7 Secrets To Choosing A Good DJ Name

deadmau5

deadmau5 found a dead mouse in his PC, which is where he got his name from (the ’5′ was to shorten it to use it as a computer username…)

(Note: Also, see our huge How To Find The Best DJ Name: 25 Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts article for a some more great tips.) So you’re ready to start DJing out in bars and clubs, and of course you will need a name. This is your one chance to get it right, and whatever you choose now will stick with you for your whole DJing life. So how do you do it? What are the mistakes to avoid? And how do you know when you’ve found a good one?

Over a long DJing career, I’ve heard great DJs and bad DJs – and I’ve heard great and bad DJ names too. And I reckon I can give you some pointers. So here’s my advice on how to choose your DJ name:

1. Try your own name

You may have a really cool name, or at least an OK one. I have an OK one (“Phil Morse”) and I stuck with it, but you may be really lucky and have a great “real” name. (An old DJ partner of mine, Herbie Saccani, had such a name.)

Drawbacks? If you’re DJing for “cash-no-invoice” (damn you!) and the taxman hits you in 10 years with a load of flyers and the question: “Where did all the money go?” you may have some swift answering to do. (I know someone who was arrested at an airport on the way to a gig abroad for this very reason.) Also, if you are a merchant banker by day, do you really want your DJing alter ego showing up all over the web when your boss Googles you? Think it through now while you can.

There are doubtless also other people with your name, maybe even some who are DJs. That makes your real name less ideal for you. If so…

2. Try a variation on your name

Keep it personal, but alter something. Change your surname or first name. Use your middle name and last name instead of first and last. Add something in quotes between your first and last names (Harry “Choo Choo” Romero did that). Pick something foreign for your surname (try Italian, Spanish, Russian dictionaries. Just makes sure you don’t use the word for “foot rot” or something by mistake).

You get instant “ownership” over such a name, as it is similar to your real name, but you have the luxury of changing it to make it more cool / unique / memorable.

3. Use your nickname

The hard work’s been done here. Your school friends have tried and tested names for you, and one stuck. I was “Flipper” (Philip? Flipper? I guess that’s how the transition was made. Actually, DJ Flippa sounds kinda good…). Or use your nickname as the bit in quotes, between your first and last names (“Phil ‘Flippa’ Morse”? Mmmm, maybe not so good now.) Obviously if you were called “specky twat” or worse at school this won’t work as well.

So – you’ve got a name But before you go and buy the URL and register your Facebook page, there are a few pitfalls to avoid. Consider the following:

4. Make sure it’s “radio friendly”.

If someone can’t write down your name easily having been told it in person, over the phone, or on the radio, it’s not too good. You’ll get misspellings of it or just complete miscomprehension, when people see it written down and don’t connect with what they’ve heard verbally.

Not a DJ, but here’s a good example: There’s a Scottish politician called “Alex Salmond”. When I hear that on the radio, it sounds like “Alec Samond” Or “Alex Hammond” – definitely not “Alex Salmond”. So pick something people will write down correctly every time. You’ll be thankful for this when you’re famous.

5. Consider having two DJ names if you play two styles

Say you play extreme hardcore techno, and deep house. You may love “DJ Destroyer” for your face-chewing sets, but would that really work for your loungy, beach house afternoons? More people have wider tastes than they’re given credit for, but still, there are limits. I have friends who’ve play in bands, DJed and work in serious day jobs. Using your real name and two musical alter-egos in such a case can be a good idea.

6. Be sure your name is not taken

UK DJ/production duo the Chemical Brothers were originally called The Dust Brothers (I’ve still got the early 12″s, value racking up nicely now, thank you very much). But when US band The Dust Brothers caught wind, legal flurrying led to “The Chemicals” (as they’re often called) changing their name. No need if they’d only have done a bit of research first. So do yours.

7. Ask your best friends, not your groupies, if your name is any good

Fans will tell you anything. Ask your girlfriend, oldest mates or brother/sister what they think. They’re more likely to tell you the truth.

