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Recommended If You Like: Tame Impala, Radiohead, Kanye West, Cornelius, The Flaming Lips, Of Montreal, Kid Cudi, Fishmans, Pink Floyd, Homeshake

Genre(s): Indie/Alternative, Psychedelic/Space Rock

Formed in small town North Carolina by 3 close friends, Swansgate was originally set up in the likeness of a jazz trio. The musical direction of frontman Stu Draughn manifested as a series of long, mostly instrumental, compositions for keys, drums, and bass.


Over time, the direction of the band evolved into a more symphonic approach to making music. With more and more elements being added to each composition, Swansgate decided to enlist drummer Mike Kaloudis so that founding member and multi-instrumentalist Michael McKinney could commit to playing electric guitar and keyboards. 


Their current sound leans toward Alternative/Indie with elements of psychedelic/space rock, electronic, shibuya-kei, hip-hop, and more. Their live set includes precisely composed songs that experiment with genre-fusing and avant-garde sounds; while also keeping in mind accessibility and spontaneity so that each show is a unique, fun, and memorable experience. Currently based out of Charlotte, NC, their debut album, “Becoming Someone” was released independently on April 29, 2022.

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Becoming Someone LP

"[Alternative/Indie] band Swansgate bring fresh waves of luminous melodies and penetrating rhythms on heady new album "Becoming Someone", [released] April 29 [2022] on streaming platforms. Musically, the band utilize psychedelic guitars, bass and piano with tinges of jazz and experimental influence layered with rich synths, drum and MIDI programming to create their distinctively tropical signature sound. Although "Becoming Someone" is perfect listening for the beach, it's deep lyrical themes and real-life inspiration make it ideal for reflection and deep introspection."

James Moore 

Independent Music Promotions, Inc.


"Swansgate hit the sweet spot between psychedelia, prog, pop and jazz with their intriguing and endearing new single and video Embedded Rhythm..."

Darryl Sterdan

"Between melody and funky, the sound of Swansgate can vary from song to song but remain within the same realm of rock.   "Drunken Limbo" starts things off and it can sound like Radiohead while also just hitting that deep groove.  In some ways, this video overall reminds me of the sound of What Made Milwaukee Famous.   With the guitars, I whistle along during the first song and it does feel a bit catchy in that way."

Joshua Macala

 raised by cassettes (blog)


Notable Venues

Lincoln Theatre (Raleigh, NC)

Petra's (Charlotte, NC)

The Milestone Club (Charlotte, NC)

The Flat Iron (Greensboro, NC)

The Night Rider (Raleigh, NC)

Fleetwood's (Asheville, NC)

Skylark Social Club (Charlotte, NC)

Keg N Cue (Charlotte, NC)

The Empourium (Kernersville, NC)

Somewhere Else Tavern (Greensboro, NC)

Hattie's Tap & Tavern (Charlotte, NC)

Slim's (Raleigh, NC)

IMURJ (Raleigh, NC)


Positive Reviews


1st Place - Band Competition

Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival (Fall 2018)

For business inquiries, email

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