Kiasmos. Crystal Castles. Pendulum. Depeche Mode. Massive Attack. Despite all being incredibly talented electronic artists, they share another thing in common: they all have awesome group names. Having a cool name isn’t exactly a direct path to stardom, but it sure as hell helps if you have something that rolls off the tongue and looks great in print. That said, being a DJ or group with a less-than-catchy name doesn’t always hinder your ability to become famous by creating great music (Deadmau5 and Infected Mushroom spring to mind), but the main thing to keep in mind is that choosing a name should never be a flippant move.
The name you choose to identify your music is something you live with for your entire career. You’ll see it on posters, T-shirts, magazines, banners and naturally all over the internet, but if you dislike it? Tough luck. You should have picked something else! However, we hope that you take the time to choose a name that you’re 100% happy with, because who wants to live in regret?
Right now, we bet there are scores of unnamed DJs and groups out there who are likely going through steps like these:
If there is more than one person in the group, then asking each member to write down names and then throw them into a hat is a classic move, but it still works well if you literally have nothing else. Once everyone has put in several names, you could all read them in a group and see which one has the best reaction. If anything, it will be fun to hear all the bad ones too (and there will be bad ones). If you’re a DJ, then you could still write down anything that comes into your head, and ask friends and loved ones to pick the name they like the most. If it’s a landslide victory for one particular name, then go for it.
Looking to movies/books/TV/other acts
If the hat move doesn’t bring any good results, it’s always a good option to look to media you enjoy and see if something inspires you. There are likely dozens of groups who have names courtesy of characters or places from their favorite books and films. Also, it’s quite common to take song titles from other groups and use it for your own name. Radiohead, for example, was originally a song by the Talking Heads, and Ladytron was a track performed by Roxy Music.
Sometimes, you have artist names which only the members understand. These are often better, as it’s far more likely that no one else will have anything similar. For instance, Daft Punk was reportedly born when the two founders’ (Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter) previous group named Darlin’ was described in a review as ‘a bunch of daft punk.’ Yes, it can be that easy. Although it’s not exactly an inside joke, Avicci (or Tim Bergling) has something unique, as he is said to have taken the name from the word meaning ‘lowest level of hell’ in the Buddhism religion.
Change your own name!
Do you know the names Adam Richard Wiles, Pierre Guetta, or Martijn Gerard Garritsen? Perhaps. But it’s more likely you know the names Calvin Harris, David Guetta, and Martin Garrix, respectively. These world-famous DJs all altered their names for one reason or another, so that’s certainly an option if you don’t like the idea of picking a name completely from scratch.
Thinking of the internet
Once you’ve settled on a name, it’s important to think about people searching that particular name on the internet. SEO (search engine optimization) should be taken into consideration, because the more original your group or DJ name is, the easier it is to find on Google. Altering the spelling can often be a good trick, as the best examples of switching a common word is perhaps gorillas to Gorillaz or churches to CHVRCHES
Does anyone else have it?
Although you might think your new band name is super innovative and there’s no way on this planet that it could already exist… it’s still good to look. Type the words ‘band’ or ‘artist’ or ‘music’ after your name to double check, as it can get messy if you decide to use a name that has already been taken, even if it’s a small group on the other side of the world. It’s also vital to check the availability of your group or DJ name as a website, as it would be a shame to have to add further words simply for your own homepage.
Finally, once you’ve settled on the name, just stick to it and stop thinking of more names! You’ll probably be sitting in a room forever if you can’t simply decide on a name. Be happy with what you chose and roll with it.