Good luck choosing your name if you haven’t got one, and if you have, we’d love to know how you chose yours… let us know in the comments!

Comments

  1. I want to the eye doctor to get some “Mock” glasses to make me look a little more “Prestige” and found that I actually needed prescription glasses… Hence the name “DJ Urkel Dee”

  2. Thanks for sharing the link to http://www.UD.com! I love learning how people are using the site; we expected it to be popular with startups, but I’m hoping it can be a continued research for DJs!

  3. My friends gave me my stage name back in 1991. Even now I just never saw the need to change it…even when DJ AM blew up big.

    I have a big Greek last name that just didn’t seem to ring well in other variations, hence why I never bothered to change the name.

    I would also suggest for DJs that when they think about their name to also check domain names (web addresses) on a service like dotster or godaddy, and buy the domain name when they find one they want. Sometimes putting that limit might make it easier.

  4. Great blog!

    I actually spent the last few years TRYING to make myself a DJ name, but I unfortunately my first name is “teejay”

    and i just got sick of having to correct everyone when they said is your dj name ‘dj teejay’ so i recently gave in & just launched my website (www.teejay.clubdj.net.au) under that name! lol at least now if people that know me but dont know my DJ name google me I will come up, whereas before they had to konw it to find me..

    so yea that just echoes the points in this blog, great advice!

  5. Supertoy was the first handle I used when I got my first Internet account and could choose my own name. It was so long ago I forget how I ended up with it. Anyways, I still use it to this day so I thought why not use it for my DJ name.

  6. I used to read a comic called “Y: The Last Man” and one of the characters was named ‘Ampersand’ and I got to liking it after I found out what it was ‘&’ and I used it as an alias for writings I did. When I started DJing it wasnt flowing well as DJ Ampersand so I changed it to Amp.DJ then DJ Amp. and I learned of DJ AM and it felt like I was copping out by just adding a ‘P’ so I played with it and added the ‘ero’ so now I’m sticking with the DJ Ampero, I like it and aside from a DJ Amparo it’s kinda unique and people like the ring of it.

  7. putting “DJ” in front of your name is super lame

  8. Phil Morse says:

    Agreed!

  9. Kesterboy says:

    I got mine a few years back when I got into Fatboy Slim’s beats and as I was 17 when I started DJing, I decided to add ‘boy’ to my middle name.

    I suppose choosing a handle is probably one of the most difficult parts of starting out as a DJ cos it’s probably a name you wanna stick with in the long run.

  10. I started with my name then I switched to ‘Illegal Cuban DJ’ my old xbox gamer tag and the fact that I’m cuban what does everybody else think? please email me at illegalcubandj@aol.com or go to soundcloud.com/lunit75..

  11. I’ve gone thru so many names back when I was djing the college radio circuit… Dj Krem de la Krem or just DJ KREM(nickname short for my name Kremlin), Dj Ibdubz or Dj Infinite (play on mc name: InfiniteBW or IBW), Dj Gin (oldschool tag), Dj Brugal, etc…. until I stared djin small bars/clubs that some of my friends frequent stuck me with the name Cabezza. a name I hated at first but alas I made it work and it stuck. there’s actually plenty of people who now only know me as Dj Cabezza thanks to my voiceovers and drops: i.e D-J CA-BEZ-ZA!!!! lol. one thing I hate is being typecast (since I have a spanish dj name people assume I’m going to play Spanish music all night, not realizing I play everything Hip-Hop, House, Techno, Reggae, Latin, Pop, Top 40 whatever the crowd/club dictates)
    sidenote: to all my non spanish speaking djs out there yes it means head in spanish.

  12. Brandon Padilla says:

    Yo, thanks a lot who ever posted this, I was thinking about the Last name thing and I cam up with taking away the “A” and the “D” from PADILLA and decided to name my self “DJ Pilla” English (piLL-Ahh) spanish (pEE-Yah)… I really like it.

