What's in a name?


And an anonymous poll just for fun? :eyes:

  • My releases are under my own name;
  • My releases are under a pseudonym/project name;
  • I really haven’t thought about it and I’m using a nickname of some sort that could be my own name or not.

0 voters


Self is a manifold, a multiplicity.

Neither the self nor the music transcends; both weave the fabric of immanence.


I’ve found that depending on the project, I feel more or less inclined to use a project name. Acoustic stuff and things without a clear intent; my name. Something that is a bit more focused, I like using some sort of name or nickname that marks the distinction and the intent; i.e. I’m working on a political hardcore project, that uses a name with a historical reference. For more straight forward, maybe more casual creations I use my legal name.


I have a few different solo project names that represent different projects, the notable ones being Thurber Mingus, which I got from an exit in Texas that I thought was funny. When I performed as Thurber Mingus it was always sort of upbeat live-looping guitar + drum machine music. I guess I was on a big Battles and Mylets kick for a few years and the name made sense for that kind of music.

When I got more invested in electronic music I thought the name just didn’t fit in as well. For whatever reason I thought of Parliament Lite, and obvious homage to a type of cigarette I used to smoke. I think the music came first and the name I felt represented the sound, as Thurber Mingus did with my guitar music. That’s a blanket name for any electonic or experimental ‘project’ I’ve done in the last few years.

The problem is now, that I’ve already established myself as thurbermingus across a few forums and sites, even though I no longer perform or record under that name. I like having a consistent persona across the internet for whatever reason. It always makes me happy to see someone that I know from another corner of the internet that I can immediately recognize via their handle. Side shoutout to anyone from ILF.

In short: the music decides for me, and I don’t feel like I’m at a point where I am producing music that fits my given name, which is strange because all of my musical endeavors sound like something that Patrick made.


Alanza is my middle name! I had the thought a few years ago that if by some twist of fate I became famous, I’d probably use it like a last name. Musically it is/will be the name for solo stuff and/or things that veer too far out of my band’s style, which is a bit more defined.

Conveniently, using it here means I don’t have to divulge any of the screen names that I’ve been using since I was 12, saving us all a lot of embarrassment :sweat_smile:


I like project names for general taxonomy. Different names for different purposes, or at least different audiences. If you’re someone who’s likely to put out an album of lullabies next to an album of speed metal, your fans will probably appreciate keeping those worlds separate.

I think the trick might be attaching your given name to each of those projects, in descriptions and linked social media accounts, to let people connect the dots between projects, if they so desire. But I’d be hesitant to use that as the project name. It just feels like too strong a declaration. Like, “this is the one. this is my intent, and direction. everything else comes back to this.”

That said, the next band I form will probably have my name in the title.

(I figure it should be something that says “wow, we can never kick that guy out” as obnoxiously as possible.)


I have a tattoo of a toaster on my arm, so I figured that was commitment enough. I have done a few releases under other names— one under my actual name, and a few under the name ‘Alison G. Madrigal’, which at the time was gonna be my ‘beat oriented’ name while ‘Toaster’ would be reserved for drone stuff; I bailed on it because I ultimately had problems using a female-sounding name when I am a dude, and just became comfortable with the idea that Toaster is whatever I say it is at any given time. It has pretty much whatever brand recognition I’m gonna get, so… an un-googleable name which I share with two or three other bands at any given moment is what I’m stuck with.


Yeah names, what a big pain sometimes.

I had several projects with several names, none of them very serious, or which did get any far. Some I like some I hate, but the reasons why I like or hate them is always more or less the same. I like it if the name tells you something about the music and already gives you a certain mood. I don’t see names as being something you can detach from the thing they refer to.
So I totally hate “kvsu” because it doesn’t say anything about it, nor the music we make.
The name came to be quite randomly, because I usually call myself “kurodama” for my more ambient/experimental solo stuff, and my bandmate uses “ubumaic”, so we became “kurodama vs ubumaic” and then later “kvsu”, because it was shorter.
There is quite a bit of meaning and history to both our solo names, but that totally got lost in the acronym.
Having a name you don’t like much is dangerous I think… at least in my case it started to totally erode my faith in the project.
Later we created a new project (which is now kinda dead) and called it “Felt Kaan”, which is a name I really like, I like how you get a certain feeling from the word “felt”, it suggests many things, all in line with the music we wanted to make. Also it sounds like a bit like somebody’s given name. The origin of the name is totally random… I’m not even telling you where it comes from, because it really doesn’t matter. What matters to me is what it sounds like and what you think about when you hear it and it it fits with the music.
Using your own, given name for a musical project is a choice which to me suggests a certain “seriousness” of the music. It makes me think of academic, intellectual music, while monikers always have a more “rock&roll” feeling.
To get back to Felt Kaan, I like that it sounds like somebody’s given name, because it bridges these two worlds somehow. It does sound like it’s an academic thing (which it partially is), but then it also isn’t.


I think going by my real name opens audiences up to different styles of music. It’s nice to feel that I have a little extra freedom so choose to play drone at one show, field recordings at another, etc.

