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Choosing The Right Band Name – Our Top Tips

Photograph of the blog post author, Georgia Carter

Georgia Carter

30.11.2022

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Finding the right band name can be tricky as you need it to sound memorable but also it needs to be inspiring at the same time. It will be emblazoned on your merch and people will be speaking about your band name for a long time hopefully. So how on earth do you come up with one that ticks all of those boxes and of course ultimately means something to you? We will endeavour to cover all of the above and more. The most important thing to remember is to take your time. 

How To Name A Band

Let’s delve in and see what are the best ways you can start to tackle the process of choosing the right band name which you will all agree on and love. Here we go!

Find a Band Name That Resonates With Your Music

First and foremost, when you are looking into how to choose a band name, you must find one that has significant meaning to you as a group. This name is going to bear some resemblance to something in your life usually so take the time to really brainstorm and come up with every place, person or thing that has some meaning. 

Don’t Settle

Don’t be quick to just find the first name you think of – hey it may turn out to be a cool name for a band and you might be lucky, but generally the process takes a little longer than that. Stay alert though, because you might hear something one day – you could be anywhere – and find it just works. 

Get Inspired

Following on from the point above, you should be looking at other bands or you could be walking down a road and see a name of a shop, even the street name you’re on and feel it fits for the band. Let inspiration take hold, and be open to a multitude of options. But you all have to agree. You can see why if you are a solo artist, they generally use their own name, and it is an easier concept, apart from say. Her real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, so might have been a bit of a mouthful on stage, but it is a beautiful name all the same. 

Don’t Just Google It

If you are wondering how to make a band name, then I would advise against googling names or using a band name generator. To hark back to my first comment about it being something meaningful, try and lean into this a little more and spend a few more minutes on a phrase that you hope will stand the test of time. I’m sure search engines like Google could invent a cracking, unique band name out of thin air, but does it make sense for you as a group? 

Think About the Imagery and Mood

Band names are cool when the artist has really thought about the imagery and mood they want to convey in this one phrase. What will the audience see, feel, think when they read your band name? Names like The Sex Pistols, Nirvana, My Chemical Romance are all pretty vivid when it comes to rock band name ideas. You are definitely looking for something completely original and will put you in good stead as a great music band. 

Will You Use Your Actual Name?

Are you going to use your name or put a spin on it, so people will remember it better? You could just use your last name, Goldfrapp are named after singer Alison Goldfrapp, Santana or Wilson Phillips is a band name made up of the two last names of both Carnie Wilson and Chynna Phillips.

Make It Easy To Spell & Pronounce

This would be fairly obvious, but people need to get the name right so maybe don’t make it too obscure. I’m sure some people will have mispronounced the band name Haim, which is actually pronounced hahy-uhm, two syllables. Or even Rihanna, should be pronounced as Ree-anna not Ree-ahna. Or what about Bon Iver, which Jack Black mispronounced this band’s name when they won a Grammy in 2012. It’s bone-ee-vare according to Justin Vernon, the man who came up with the name. 

Nobody Else Uses It

Maybe this should be number one, over a close second, ensure that nobody else has the same name. I mean for legal reasons, but you can’t have the same band name in the music industry, it just won’t work. Pink Floyd originally called themselves the Tea Set, but when they saw another band playing under that name, they decided to change theirs to reflect two of their musical inspirations — Pinkney Anderson and Floyd Council.

So a good band name needs some consideration obviously when looking into cold band names that aren’t taken. 

Who Is Your Audience – Think On A Global Scale

Coming up with a band name that connects with your audience and their nature. Your demographic may help in creating the most well known band name who knows, but they certainly will give you an idea of genre and style to lean into more. But also think of the global audience you are trying to affect and will they understand the name you have chosen? 

Alt-rockers Green Day named themselves after a slang phrase used by San Francisco kids for smoking pot all day. The name was intended to connect with the rebellious, free-caring attitude of punk rockers.

Cool Band Names Stories 

Now we have gone into some detail about taking time to pick a band name, but sometimes, they can appear to you in the most random of ways, as you will see from this particular list below.

When they were searching for band name ideas, inspiration was found in some pretty odd, but serendipitous you might say places. 

When Brian Jones was asked to suggest a band name, he looked down at a record for inspiration — Rollin’ Stones by Muddy Waters.

While flipping through an old book, the 1975’s Matty Healy saw “1st June, The 1975” scribbled on one of the pages.

Jimmy Page told Keith Moon, Jeff Beck, and John Entwistle that if they created a supergroup, it would go down “like a lead balloon” — and a Zeppelin is the biggest balloon of all.

There was even a time when a band changed their band name because people kept on calling them by the wrong name so they just stuck with the wrong version. And the rest is history. This was Foster The People as they are known now. Apparently, the story goes that Mark Foster originally named the band Foster & the People, but people misheard it as “Foster the People”. Eventually, he took to the nurturing image it evoked of “taking care” of people, so the name stuck. 

Closing Thoughts

At the end of the day, don’t overthink it, take your time and come up with a name that means something to all of your band members, not just you. Collaboration is key here, but be ready to find inspiration where you were not looking for it in the first place. As long as you all agree, then that is what matters. 

Your music is going to be judged even before someone has listened to it, so try and make sure it has some bearing on the type of music you will be playing. Obscure band names usually have some weird backstory to them, so hopefully if that is the case, they are interesting if you go down that route.

You never know you may be listening to two songs back to back, like Hey Gigantic who were listening to two songs of the same names, by The Pixies and their band name was formed. I wish I had an easy answer but I hope this article has helped just a bit in trying to conjure up a band name. 


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