  13. A friend of mine , based on symbols that i love to have in my clothes and the ones i stick to my guitar , he gaved me :
    ” Pranse ” as a DJ name

    Whats your Opinion about it !? I’ll be so thankful if you give me your opinion

  14. I was going to go for dj dexxter for no reson but I changed it to dj RA which stands for nothing and then later decided to go with dj rc on account of my name being Ryan Casey. Although since I’m 13 years old I don’t get much respect from kids in my school because well being a dj is unfourtuntly going hand in hand with tool. As soon as realesed my first 3 tracks and they thought it was cool and I started getting booked for there parties. Then my 16 year old brother decided that even though my dj name is spray painted on my room he was going to call me dj rc racer which is in my opion the stupidest name ever… I’m now worried that I’m going to start losing gigs if this gets out.

  15. dj phil da noise says:

    I spent years trying to come up with a dj name. Loads of my friends are using their own name so they can be recognised as themselves by friends and family etc. Dj phil cain doesnt really have much appeal for myself. Dj bamboo already exists (gutted). Tried skinny phil. (im 6’5 and skinny, duh) sounds very ammeteur. Anyway i have been da noise for 4 years now and everyone in my area knows the name.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge. It is very useful and covers everything for bedroom djs upto club regulars.

  16. Hey Phil, I have been reading your articles and it’s really helping me to be a better digital DJ. I am from India and have been spinning for almost 10 years now. I have moved to New York three years ago. It took me a while to adjust to music scene here but I am back spinning now. I need a DJ name, lol, my name is Sandeep Mehta and nobody understands it the first time I say it and it’s kinda annoying for me. My friends are suggesting me some names like San-Deep, Deep Cut, DJ Deep etc. but I want something real simple and something that make sense. Any suggestions?

  17. Nice article! I especially resonate with the paragraph about having more than one DJ moniker for diverse styles. As a basic mobile DJ I work under the name DJ MOJO (easy, memorable, sounds like my name), but for more underground & alternative venues I now to use the handle ChillAchilles (a pun on my favorite Mexican breakfast dish, with musical/mythological entendres). I’ve yet to build a site for ChillAchilles, but that’s next in the works.
    Djdigitaltips is an awesome blog btw! I’ve stayed up loong nights reading all the articles. Good work.

  18. George Thoms says:

    Great article, I went with George Thoms, its my name, it isnt a dumb DJ strawberry icekream kone name. I can book at a club, corporate event or even… *gasp* wedding if strapped for cash lol.

  19. My friend gave me a DJ name idk if i should use it.. its DJ PEZ and thats cause my last name is Lopez what do you think?

  20. I wanted to go with DJ Beetzz… But its not radio friendly..

  21. I also thought of DJ BeatEscape

  22. I also thought of DJ BeatEscape

  23. My DJ name is just my first and middle names (my last name doesnt have a nice ring to it at all and sounds quite common! lol)

    It’s not often I’ll use the ‘DJ’ prefix as it seems to be mostly cheesey hardcore DJs that are called DJ something. Most known DJs dont use the DJ prefix.

    ‘Adam Daniel’

  24. josh kelly says:

    was just wondering if klimax kelly works???

  25. I’m looking at getting into the DJ business and finding all the little nuances, such as choosing a name, to be very interesting. One of my first ideas was DJ EWreckShin, a little play on words, if you will. I like the idea of using different monikers for the different genres. To the guy above who was going to use Dexxxter… great name. I would use something like that if you don’t.

  26. I’ve been DJ’ing for over 5 years now and I’m sick and tired of being DJ Matt. It is driving me crazy. When I was a kid people used to call me matches cause I was as skinny as a match stick. So I’m thinking about incorporating that somehow, not sure though. I’ve played around with DJ Matix but not sure how that is going to translate on paper or with the audience. What do you guys think? Thanks.

