Rise Records released a teaser for the new album Instant Gratification, which was later released on April 14, 2015. On February 12, 2015, the band released the lead single, "On the Run". The second single, "We Own the Night", was released on March 12, 2015. The music video for "We Own the Night" was uploaded to the official Rise Records YouTube channel on May 7, 2015.[16] On April 2, the band premiered the music video for the song "Stroke God, Millionaire".

On February 19, 2015, the band's guitarist Will Swan published a post on Facebook revealing that the guitar pedalboard he uses to perform live with Secret Band, Dance Gavin Dance, and Sianvar was stolen at a show of February 14 on The Blue Swan Tour. He launched a GoFundMe account and asked fans to donate $2,500 to help purchase a replacement pedalboard.[17] The fund reached its goal within three hours of its launch.

Dance Gavin Dance toured as a supporting act on the Take Action! Tour with Memphis May Fire, Crown The Empire, and Palisades from March 10 to April 4, 2015.[18] In support of Instant Gratification, the band announced the Instant Gratification Tour, which took place from April 14 to May 8, 2015, across North America with supporting acts Polyphia, Hail The Sun, and Stolas. The band embarked on their headlining Australia tour from May 14 to 23, 2015, with opening acts Arcasia.[19] In celebration of the band's 10th anniversary, Dance Gavin Dance embarked on the 10 Year Anniversary tour with supporting acts A Lot Like Birds, Slaves, Dayshell, and Strawberry Girls from November 14 to December 19, 2015, in North America.[20]

2016–17: Tree City Sessions and MothershipEdit

On December 23, 2015, Rise Records revealed that Dance Gavin Dance were to release their upcoming seventh studio album the fall of 2016.[21]

The band performed at So What Music Festival in Grand Prairie, Texas on March 20, 2016.[22] They also performed at the Extreme Thing Sports & Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 2, 2016, with other bands such as Saosin, the Story So Far, the Maine, Mayday Parade, among several others.[23]

On March 2, 2016, the band announced their live studio album, Tree City Sessions, which was released on May 13, 2016. The album contains 12 live recorded songs performed in Sacramento, California at the Pus Cavern Studios. On May 10, 2016, the band announced the U.K. leg of their 10th anniversary tour that included vocalists Tilian Pearson, Kurt Travis, and Jonny Craig.[24] On July 11, the group announced their U.S. fall tour which took place from September 22 to October 27, 2016.[25]

On July 27, 2016, the band announced their seventh studio album, Mothership, with a scheduled release date of October 7, 2016. The lead single, "Chucky Vs. the Giant Tortoise", was released on August 18, 2016. The music video for "Betrayed By The Game" was released on September 16, 2016, and the music video for "Young Robot" was released on September 27, 2016. In support of the album, the band embarked on The Mothership Tour with supporting acts The Contortionist, Hail the Sun, Good Tiger, and The White Noise, which took place from September 22 to October 27, 2016.[26]

Dance Gavin Dance embarked on the European leg of their 10-year anniversary tour from November 3 to 26, 2016.[27] The band embarked on a tour with American rock bands CHON and Eidola in February and March, entitled The Robot with Human Hair Vs. Chonzilla Tour.

On June 1, 2017, the band released a studio cover of the Bruno Mars single "That's What I Like" on YouTube.[28] On June 15, 2017, they released the stand-alone single "Summertime Gladness."[29] The group toured on the Journey's Right Foot Stage on the Vans Warped Tour from June to August.

On October 4, 2017, the band announced a U.S. tour, consisting of the group performing their seventh studio album Mothership in its entirety through December, with support from Polyphia, Icarus the Owl, and Wolf & Bear.[30]

2018–present: Artificial Selection and ninth studio albumEdit

On October 17, 2017, the band announced that recording of their upcoming eighth studio album had begun and that the album should expect a release date of Summer 2018.[31] The band embarked on a headlining European tour from March 3 to 22, 2018, with Veil Of Maya and Thousand Below as support.[32] The band announced their eighth studio album, Artificial Selection, on March 23, 2018.[33] The band released the lead single off the album, "Midnight Crusade", on April 4, 2018, accompanied with its music video. On May 3, 2018 the band released the song "Son of Robot". They released the song "Care", accompanied by a music video, on May 24, 2018. "Count Bassy" and its music video were released three days prior to the album on June 5, 2018. In support of the album, the band supported American post-hardcore Underoath on two 2018 tours and embarked on their headlining Artificial Selection Tour, with Periphery, Hail the Sun, and Don Broco, in 2019. The band held their first annual SwanFest on March 30, 2019 at the City National Grove of Anaheim in Anaheim, California.

