From the Mailbag #2: What’s in a Name

I use the name DJ Demonixx (pronounced ‘demonics’). Some people say the name is a bit mis-leading, and that it leads people to believe that I write satanic dance music (which I dont). The good thing is that people talk about the name. I get some complaints but most people seem to like it. Good or bad, people are talking. Can this type of buzz hurt me in the long run? If this is a good thing, can I use this to my advantage in any way?

A mentor of mine loved the saying, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity, as long as they spell my name right.”

I admit that I share your concern. If your name doesn’t match your music, there might be a segment of your potential audience that might not sample your stuff. On the other hand, you will probably sell a bunch of t-shirts to folks who ordinarily might not listen to your genre of music, simply because you have an evocative stage name.

Names, and their connotations, are important. I recall a story about Tom Scholz from Boston shopping his new material to indie labels under a fake name, since the indie folks were “too cool” to consider signing “Boston.” (For all I know, that could just be an urban legend, but it’s a fun example.)

If you’re good at communicating to your audience, and giving them tools to talk to each other about your work, your name really won’t matter. Just be consistent in what you’re doing.