  27. Im DJ Tidal Wave and my buddy in DJ Alarmixx

  28. my nickname is guimo i think sounds nice in english and in my native language (portuguese)

    got from my middle name and last name (GUIMar… / Oliv…) = GUIMO

  29. I can’t think of a dj name hey phil any ideas my real name is Kyle Sobota!?

  30. InfecTech says:

    I love tech house & techno,so i came up with InfecTech,what do u think guys?

  31. Andre Reyes says:

    hello there people, well i tried to find a DJ name but everything is taken. Please someone help me find a name something catchy my name is Andre Reyes. My friends nicknamed me Stoudamire (as the basketball player) but i cant use it. please help.

  32. back in those days when i used to do podcasts i’ve been using Luconia as my dj name…i played uplifting trance & i think it suit well. but having grown up from the style and to more darker side of tech & hardtrance i changed to Ver Jaina (inspiration from Jaina Proudmoore in WoW). somehow my naughty colleague says “Ver” when i pronounce Jaina’s name..LOL. i never put a mix online with that name yet, too obscene if it’s spotted on..so i just keep it to myself & few close friends.

  33. Hi!

    My Uncle just gave me some turntables for my birthday and I need help finding a DJ name! My whole name is Cristina Elizabeth Rodriguez and (a little background) my Mom is American and my Dad is Colombian but Ive been raised the last 15 yrs in Mexico! So I’m a mutt, a little mix of everything. I mostly play hip hop! But I am blonde and blue eyes, I look like a typical blond American girl. So help! Ideas for my DJ name?

  34. So I have a friend named Sam Chavez and I’m trying to help him out with his name the best thing I came up with was Insamity, any Ideas?

  35. alf inge b. berger says:

    think i’m gonna go with Derpmcflurr, my first world of warcraft character’s name :)

  36. gabriel says:

    back in 1982, . . When I was first becoming a B-Boy, all my friends were at the mercy of their friends, (i.e. they would GIVE you your name!, thats how we did it in Southern California in the Old School ! …… Now I’ve always played ONLY clean radio-friendly versions of songs, (and when I need to, I edit in Garageband) and I am a Evangelical Christian, so I also play Gospel, and Contemporary Christian Music (usually when everyone is just getting there) But even when I do a “regular gig” I keep it clean, plus my first name is “Gabriel” so my DJ name they gave me ……. “DJ Rated G”

    I am blessed :)

    (could of been worse)

  37. Okay guys… what’s your honest opinion? My name is Rodrigo Raffi. I used to be “DJ Rod”. I prefer not to have “DJ” as part of my name. In Brazil, of course, no one has an issue saying “Rodrigo”. In the US, people just called me “Rod”, so it was easier to just adopt that. But, now, I am not so sure. Rod Raffi? Rodd Raffi? Or is just Rodrigo Raffi enough w/o being labeled a “latin music” DJ? Any 2 cents?

  38. my name is amber mcgregor & ive been playing as AmbaVicious 4 a few years but dont really like it nemore. friend suggestions r ‘dj am’ (as they r my initals but i duno how that would go?) & amberdextrous. wen i ask opionions half like vicious half dextrous, havent really mentioned the am
    help please

    • Uncle Aw3s0m3 says:

      i kinda like taken the “amba” and modifing it slightly to ambi and then mixing it ;) with the later half of amber”dextrous” = AmbiDexterus

  39. wade jeffrey says:

    my mates want to call me breadstick chaplain and my real name is wade jeffrey reedy . any ideas? this is a great topic

  40. Chris Bourne says:

    Hey I’ve asked my family and friends about a good DJ name and these are the ones they suggested maybe you guys could help me to find out which one is best:

    -Chris Bourne (Real Name)
    -Von Bourne
    -Major C
    -Major CB
    -Tackrine

  41. Chris Bourne says:

    I read that if you want to be a serious dj for a lifetime (which i do), you should use your real name instead of needing to use a stupid one you chose when u were thirteen..
    I think this is a very good point but I’m still not sure..

