How to Come Up with Your Own DJ Name – with Examples!

Photo by Brandon Erlinger-Ford

If you want to be a successful DJ, not only do you need amazing music, but you need an awesome name. Yes, your music is the most crucial factor of your success, but your DJ name needs to represent you in the most effective way possible.  For the perfect DJ name, there are some key things to remember:

  1. Keep it simple
  2. Real Name or Nickname
  3. Google it
  4. Ask family and friends
  5. To DJ or not to DJ?
  6. Look at other artists
  7. What is your sound?
  8. Check it’s not taken

However, creating a DJ name isn’t always easy, and takes some strategic thinking to get right.  

We’ve gathered some of the best tips to help you out:

Keep it simple

If you’re not sure whether your name is too complicated, put it through the ‘Radio test’.You want a name that is simple yet unique. If your name is too long or complex to pronounce you run the risk of putting people off. Imagine your music has just aired on the radio for the first time and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can the radio presenter understand how to pronounce your name JUST by reading it? (It may be rather awkward for a presenter to pronounce your name if it’s ‘‘DJ%LKRI^&’’ ).
  1. Would the radio listeners be able to quickly write down your name or conduct a quick google search upon hearing it? You want to be easy as possible to find.
  1. Does it stand out? We all know that music is a competitive business, which means it’s crucial that your name sparks curiosity in others. (e.g. the name ‘Diplo’ is easy to say yet easily catches attention- it’s not something we would hear every day).

Real Name or Nickname

You may have the perfect DJ name already! Some of us are lucky enough to have been given the perfect DJ name at birth- if your name passes the radio test and you think that can represent your music and your work- go ahead. A lot of DJs have to create a new name because theirs is just too long, take the famous artist ‘Zedd’ – his real name is Anton Zaslavski, which doesn’t quite have the same punch to it. Also, do you have any nicknames? A nickname that others have given you tends to be authentic and represents something about you.

Google it                    

So, if it turns out your name doesn’t quite match up to what you want your perfect DJ name to be, all is not lost.

Well, you could do what many bands used to do years ago which is grab the nearest dictionary, and randomly pick words with a pin until you find something that sounds really cool. Or you could google it. You’ll notice there are some nice DJ name generators out there, such as the one by Rum and Monkey; you can fill out a little quiz about yourself and it will throw some names at you. You may or may not find the one.

Try experiments with your real name; you could try googling your name in a different language. For example, let’s say your name is Chloe, a quick google search reveals that it was one of the many names of Goddess Demeter (a Greek goddess).  Demeter suddenly sounds a lot catchier as a DJ name than DJ Chloe– it’s short, simple, and is likely to be a bit more interesting to others.  

You never know where you will find inspiration, so try to approach it with an open mind. Try searching for names of stars or constellations (Sirius? Capella?). Are there any historical figures that could be the perfect inspiration? Next time you’re walking in your local neighbourhood, are there any street names that catch your eye? The point is, there are no limits as long as it passes the radio test i.e. there is a star called ‘EBLM J0555-57Ab– do you think this one passes the radio test? Clue: No!

Ask family and friends                           

So if you think you found your DJ name, that’s it right? Well, not yet. It’s important that you ask the people who know you what they think of your chosen name, because our friends and family might be better at seeing whether the name ‘fits’.

It’s worth noting that any name you pick will probably initially feel a bit weird. Your DJ name is something that you will naturally grow into over-time.

To DJ or not to DJ?

The age-old debate, should you have ‘DJ’ in your name? Of course, if you want it, go for it! If it fits with your image and what you want for your brand then there’s no reason not to. However, just make sure that whatever follows ‘DJ’ is something unique; going back to the first point, you don’t want to get lost in the crowd and not stand out as being different. If someone has heard ‘DJ John’ a million times then they are less likely to think you’d be unique

That being said, using ‘DJ’ in your name is slowly going out of ‘fashion’ to a certain extent for a lot of people, purely because a lot of artists really want to stand out with their own, completely individual name. It is starting to be received as a little cheesy or cliché. But if you want to use it, own it!

Look at other artists

To see just how wild you can get, look up how other DJs got their names. There are some interesting stories out there that will get you thinking. Just to give you an example, the artist Kid Koala said that his name was inspired by a sugary Koala drink when he was a kid, his friends would always be offered one when they went to his house so he soon became known as the Koala Kid.

What is your sound?

Don’t forget, your name is just one part of the whole package you want the world to see. Consider the genre of your music and your overall sound. Take Skrillex for example, we can kind of feel and hear what his music might sound like just by his name! Your name can be a great way to make a statement about what you do. Be careful though, don’t box yourself in TOO much. For instance, let’s say your main genre is House music, you may think it’s perfect to use house in the title (e.g. DJ House) then you might find it doesn’t quite match if you go through an Electronica or Dubstep phase. Just something worth considering. 

Check it’s not taken

Don’t make the mistake of not checking if you’re accidentally hijacking some other poor DJ’s name. In today’s digital world, we don’t really have an excuse not to give it a quick internet search; you may even want to check whether it’s taken as a domain name as you will probably want your own website eventually (it shows you are professional). For example, if you’re going to try and use the name Calvin Harris you probably shouldn’t.

That leads onto the next point, this step is important because people who are very successful DJs are likely to not be impressed if your name is far too similar, and some may even try and sue you if it looks like you are making money from people who thought you were them!

The Bottom Line

These tips will help you on your way to the perfect DJ name, but it is very easy to overthink it. While it’s helpful to have an awesome name, your music is what defines you. So don’t spend more time on your DJ name than you do on becoming really good at what you do!

We look forward to hearing your name on the radio!

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