Picking the name for your original band should be an exhilarating process – not something to be taken lightly. Naming the band is part of the whole creative act and it’s your calling card going forward. This is not the time to be lazy or casual. Be deliberate.
“Band Name Makers”
Please stay away from random band name generators! You know they are out there. You know, deep down, that they are silly. You’d be better off creating a stripper name – you know, first name of childhood pet and last name of street you grew up on (mine is Scruffy Osterman) for the group than squash creativity with the random name. You’re an original band – please vow to be original in this endeavor.
Don’t be in a hurry
There’s no need to rush the process. Think of your band as a book or a composition. Many authors never worry about the title of the book, or the song until later. The title usually arises, naturally, out of the act of creation. Instead, try this recipe:
Write the tunes. Assemble the band. (Practice!!!) Replace players as needed. Write more tunes. Now…close your eyes and get a sense of your sound. This is your sound. No other band on the planet has this sound. No other band on the planet has your group configuration. What do you sound like? What do you want to sound like? These are clues.
Mission – the main clue
Did your band start with a mission? If so, the band name will probably jump out at you like a brilliant flame. Your mission is your torch to guide the way. What do you stand for? What do you want people to take away from your performance, or a listening session of your tunes? What kind of impression do you want to make on the world?
Simple is good
Yes, simple is good and sometimes even great. A band name that is clean and open to many interpretations is a very nice way to go. Cite: The Police, The Cars, The Who, The Cure, The Fray, Tool, Korn, Genesis, Rush, Kansas. There is a beauty to simplicity and, like a well-written book, you allow the reader (the audience) to incorporate their own imagination into your little project.
Name as SEO
Have you ever been in a band whose name has been used a thousand times before? Silly, huh? Especially when it comes to finding you on the good old internet. Create a unique band name and you will own it for search engine optimization. If the band name ties closely with your mission, you will even own a conceptual niche. Why not dream big?
The way to own a niche is first to be unique and then also be specific. The more specific you become the more you will enhance the “long tail.” The long tail is when your band name comes up extremely high on Google or Yahoo as a search of name alone but also in conjunction with specific public appearances (gigs) and themes (gigs turned into events). All of this effort trails back to strengthen your band’s visibility and identity.
Name as band merch facilitator
Some bands may opt for maximum merchandising opportunities. If the band name lends itself to obvious symbols (logos) or other design suggestions (or those elements lead to a band name), you stand a pretty good chance of making some cash off of eye-catching merch. Let’s face it – selling tunes is a little tricky these days. You might just want to give the music away and live off the merch and other high-concept opportunities. Or better yet, embed the music in the merch (a whole other topic…). But let the band name lead the way.
Named by the fan
If you’re really stumped for a band name, if all of your creative juices dried up with the last song you wrote, another productive method would be to let your fans name you. Hold a contest. Chances are very good that you’ll find some doozies. And you’ll be deeply engaging your fans at the same time. How cool is that?
So what’s in a band name? In short, everything: your mission, your approach to life as an artist, your reputation, your web presence – maybe even your livelihood. You’ve spent so many hours learning your craft. You’ve poured your soul into the tunes. Maybe you’ve spent every last dime on the recordings. So why settle for a crappy moniker? Why be random?