Music Production and Promotion Tips

How to Find a Band Name

Posted on | April 5, 2012 | No Comments

Knowing how to find a band name is something of a holy grail for aspiring musicians everywhere. It’s hard enough putting your band together and writing some songs, but now you definitely need a name, and you need to know how on earth you can find one. In this article, I’ll go over my tips for finding a catchy and original band name that doesn’t sound too weird.

The first thing I’ll say is that you shouldn’t get too hung up on finding a name for your band. The right title will usually find its way to a band in good time and the only reason to rush it is if you have upcoming gigs or releases. Of course, from a branding point of view it is very useful to have a name as early as possible, but it isn’t always that simple.

Firstly, get a working title for your band, this takes a lot of the pressure off your ‘final name’, and people are more likely to make suggestions if they think it’s just a short-term solution. A lot of bands names are either their ‘working title’ or an evolution of it. Below are some ways bands have found their names, and examples of how to replicate their techniques.

  • Steal a song name – “Radio Head” was a B-Side by 80s legends ‘Talking Heads’, and I’m sure there are many more examples of band names pinched from songs.
  • Film References – Iron Maiden are named after the torture device featured in the film ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’
  • Literary References – I’m sure there are loads of examples of bands who’s names have origins in a book somewhere.¬†Aldous Huxley’s book The Doors of Perception inspired The Doors’ band name.
  • Foreign languages – “Procul Harum” is Latin for “Beyond these things”.
  • The Random Approach – R.E.M reportedly opened a dictionary and pointed to the first term found, and one of the best alternative bands ever was born.
  • Historical References – “Joy Division” were named after the prostitution wing of Nazi concentration camps. Sinister.
  • Place Names – Portishead is named after a town on the West coast of their native England.

Of course, if all else fails you can try the ‘gobbledygook’ method and just try making your own word. As I have always said, don’t stress too much about it and the name for your band is likely to spring out at you when you least expect it.


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