Upon hearing one of my friends struggle to find a good name for his band, it had me thinking about the subject overall. It’s a pretty important subject; a pretty difficult subject. What goes into making a band name? Like a GOOD one! A name that’s catchy, tasteful, easy to promote, and still holds meaning to the members of the band and what they’re about. To learn more about what goes into making a good band name, I reached out to some of the bands on the Conquer platform. Maybe now I can actually give some decent advice to my friend! Talk him out of calling themselves the “Trigger Heads”. . .
Your band name is a reflection of you and your music. It is important that your band name invokes a sort of imagery for your audience. When we hear a word, our minds want to connect that word to a picture. Does that picture fit you and your style of music? Really consider it. Need a little help? I got you. Here are some band names that I consider to have a strong visual connection to their music
- Kaskade: When I think “Cascade” my mind immediately thinks waterfalls. This band has a smooth, flowing sound with a mixture of overlapping and cascading instrumental harmonies.
- Queen Bee’s: These girls are large and in charge. They aren’t drones, they’re leaders; and their music is going to break the status quo.
- Shutter: My mind imagines a vintage camera. This is an indie band with an emphasis on strong lyrics that really paint a picture. Their music is about taking snapshots of life and sharing those memories with others.
- Puppets for Hire: This band is deep and existential, maybe a little depressing but their music makes you ask the important questions. Are we in charge of our own life? Or are we just dancing for the highest bidder?
When your audience has a visual connection to the music, much more effective; it will really stick out in their mind.
Our friends at Kaleido told us a little more about the meaning of their band name, and its visual connection.
We wanted our music to show the different point of views in life. There are so many different perspectives. We could be looking at the same thing, but what I see and what you see could be totally different. It’s like looking through a Kaleidoscope.
Clear and Concise
Your band name needs to be easy to read, see, and spell. You want your name to be recognizable, you want word of mouth to spread, and you want people to be able to find you online. Do you know how long it took me to look up “Wyld Stallyns”? I kept looking up Wild Stallions, and obviously was only finding some lovely pictures of horses. . . I mean they are a pretty successful band yes, but my point is; for an up and coming band, if people aren’t able to find you on Google then they’re probably not going to find you at all.
A band name also needs to be catchy. Something that rolls off the tongue sweet and simple; pleasant to say, and pleasant to hear. If you get tongue tied or the words fail to have a proper rhythm, then your band name isn’t leaving a good first impression.
Take a look at your target audience to help formulate some ideas. Maybe the words you’re looking for are in the interests and activities of your desired demographic. Did you know “Green Day” is a slang term that literally means smoking pot all day? That’s exactly the connection they wanted. That young rebellious spirit was their ideal crowd. It can be so difficult coming up with the right words; but sometimes they are right there in front of you.
WASI, an all female band on the Conquer platform, Used a strategy similar to this. WASI’s music puts an emphasis on social reform and standing up for civil rights. WASI is an acronym for “We Are/She Is”. A project that started a dialogue against misogyny and the like, thus growing a following of people who share their ideals.
Think About the Merchandise
This one is kind of shallow, but still something to keep in mind. Is your band name going to look good on the merch you use to promote yourself?
What Does it Mean to You?
Of course your name has to mean something to you. Well. . . I guess it doesn’t HAVE to, but it comes across a lot better when it does. When the band name feels special and significant to all members of the band, I believe it strengthens the dynamic of the group. It becomes something that they really feel a part of. And make no mistake, you will be asked about your band name and the meaning behind it at one point or another. You’re going to come across a lot better if you can give a thoughtful answer. Take alt-rock/pop-punk duo Kait DiBenedetto and Tom Kunzman of 18th and Addison as a great example.
They took something as simple as Tom’s house number and Kait’s Street address to create a name that is both catchy, simple, meaningful to both, and even visual. When you hear the band name you think of an urban intersection.
Simple is best. It’s just a good representation of ourselves as a duo and a cool intersection of 2 people from different musical backgrounds colliding – Tom Kunzman
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An intersection of two people, who started out in two separate bands, performed different styles of music, to create something that takes the best of both their worlds and brings them together. Oh, they also just got engaged.
Hearing that makes me think, “Yeah. These guy know what they’re doing. These are musicians.” As opposed to some band named. . . Well something named simply because you thought it sounded “Cool” or “Edgy”. (I had an example, but I’m embarrassed to type something so gross..)
these are some things to take into consideration when deciding on a band name. I’m a romantic and like to believe that the perfect name will come naturally as you surround yourself in music; of course it is rarely that easy. Coming up with a great band name is difficult, but if you take into consideration the pieces of your life that really influence the music you write, a great band name is sure to follow!
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