  42. Hello all. I realize this post is a bit late but this topic is a very interesting and important one for everyone in the music business not just djs. I am hoping in the future to produce as well as dj and a name is important for both if those things. I was lucky enough to get a pretty cool name (Angela Storme) the only problem being that the ‘e’ is silent and a lot of people either mispronounce or misspell my name. Also based on one of the first points you made about the dangers of using your real name are a concern. Does anyone have any suggestions perhaps? When I first started producing I went by midnight storm but I believe that belongs to another producer. :-/

  43. mthizo theo ningiza says:

    hey guys am also into djying my dj name im using Mthizo-Touch because its short version of my mother tongue name and english name. what do you this suggestions please buddies.

  44. I used to call myself Brainspilla, just always used it as my Xbox live tag. But then I went from playing just D’n’B to playing house music and it didn’t sound right. So now I call myself Tekuno. I think it fits both genres :)

  45. I’ve been thinking of starting a DJ duo with one of my friends, and I’ve come up with a bunch of snippets of ideas. Like half names, that need to be finished.
    Anyways one of the ideas I came up with was “Mephistopheles”, cause I’m really big on mythology and folklore and stuff. But, I’ve been wanton to put some kind of twist on it but I can’t think of any good ones. Ideas? I’d be fine with other myth ideas too.
    One of my old tags is MA5T3R or MA5T3RS but I guess it kind of goes against the understandable name thing.

  46. I’m just starting to DJ… like barely a novice. My nickname is Lolee, and my real name is Lauren. I also take into consideration that my initials are, “L.E.A”. I try to think of something simple, but I always come up with something too complicated and a subject that has nothing to do with music!

    • By the way, my full name is Lauren Elizabeth Arias. I just wanted someone elses’ take on a DJ name, especially for a girl. I’m really into supernatural stuff, and I love dark names, because they suit me… but cutesy names fit me as well such as Peace or Love… something that describes a small person, because I am a petite girl!

  47. Is Dj Supa B a good name??

  48. Need help with a DJ name. Been coming up with names for years, and still nothing has caught my attention. I’m a mobile DJ, and want to a professional but also catchy name. Any ideas would be nice. My name is Andrew. Last name Jimenez. Last name is kinda hard to use.

  49. CantFigureOutDJName says:

    Ok can’t figure out a name at all…
    I could do what Mord Fustang did with Mob Boss…
    Oh wait Bob Moss… Ew

  50. So my real name is Garrett Tyler, i used to go by Jabroni but the meaning (look it up) is horrible. What do you guys think? Does Garrett Tyler sound like a good DJ name?

  51. My real name is Julian Samuels. My uncle goes by “Sammy” because of our last name. Would something with Sam in it be a good fit? I like the whole idea of DJ Felli Fel and Laidback Luke…I thought about Serious Sam, and I did some research. It was an old arcade shooter…does ‘Serious’ convey the wrong message? If it helps, I like electro house music with lots of bass, and elements of dubstep. I also like Moombahton and reggae-like beats. Any suggestions?

  52. Hey guys i been a lot of replies and advice on this site and find it pretty helpful to most people. I have been searching for a Dj name for a while now and friends and family have Unfortunately been absolutly no help. I love the name “Dj Crush” but cant figure out if its takin. My full name is justin Randall Harvey.. hope someone can help or has advice.

  53. James Buchberger says:

    But what is you wanted a name without the dj in front. For example deadmau5 ad Wolfgang gartner they don’t have the DJ in front of the name and their names are really catchy and awsome. I just need a name that is catchy and I can’t seem to think of one that would suit me. I need a little help

  54. I’m thinking DJ Squatch, since i live in the northwest. but that really isn’t a wedding dj name. I would like something that can be used for club, and mobile DJing

  55. de4thbyc4ke says:

    is riptide or 1-up a good dj/producer name?

  56. Citizen says:

    I’d been djing for 4-5 years using just my surname, and then moved cities to where there was another, quite well established DJ with the same damned alias!

    I’m mad as hell at this, but not a lot that I can do. I REALLY don’t want to change my alias – but I can’t really use it, either. Ugh!

