How to Name Your Band

By Mitch Rice

Let’s face it — naming your band is one of the most important things you can do to solidify your brand. It determines how people view the band, lets everyone know what kind of music you play, and targets your merchandising. Plus, it’s a lot of fun! Imagine your band’s name on album covers, t-shirts, stadium marquees, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame! Below is a list of some sure-fire ways to come up with the perfect name for your rockin’ band.

Alt Text: A rock band is performing on stage. In the forefront is a guitarist. In the background is a singer and another guitarist. There is fog behind them and the lighting is low.

Brainstorm as many ideas as possible

Brainstorming is the best way to come up with a band name that fits. It will also give everyone in the group the chance to express how they see the band. If one person wants to name it “Rotten Cheese” and another wants to name it “Puppy Love”, you know that there is a conversation that needs to be had.

Make a list of as many names as your band can come up with, then go over them one by one as a group. You don’t know what you don’t know. You may think your best idea is the best idea until your drummer comes along with a bombshell of a name and you’re happy you were patient.

Combine or mix and match names

Once you have a list of 40 or 50 names, try combining them and playing with the names. With the example above, someone makes a great argument for “Puppy Love” while another makes a great argument for “Rotten Cheese”, then maybe you realize that if you combine the two and “Puppy Cheese” or Rotten Love” ticks all your boxes. Get creative and don’t be scared of a “dumb” idea.

Let it describe your vibe

Make sure the band name describes your music. When people hear the name of your band, they should have an idea of what they are going to hear. Without doing research, would you be more likely to take your grandmother to a concert venue hosting “James and the Trumpets” or “Death Clot”? Think of the vibe, the sound, and the dynamic of your band, and make sure that all comes through in the name.

Reflect your fanbase

Having a hard time getting the name with those methods? Maybe try naming it something that reflects your target audience. If I’m really into professional wrestling and I saw a flyer for a band named “Elbow Drop”, I’d certainly consider going.

Consider your ideal concert venue

The ideal venue you’d like to perform in can also influence your band name. For small bands like yours that are just starting out, money and transportation can limit your choices. For example, if you want to name your band “Death Clot” but the only venues that suit your location and budget are coffee shops and jazz clubs, you might want to rethink your choice.

When it comes to booking a music venue, you want to make sure you choose something that matches your music, vibe, and the ambiance you want to create. Take time to consider your ideal venue and research what’s available near you when brainstorming your band name.

Invent new words

If you’re going to invent a new word, make sure that it is immediately clear what it means. Consonant sounds are harsh while vowel sounds are softer. This method is a bit more difficult, but another fun way to go about it is to alter an existing word. “Kar Krashe” sounds like a metal band while “Quar Qurash” like a singer/songwriter. Make sure the word the title is supposed to sound like is appropriate for the music, but so is the alternate spelling.

Google your idea

This is crucial. Once you have a potential name, Google it. See what it means. See if it is already taken. See if it is already a corporation or a product. Name your band “Apple” or “Aerosmith” and you will lose your court case.

Say the name you came up with is totally usable in theory. You’re the first person to ever think of “Strawb Herry” as a band name. But then you Google it and realize it means something horrible in French, you’re in trouble. Check to see that your band name works on all fronts and is totally legal to own.

Make it easy to understand

Lastly, make sure the name you choose is easy to understand. The harder a person has to work to spell it, pronounce it, or understand it, the worse off you’ll be. Make it something people can and want to remember for good reason.

Naming your band: wrapping up

So, there you have it: a few tips and ideas to consider when picking a band name. Go have fun with it and see where it takes you! And when it’s time to book your first gig with your new name, start searching for the perfect concert venue near you.

Photo Sources: