Don't be confused about choosing a DJ name

Choosing a DJ Name You Love & Won’t Regret (12+ methods)

Don't be confused about choosing a DJ name

Loads of DJs have sh*t names. What seems like it should be one of the easiest parts of becoming a DJ and artist, is often annoyingly difficult. So how do you go about choosing a DJ Name? One that you will be proud of and not end up regretting…

There are many different ways to choose a DJ name. From using your initials, nickname or relying on name generators, no method is wrong. Yet it can be an easy thing to get wrong and is not something that should be rushed. Your DJ name is also your brand so it needs to be something representative of you that you can also be proud of.

It’s funny when you think about DJs, or even band names. I often wonder how many of them actually regret their choice years into their career, when the name has stuck and they can no longer change it.

So here’s a guide to help you avoid choosing a name you may regret.

Your Name

The most obvious way is to just look at your own name, perhaps you have a slightly unusual name and you’re able to just go with that.

This has worked well for people like Richie Hawtin, Nina Kravitz or Roni Size. None of these have needed specific DJ names as they have slightly unusual surnames, at least in english-speaking countries.

However, most people have fairly common names for either their first or second name. So if you were to use it as your DJ name then it may be difficult to find you on Google.

Abbreviate

Another technique you could try is if you have a multi-barrelled, or middle name, then try using the initials.

Although it doesn’t have to be based on your name, it could just be anything that rolls nicely off the tongue. This is what three-time UK DMC champion JFB did (real name Jean-Marc Preisler).

Recycle Your Nickname (It’s How I Got My DJ Name)

Think back whether you have ever had a nickname that you could potentially use. Whether it’s from school, a variation on your name or even one you came up with yourself nicknames can often be a great way to start when choosing your DJ name.

And this is actually how mine came about for example. “Maison” was actually a nickname given to me while at university, due to the fact that I was born in France and there were a lot of other Chris’ in my block so we needed to differentiate.

It was a name that I was used to being called and therefore an easy choice to use as my DJ name.

The only downside is that “Maison” in French means “house”, so people may assume that I played House music, which I don’t. I am into much heavier genres like drum & bass.

So just be mindful when choosing a DJ name, if you have do use your nickname, then make sure it doesn’t have alternative meanings that could confuse people.

One good example of a DJ who uses their nickname is DJ Woody, a world champion and personal favorite of mine. Woody is just a shortening of his surname (Woodvine) and presumably what he was called at school or college.

Want to know how to get more DJ gigs? Then this is the post for you…

125 Superstar EDM DJs t-shirt
Talking of names… show your love for EDM with our superstar DJ T-Shirt, made up of 125 of the biggest names.
Available in our store.

Don’t over Complicate

Another thing to consider when choosing your name make sure it’s not overly complex. People should understand it, and know-how to spell it, as soon as they hear it.

If you have to spell it out every single time then it’s not going to be memorable and it may be more difficult for people to find you online. An example of this could be using digits in your name like DJ 3track for example. You have to explain every time that it is a number “3” and not “three-track”.

So you want something memorable yet easy to understand and spell.

If you are looking for a name because you want to start a DJ business, be sure to read this guide before you get started.

A Note on Multiple Names

You can, of course, have multiple names (or pseudonyms as they are known in the business) and this is not uncommon for DJs to have multiple names.

Amon Tobin, for example, a much celebrated and established electronica producer and DJ also makes music under the name of Two Fingers and he does this to separate two very distinct musical styles. He uses his own for Electronica and TF for much more bass-heavy, hip-hop inspired instrumental tracks.

Amon Tobin Choosing a DJ Name
Amon Tobin releases music under both his own name and “Two Fingers”

Although initially, when you are just starting out, it is a good idea to just have one name, otherwise you are trying to build two brands at the same time and this will be a lot more work.

Make Sure It’s Available

When you do choose a name, the next step is to make sure it is not already taken and that you’re going to be able to register the social media profiles so you can start building your actual brand.

Ideally, you want to get exactly the same name over all of the social media platforms, and when you come to build your own website, it would be ideal to get an exact match domain to.

Thankfully this has made a lot easier by using a tool like Namechk, this scans all social networks at once and tells you what’s available.

Once you have chosen your name, plug it in here and you’ll instantly be able to see if all the social media platforms, and domains, are available.

Handily, this also does the job of telling you if any other DJs are using that name already.

Love DJ gear?

So do we, check out our favorites…

Get An Honest Opinion

If you are unsure of your ideas when choosing a DJ name, or you think you might be embarrassed by it later on, then simply ask your best friends what they think of it and if they have any suggestions.

Put it this way, if there’s any way to laugh at or take the piss out of your name then who better to find that out from than your friends. Way better than finding out from people online.