A new single, "Head Hunter", was released on March 22, 2019.[34] The band's clean vocalist Tilian Pearson confirmed that Dance Gavin Dance will release their ninth studio album in 2020, with new singles coming out in 2019.[35]

Musical style, influences, and side-projectsEdit

Dance Gavin Dance's musical style has been described as post-hardcore,[36][37][38] math rock,[36][39] experimental rock,[40][41] progressive rock,[36][42] screamo,[42] jazz fusion[42] and emo.[38] Critics have compared the band to fellow post-hardcore peers the Fall of Troy, Alexisonfire and Circa Survive.[42] Their 2011 release Downtown Battle Mountain II is said to feature “the same structuring as The Mars Volta album The Bedlam In Goliath in that it never lets up”.[43]

The band has personally cited bands Glassjaw, Earth Wind & Fire, Deftones, Temptations, At the Drive-In, Cursive, Explosions in the Sky, MF Doom, and Radiohead as influences.[44][45]

Former vocalist Jonny Craig was most recently the frontman of Slaves from 2014 until his departure in 2019. Former vocalist Kurt Travis handled vocal duties for the band, A Lot Like Birds, from 2011 until 2016, and is the currently in Royal Coda, whereas former guitarist Zachary Garren has started his band Strawberry Girls, and lead guitarist Will Swan currently operates his own record label, Blue Swan Records, and pursues guitar in the supergroup Sianvar, Royal Coda, and Secret Band, which also features Jon Mess and Matthew Mingus. Former guitarist Josh Benton also works as a record producer and has produced Dance Gavin Dance's live studio album, Tree City Sessions (2016), as well as a majority of the releases on Blue Swan Records.

Band membersEdit




Studio albums


Live albums


  • People You Knew / Perfect (2011)
  • Summertime Gladness / Pussy Vultures (2017)
  • Head Hunter (2019)

Compilation appearances

Music videosEdit

Year Song Director(s) Albums
2008 "Me and Zoloft Get Along Just Fine" Robby Starbuck[51] Dance Gavin Dance
2009 "Tree Village" Gareth McGilvray[52] Happiness
2013 "Strawberry Swisher, Pt. 3" Dillon Novak[53] Acceptance Speech
2014 "The Death of the Robot with Human Hair" John Howe
2015 "We Own the Night" Raul Gonzo[54] Instant Gratification
"Stroke God, Millionaire" John Howe[55]
2016 "Betrayed By The Game" Samuel Halleen[56] Mothership
"Young Robot" John Howe
2017 "Inspire the Liars" Samuel Halleen and John Howe
"That's What I Like" Samuel Halleen Punk Goes Pop Vol. 7
"Summertime Gladness" Mount Emult Non-album Single[57]
2018 "Midnight Crusade" Samuel Halleen[58] Artificial Selection
"Care" Max Moore[59]
"Count Bassy" Mount Emult[60]
"Son of Robot" John Howe[61]
2019 "Head Hunter" Samuel Halleen[62] Non-album Single


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  2. ^ a b "Dance Gavin Dance Bio". AllMusic.
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  5. ^ "Dance Gavin Dance - Dance Gavin Dance (album review)". Sputnikmusic.
  6. ^ "Video Interview Live From HARDTIMES.CA -". March 11, 2008. Archived from the original on September 28, 2010. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  7. ^ "RISE releases". Rise Records. Archived from the original on August 21, 2008. Retrieved August 19, 2008.
  8. ^ Monger, James. "allmusic ((( Happiness > Overview )))". allmusic. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
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