What is in a name?

I can tell you from experience that coming up with a new name for your party, act or even a DJ name, isn’t quite as easy as just plucking one out of the air and cracking on with your venture. Oh no. BM (which is ‘Before MySpace’ in case you were wondering) you could have a DJ in Thailand with the name DJ Craze, whilst you had the DJ Craze scratching away, doing his thing in the US. There may be no grounds of plagiarism and the Thai DJ was just innocently going around his business thinking he’s the only DJ Craze in the world. Fast forward to our plugged in world, where any party, producer or DJ needs to have their Website, Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, Instagram and anything else with their name all over it.

Let’s use Disclosure as an example. When they first came out, I ended up buying several tracks off iTunes by another Disclosure, as there were (and are) several bands by the same name. Now they are a household name, but they don’t have a uniform handle across all their platforms. Their website is www.disclosureofficial.com, their soundcloud is /disclosuremusic, their Facebook /disclosureuk. Only those lovely people over at Twitter and Instagram have granted them just Disclosure on its own, after having something different earlier on in their career. Starting off on their path, I bet neither Guy nor Howard, even considered any of this stuff. Have you considered availability of all those platforms when coming up with your name?

I’ve often noticed that there are patterns in these names. Maybe it’s me paying way too much attention (this is more than probable). There was a trend for having more than one X in your name after you had The XX, Charlie XcX, XXXY and this one really pushed the Xs to the maxxx: XXYYXX a young producer from Florida.
Of course you then had the number thing. Deadmau5 being the most prominent artist to whack a number in to switch things up – and initially confuse many, including Pete Tong, who called him Dead Mau Five at first. Then you’ve got Route 94, Hot Since 82, Lane8, Option4, Apollo84. Gosh, the list goes on and on. You could think ‘Why keep picking names with numbers in?’ but it is one way that you can get around securing the social media platform you want. Replace an I with a One, an O with a Zero. If it works for people trying to be clever with their private number plates, then why not DJs and Producers?

The one that has confused me the most though, are the acts that have not only dropped the pressure, but have decided to drop a load of vowels too. One of the first I can recall is MSTRKRFT (Mastercraft), then I stumbled across SBTRKT (Subtract). I admit that initially I had no idea how to pronounce that. I blame the rogue K. It threw me somewhat. Then you’ve got HNNY (Honey) and another that totally bamboozled me when I got the initial promo through was FGTN Toys (Forgotten Toys) who obviously decided to keep the vowel for the second part of the name.

If you’re sitting in your bedroom, tinkering away on Fruity Loops or a cracked version of Cubase, spare a thought for your future artist name, because rest assured it’s not going to be easy to come up with something snappy/cool/original (or all of the aforementioned) without thinking right outside the 80XX.


About the author

Resident DJ for Kinky Malinki for over 15 years. Trainer enthusiast, goalkeeper and collector of too much stuff. Have been dipping my toe in to the world of writing for quite some time having written for Azuli Records in the past, along with doing Kinky Malinki’s press work and writing a sneaker spread for an urban lifestyle magazine called 24/7 Live Listings. I’ve always go too much to say, especially when it comes to the dance industry, so what better way than to channel it in to articles for Decoded Magazine.

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