A note on Gimmicks and joke names

Gimmick names or puns on existing celebrities’ names, like the rapper Hoodie Allen (punning Woody Allen, the film director) is pretty funny yet in a few years down the line the artist may come to regret their choice.

The joke will start to wear off or perhaps the celebrity that you’re named after becomes less cool or, in the worst-case scenario, does something embarrassing or illegal that makes them hated in the press, which could reflect your way by association.

Want to get yourself out there? Learn how to promote yourself as a DJ here

Create Your Own Word

One good way to make sure that all social media platforms are available and that people can find you on Google is to make up a word.

There are plenty of examples of this but one good one at the moment would be Skrillex (see his amazing setup here). Not only is it a made-up word but it is also easy to understand, and people could quite easily guess the spelling.

By choosing a name like this it not only fits with his genre bass-heavy EDM but it also ensures that he is not going to be confused with any other DJs. He guaranteed himself a completely name by inventing a unique word.

Like Skrillex you can create a new word when choosing a DJ name
Skrillex invented a new word for his DJ name

Choosing a DJ Name That Is Too Generic

Another thing to be wary of is choosing names that are too generic. A great example of this is the drum & bass producer called “Audio”.

This is maybe a good name in terms of describing what he does i.e creates music by manipulating audio. Where it fails is when “Audio” or even “Audio DJ” is put into google, the chances of finding him are slim.

The word ‘Audio’ is such a generic term that it could apply to anything from music right through to spoken word and audiobooks.

So consider choosing two or even three words to help create your own unique name.

Want to know how to make money as a DJ, other than just gigs? I’ve got ya bro

Studies Have Shown

A study based in the business world, but the same principle will apply in the DJ world

Studies have shown that easy to pronounce, and easy to remember, names create a better impression of people than those that are difficult to pronounce and remember.

The results showed that, in business, people with easy to pronounce names are promoted more regularly than people with difficult to pronounce names.

Although those studies were obviously conducted in a business setting, exactly the same theories can apply to DJ names.

While this may seem ridiculous, it should not be surprising. The human brain likes familiarity and, essentially, not having to think more than it needs to.

Therefore, when choosing a DJ name, try and make your name easy to pronounce and easy for people to remember.

After all, if people can remember your name then they are more likely to share it with their friends. And be able to look you up to follow online and buy your music.

Make your DJ mix stand out with this guide.

125 Superstar EDM DJs t-shirt
Talking of names… Check out our EDM superstar T-Shirt, made up of 125 of the biggest DJs in the world.
Available in our store.

Be Careful Not to Go Too Narrow When Choosing a DJ Name

Anyone can have “DJ” added, so don’t feel like you need to make “DJ” an essential part of your name.

Likewise, you may want to be wary of putting your favorite genre in your name. Like if you called “Techno King” but then later decided you play pure Electro then it’ll be a harder transition.

You pigeonhole yourself by putting genres in your name so just be aware of that.

Generic names like Tiesto or Skrillex (see his amazing setup here) mean that they can play any genre they like. While some fans may not support a change in genre, some will and you will gain new fans.

But, at least you have not been limited from day one by your name choice.

Choosing a DJ Name That Means Something to You

Another good way to come up with the name is to actually choose something that means something to you personally. This definitely applies with nicknames.

Assuming you like your nickname, then you have a deeper connection to it than a random name you chose.

Perhaps it could be a favorite book or even naming yourself after some lyrics or a song. Radiohead, for example, are named after a Talking Heads song (from the True Stories album).

Ever wondered how to get hold of unreleased music? I’ve listed my top tips here.

Research

Also, have a look at some established DJs and see what has worked for them. Here is the most recent DJ Mag Top 100. You can see there is a good mixture of both real and made-up names.

This should give you insight into how some of the most successful DJs came up with their names.

Using the DJ Mag Top 100 for inspiration when choosing a DJ name

Choosing a DJ Name with Name Generators

These do have a place when choosing a DJ name. Rapper Childish Gambino reportedly used a name generator to come up with his unique, if perhaps hard to remember name.

While it may not a name you would have chosen, he definitely doesn’t get confused with other artists.

Which brings me on to the next and final point….

Remember That Names Are Subjective

Just like music, where some people love certain tracks/genres and others hate them, names are exactly the same.

Not everyone you ask about your name ideas is going to love them.

So, be aware of that and decide whether to actually listen to that person’s opinions or not. If you are not going to value that person’s response then consider whether they’re worth asking in the first place.

At the end of the day, your DJ name should be something that you like and that makes you happy. Most importantly, choose a name that’s not embarrassing to tell anyone.

Being embarrassed by your DJ name from the outset is a pretty good indicator of whether it’s good or not.

If just one person tells you they don’t like it, consider whether it’s just their own personal bias. If you love it and you are happy with it then screw everyone else.