Every now and then I feel like adopting a stage name but I’ve not found the experience to be anything other than stressful (I used to have one = endless worrying if the music ‘fitted’ the name).


Monolith was my first choice, but there are already multiple bands with that name. Would work for the drone I mostly make now or the dark techno vibes I used to be really into. I have a Monograph bandcamp page (which has some but less competition) with nothing on it and mostly post occasional clips on Soundcloud under kirklandish.

I also like to make up imaginary extreme metal bands - just mix something profane and/or horrific like Blasphemous Pustulation or Festering Corpse.


My first name is extremely common and can be interpreted as a less common surname, while my last name is often misinterpreted as a less common first name. And it feels like a tag that someone else put on me, not something I chose myself.

I also wanted to have at least some symbolic anonymity and maybe a little sense of mystery.

I used a couple of other artist names and a handful of online names (some of which are still active) before going to Starthief. Which isn’t perfect, but works for me.

If I ever drastically change the kind of music I’m making, I might choose another name for it. There are a lot of great options. I like naming things. :slight_smile:


When I first started using this moniker on the internet it was two things, an obscure Star Wars reference, and it is an extension of my actual name. The reference has at times made me cringe but I’ve stuck with it. I’ve come to think of it as ‘me’ and somewhat anonymous at the same time. It also has kind of an open ended quality to it so that I’m not hemmed in to a specific genre or style. I once considered just switching to my name but decided against it due to the ‘seriousness’ that that implies. This is, after all, what I do to have fun.


My father, when he was making a living as a gigging musician in the 50s, used a stage name because no one ever got his last name right when introducing the band.

I’ve always used my given name, not a stage name, because I just feel like me when I’m performing - not a different persona.

Band names seem to need to happen because the group needs a name beyond it’s members (ABBA and Peter, Paul and Mary not withstanding). So I have my share of those.

Web services demand noms-du-net since they don’t seem keen on dealing with the crazy reality of human given names. So I have too many of those - which really don’t like.

Domain names are really the new frontier in naming! I do have a nice one: “electric.kitchen” - While the name of my band for the last year - since the band is in flux - I’ve decided it’s too good a domain name - and I’ll just keep it and use it as a meta-project under which to hang all my work.


That might be a genre thing.

(Pop stars and singer/songwriters often use their own name, and are rarely what you’d call academic intellectual music.)


Yes totally right. I was indeed only referring to the type of music I’m into, not trying to make a universal rule out of it.


I love naming things, bands, albums, songs…

I’ve released records (see Apple Music etc) under my own name Ed Blomquist as well as under a number of band names: Underwater Airport, Rivers and Skies, Nulmatica…

Other band names: The Free Range Experiment, Astronauts in Grave Peril, Masked Men…


I started of using z-car in the 90’s but I had a little logo of a letter z and a police car. 4 track recordings mixed live onto cdr. Z-cars was among other things a tv show about the time when the british bobby first became equipped with cars. It was supposedly ground breaking in its day but in my memory it was a bit crap… but I liked that crappy brit tv thing.
When I tried to use it for ebay and other kind of web identities it was already taken. There were lots of z cars and lots of zcar bands mostly in America. I gave it a weird spelling, a new made up word yet un-claimed which I thought sounded a bit mystical and Turkish. As I am quite an un-mystical person (and not Turkish either) I liked the crap disguise of it…and it has stayed with me. As it’s just a made up word I don’t think it brings much preconceptions to the music. It is entirely possible that it actually means something in a non English context……I do play around with back identities of the persona…what if I was a retired policeman making hip electronica disguised as a fairground fortune teller in a turban? Mostly for my own amusement.
I have since came across a few zedkah’s since, one was a Czech guy on Myspace. Who I messaged and we both loved Zoviet France…. It was a weird synchronicity thing. I think there was a French hip hop group as well but I never chatted with them…
Like the toaster tattoo I don’t think I could remove it now it would leave blisters.
I am toying with a new project called UR the Hypnotists GF I can’t work out if it’s a terrible name. It fits the music and has its own fictional backstory.


UR the Hypnotists GF = great fun!


for me, the name was a very necessary branding choice, as my “day job” as a media composer is its own brand which uses my real name, and most of the work I do is with animated kids stuff, advertisements, etc…about as far and incongruous as you can be from “experimental ambient” music, or whatever you want to call it.

the name itself is based pretty obviously on the word “enso,” a couple of which I’ve had tattooed on my arm for a while now since before the name. from there I just adjusted it into something a bit more distinct and aesthetically pleasing, and also working in the first letter of my name (Nick). plus the philosophy and general aesthetic of enso seemed to vibe well with the intended project. I especially like when I get to write it with the macron like: n-Sō :nerd_face:


My project name is from an Iain Banks novel - my real name (which you can trivially find out should you care - I intermingle my project name and my real name in several places on the internet) is kind of boring I guess. I think I cared about names/symbols/hidden meanings & connections more when I was younger - now it’s just about the music - names don’t really draw me in so much anymore. They certainly used to.

I took a long time off music for having children and starting a startup so my project name became my online name for a time.

I do worry about the whole making things that are really stylistically different under that project name and I have another project name ‘Cadaestic’ that I use for more beat oriented stuff