We see that a lot of young DJ's choose names that we think could be chosen better. They have less perspective on how their name sounds to pro’s in the business and also didn’t ask for feedback from professionals. That’s why we share some instructions here!
Roughly, there are 3 types of DJ names:
-Your own name (first and last)
-Your own first name with a typing added
-A Degeneration of your own name or totally made up name (pseudonym)
In this year’s DJ-Mag Top 50, eleven DJ’s work under their own name, like Armin van Buuren and David Guetta. Nine work onder their own name with somekind of typing/added word (Don Diablo, Fedde LeGrand) and the vast majority (30) uses a pseudonym (Avicii, Marshmellow, Skrillex).
First, we like to say what we advise you NOT to do. Which is:
- A Dorky name
- A Name with humor
- A Name which is hard to understand when shouted in someone’s ear in a club
- A name so common it is hard to find you online
- A name consisting of numbers or an abbreviation (3TB, DWA, etc.)
Our first rule when helping our talents out is this one: if you doubt, always fall back on your own first and last name! It’s the most personal you can get, and the most recognisable. Although many find their own name ‘un-cool’, usually you’re the only one thinking that.
If you doubt, always fall back on your own first and last name!Also, it changes from scene to scene what is cool and what is not. 'Bassjackers' wouldn't be classified 'hip' in Techno. And 'Wildstylez' doesn't sound like a typical Deephouse DJ.
Only choose an added word (Mike Mago) or degeneration (Tiësto) if you really feel this is a fitting, added value to your artist identity.
Ofcourse, if you reach some level of fame, it gets less and less important what your DJ name is, as it becomes more recognised for it’s connotation. ‘Armin’ is a typical, unusual name in Holland but has become ‘cool’ because of his image. ‘Deadmau5’ wouldn’t be many’s first choice, but has become something different than what the word means.
For our talents goes that they don’t have this fame yet. So they need to rely on a good choice which is supported by friends and tested with professionals in the field. So, don’t hesitate to ask for help from your friends and for feedback from people who have a different view on your artist identity than your inner circle!
We are happy to coach you in choosing or even inventing a DJ-name in our custom Artist Development Course!
Article by Olivier Meijs for DJ School Amsterdam