Ultimately if you are performing good sets, then, to be honest, no-one cares if your DJ name is slightly odd… As long as they remember it.

And whatever you choose, at least it wont be as bad as some of these…

What next?

  • What are some of the strangest DJ names you’ve ever seen? Drop them in the comments!
  • Want to become an EDM DJ? Check out our serious guide to get you on the circuit in no time!

Sources

125 Superstar EDM DJs t-shirt
Remember you can get our EDM superstar t-shirt from our store, a perfect gift for someone else… or yourself.
How to be an EDM DJ - A Serious Guide

How to be an EDM DJ – A Serious Guide of 11 Do’s & Don’ts

How to be an EDM DJ - A Serious Guide

When you search “how to be an EDM DJ” a lot of the results are joke articles aimed at mocking EDM DJs. As much as people want to believe it’s just pressing play and dancing around on the DJ table while throwing cake around there is much more to it than that.

So this is actually a serious guide on how to become an EDM DJ.

Due to being so bass-heavy, EDM is one of the easiest genres to learn how to mix. The best way to start is by immersing yourself in the culture and learning from those already successful. Mimicking mixes and recording practice sessions will speed up the learning process greatly. There is also huge benefit in collaborating, both as a way to promote and also to increase your network.

We do have a full in-depth guide of how to be a DJ available here. However, I recommend reading the rest of this guide first as it deals specifically with EDM and the link will be included again at the bottom of the page.

EDM is one of the most popular dance genres around at the moment. And, although the term EDM stands for Electronic Dance Music, which kinda covers all electronic music, it generally refers to things on the bass-heavy, high-energy side of things.

How to Start DJing EDM

Really want to know how to be an EDM DJ? Start by taking an EDM Bath

You’ve probably come to want to be an EDM DJ after seeing or attending some of the high-energy, extremely entertaining gigs put on by some of the top performers.

This is actually the first step in how to an EDM DJ, to immerse yourself in the music and the culture.

Be careful not to get too lost in the party but, instead, spend as much time as possible listening to mixes and tracking down the tracks used. This really helps you understand how those DJs have constructed their sets and puts their mixes together in order to make them so crowd-pleasing and high-energy.

There is a lot to be learned about EDM DJing by literally going to clubs and watching DJs perform. Just stay sober enough to remember it the next day…

Related: Learn more about promoting yourself as a DJ here

Learn by Watching Successful DJs

While you won’t be able to do this with big-name DJs, most of the time in smaller clubs you will actually be able to get right up to the DJ booth. This allows you to watch how they use their equipment to get the best out of the music, control the crowd and produce great nights full of good vibes.

When you have a particularly talented EDM DJ, then you will often see people crowded around the booth and watching more than dancing.

These are all doing the same thing, they are learning while of course enjoying the music. People like this i.e those ones most serious about DJing, and learning from performing DJs, are referred to in the scene as “heads”.

DJ EZ is known to be one of the most skilful out there

Related: We have articles that detail the software and equipment used by top DJs like Skrillex, Calvin Harris and Deadmau5

The other thing you want to do as an EDM DJ is staying on top of new music. To do that, find some DJ artists you like on Mixcloud, SoundCloud and YouTube and then subscribe to their accounts. This way you’ll get notified of new music that they have made or new tunes that they have found are sharing.

Record every practice session
One of the best ways to learn is to record every practice you do

Practice and Record Your Mixes

A good thing about EDM is that its very bass-heavy, and that makes it one of the easiest genres to learn how to mix.

One of the fastest ways to learn EDM mixing is to record every single practice session.

These recordings are not necessarily to upload online (although you certainly can if they’re good enough).
Instead, they are so you can listen back to them and learn what worked and what didn’t.

It’s a great habit to get into as you can apply anything you notice to your very next practice session. There really is no better way to critique yourself to accelerate your learning.

Details on the equipment needed and how to record your mixes are included in the full guide, which is linked at the bottom of this article.

Love DJ gear?

So do we, check out our favorites…

Get in the Know… Where to Buy EDM Music

It is also definitely worth knowing where to buy all the latest tracks and staying on top of new releases. Check back at least weekly to see what’s hot so you can purchase them and to add to your music collection.

Two of the biggest providers of dance music Beatport and Juno. These are where most professional DJs will get their music from as you can purchase them in various formats as well as buying individual tracks or albums.

Where Do EDM DJs Get Music?

While online shops like those mentioned above are great, when buying lots of tracks things can get expensive. The chances are, if an EDM DJ is serious about their profession they are probably a member of a DJ record pool. These are an amazing way to get access to lots of tracks at an affordable cost.

They are also a great way to discover new music. Not only show you the latest releases but they also have charts of the most popular tracks, as well as individual DJs who put curate their own charts.