  57. Isaiah Furrow says:

    my full name is Isaiah Moonshadow Furrow, I think I’m going to use my first and middle, as I believe that there’s already one or 2 folks using moonshadow. I don’t plan to be “DJ something”, just Isaiah Moonshadow. I like names without DJ in them. I live in a county with a unique name, Benewah.. I hope to someday make a business, Benewah Beats, for mobile DJing, and I’d Benewah Beats. Most folks around here pronounce it like ben-eh-waa

  58. thankyou very much for the tips! great advice!
    but i still cant find a name that isnt taken.
    i tried all my different knick names, variations of my name,and so on.
    i have tried words that describe my personality, and also tried combining them with knick names and other name variations.
    what should i do?
    p.s- if theres a name that i like, but its taken by a dj who plays a completely different genre than i do-is it ok to use?

  59. Hey…..im looking for a awesome Dj name imma (chick) I like songs with nice sick beat….some solo.my name is kayla neethling.?? Any ideas

  60. I was given the nickname K.Stein when I was in junior high and it hasn’t left me since. Now that I have joined the DJing career, people have yet to let go of the name. In my hometown and towns surrounding us, people call me K.Stein. Do you think I should just keep it if it has stuck with me for this long? It rolls off the tongue and is definitely original, but is it something that others will catch on too? Please give me your input! Thanks

    -DJ K.Stein/ Kayyy Stein

  61. My friend gave me the nick name AfroJake and it just stuck with me so far. I was wondering if this name is too close to afrojack or should I not worry about it.

  62. My name is Madison Johnson and I just starting out with my aunt whose a local DJ I have been doing a lot if parties with her and for her so I decided I should come up with a DJ name but can’t figure one out can some one help me few thins about me my nickname is Mot Mot, I’m a twin I m also deaf, my lucky number is 504 and I’m from jersey. ideas and suggestion hmu at my email madeaf2014@gmail.com also if u have more question

  63. Hello I have been trying to come up with a DJ name for months now even though i got the software only 4 days ago and the name i was thinking of was Zetta Beat and i want some critique on it what do you guys think.

  64. Will Silvano says:

    I picked a short version of my first name and my middle name. I’m not sure but it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, but it definitely isn’t like chewing on nails either.

  65. I go by DJ Swag Beatz. Lol, just kidding. I go by my regular name, first and last. My last name is unique ans easy to pronounce.

  66. My DJ name is : Swaggy Blagger

  67. my real name don’t work so I used my nick name bubbles and I came up with DJ bubbly b

  68. mtclark0518@gmail.com says:

    Have always used SwmpThng bc I grew up in Gainesville, FL. Was thinking of changing to initials and just going by TC. Any thoughts which is better

  69. Arun Bhelay says:

    Whats goin on guys, been a Dj for a while now and I’m still nameless i go by the name of DJ ADB atm but want something more creative anyone have any ideas?

  70. alex_leist@yahoo.de says:

    Hey everyone
    I thought about a DJ name for quite some time now and once I found it also looked if it was already taken…turns out that theres this rapper with the exact same name but he doesnt have a lot of likes on his facebook page and also seems to be very unpopular soooooo my question now is:

    Do you think there would be any problem in still using the name? I mean even my “fans” are more active even though I only have 50 likes on facebook^^
    Otherwise I’d have to be creative again and think of a new name >.<

  71. These are my quickfire DJ names, starting with my handle Clint Menu. So I’ve got TankBryant, Mister Reeve, DJ Senator, DJ Centaur, “The Purpose”, ChipMicro, Anton Franks, Drum Patter, DJ Arcade, Alfred Saxon, Typecast, Clark Toupee, Boris Ishmail…these are all just me having a laugh and they range from the OK(ish) to the absurd to just plain stupid. But so what? It’s djing not brain surgery, just have fun.

  72. I have been trying to come up with a dj name for a while and need some help my first and last name is aisha durant nickname everyone calls me esha and ideas plzz help u can reply to this or hit my email a.durant084@gmail.com thanks appreciate it

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