Related: You can read a full breakdown on how DJs organize their music here.

Where to buy EDM music - How to be an EDM DJ
Beatport has curated DJ charts, as well as best sellers

A Note on Illegally Downloading Music

It’s not uncommon for DJs particularly, when starting out, to illegally download music and play that. However when doing this you are very much running a risk, and I don’t just because of copyright.

When you download music you cannot guarantee the quality of it. But buy from somewhere like Juno or Beatport and they state and guarantee the bitrate/quality.

Whether it’s a high-resolution 320kbps MP3, or an uncompressed WAV (the highest quality audio file), you know exactly what you are downloading.

However, when you illegally download, although it may say it’s a high-resolution file, then you can never really be sure if that is accurate. Plus there are many ways a file can have been tampered with that affects its quality.

Related: Is it ok to DJ using mp3s converted from YouTube?

And, while it might sound fine playing through your home speakers, you run the risk of a lack of quality really showing through when you get into a club with a professional-grade sound system.

Ensure Quality & Support the Scene at the Same Time

For example, a common way to tell low quality is that the bass line will sound weak.

With a full quality WAV file then the track should sound really “full” and you will actually feel the bass. However with a low-resolution file then the sound will be weak and be missing those bass frequencies.

Imagine it as the difference between EDM through your phone speakers, and through decent speakers with a subwoofer.

Another thing that spending money on your tracks does is actually makes you think about the music you are buying. Building and curating your own music library is a huge part of how to be an EDM DJ.

Trust me when I say purchased music is always better. Plus, it means you’re actually supporting the scene you are trying to be a part of.

Related: How Do DJs Make Money? 17 Different Ways

What Do Edm DJs Use to Make Music?

This post should perhaps have been called, how to be an EDM DJ and Producer. That is because producing another great way to become established.

To do this you’re going to need to get some industry-standard software on which to make your music. Ableton Live (used by Skrillex, see his amazing setup here) is one of the top choices and it is very reasonably priced from Amazon.

There are plenty of EDM specific tutorials on YouTube and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to get going.

Chances are your first several tracks will be terrible, don’t worry, everyone’s is. Just stick with it.

Producing is great fun and you will be learning from day one. Every track you create will get you closer to having a banger that you are truly proud of.

Produce your own EDM tracks - How to be an EDM DJ
Ableton Live is the industry-leading software for EDM production

Expand Your Horizons and Collaborate

Another way to get out in the EDM world is to collaborate with other artists. EDM is so popular right now that there are many singers that want tracks produced for them.

So contact singers or artists that you know, or in your area, and offer to make some tracks with them. Again this will also help progress your skills.

Another bonus is that they will also be promoting the track through their network too. And, who knows where that might lead, you could just end up with the next EDM smasher.

Collaborate, thats how to be an EDM DJ
Collaborating with singers and other artists be a massive boost to your career

How to Be an EDM DJ? Network…

As with most genres, networking is key in how to be an EDM DJ.

Find some EDM DJs in your local area, either by checking out local club nights and tracking them down online. Or by doing searches on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, Facebook or YouTube using EDM and the name of your town or city.

Doing this should allow you to find plenty of people in your local area (or beyond). Then one by one hit them up and ask either for advice or for gigs.

Be careful not to hassle people though.

Related: How do DJs duos work together?

Think of networking as just making new friends that are also into mixing and being an EDM DJ.

Really the best way to network is to go to your local EDM club nights. Then you are supporting both the local DJs and the promoters. Perhaps even ask the promoters if you can help out at the night.

This is another great way to accelerate your learning. You’ll pick up so much just being around other EDM DJs already doing what you want to do.

Also, if you make some promoters friends, as soon as they need an EDM DJ, you will be the first in line.

Put simply, make as many friends in the industry as you can.

Forget About Age

As they get older people worry they may be too old to get into EDM. Or any other genre for that matter.

The truth is that if you are good at what you do then straight up doesn’t matter. Especially if you have high energy and you’re able to keep a crowd happy.

It really doesn’t matter how old you are, or what age you are, just start practicing. Just do what you love and you can be a success in the EDM scene or any other.

It’s never too late to do anything that you love.

DJ Derek was never to old - How to be an EDM DJ
The legendary DJ Derek eventually retired as a Dancehall, Reggae and Soul DJ aged 72

How to be an EDM DJ? Do What Feels Right to You

The great thing about EDM is, while it does follow musical rules, you have a lot of freedom of expression.

So, when you are making tracks or creating DJ mixes, do what sounds good and feels right to you.

It is through exercising this expression and freedom that you will go on to form your own unique style, and that is what people will be attracted to.

Thought I was joking about the Cake throwing?

Check out this video of Steve Aoki launching on over 80ft and hitting someone in the face

More coming to this post soon…

What next?

Sources

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