DJ Names: Your Complete Guide To Choosing A Great One

DJ Staci, The Track Star | Feature Writer
April 23, 2020

Choosing a cool DJ name from all the possible DJ names out there is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. In this article, we’ll help you to make the right choice, and avoid the common mistakes.

When I tell people I’m a DJ, one of the first questions I often hear is, “Oooh! What’s your DJ name?” They stare back at me with excitement and anticipation, waiting to hear something certifiably hardcore. “DJ Staci,” I say, as their faces inevitably get bored, “…The Track Star.”

And I’ve re-gained their attention.

They like the play on words with “track”, and ask if I competed in track and field (one of my favourite topics… yes, I did). And while I don’t think it’s completely perfect, my DJ name works for me. In this guide to cool DJ names and how to pick one, I want to help you pick a great one for yourself, too.

The problem with DJ names is that choosing one is like deciding what to tattoo on your face when you’re 18. You are being forced to decide something very prominent about yourself, when you’re too “new” to know who you are yet. So I want to spend some time outlining a method that will generate a whole host of names for you to choose from, and help you make a good choice.

This is not just an article to skim through before moving on to the next DJ name choosing article (you won’t need more articles — guaranteed). Instead, grab a piece of paper or open a new “note” on your phone and roll up your sleeves.

If you use our process, you’ll walk away with at least a dozen possible DJ names — plus a process by which to figure out which one of those dozen names is the winner. Yes, there are DJ name generators out there and lots of other tools, and indeed we’ll be using them – but it’s important to do so as part of an overall process.

And whatever you do, don’t tattoo your DJ name on your face quite yet, either…

Why you have to do this

One thing is for certain – you do have to decide on a DJ name if you’re in any way serious about this, and decide fast. If you continue DJing without having a set DJ name and/or logo, you will inevitably be labelled as “DJ Your First Name”, and your non-existent logo will be left off of promotional flyers. It’s not surprising that aid to help DJs choose names, like DJ name generators, are so popular.

A friend of mine who had just started DJing did not have a name or logo, so when I invited her to be my guest DJ at a bar night I hosted, we had to leave her (non-existent) branding off the flyers.

A few months later, still having neglected her branding, she was invited to play at a prominent local nightclub. This club puts the DJ’s logo up on enormous screens as the DJ is playing.

Every area DJ knows that when you play here, you need to take a great logo file on USB with you, because you look like a mega-rockstar at some huge festival with your logo up on the floor-to-ceiling screens. However, for my friend, the lighting designer at the club simply typed “DJ Her First Name” in Arial font.

What a wasted opportunity for amazing brand – and all because she had neglected getting serious about getting a DJ name and logo.

(Oh, about logos. This is an article about choosing a name, not getting a logo, but a logo is important too, so make a note now that once you’ve got a name, you should work on this. To start, try FreeLogoDesign to see a wide variety of different logo concepts in seconds. You can also type “DJ logo” into Google and see the image results for inspiration. Services like Fiverr, Upwork, and 99designs offer affordable freelance graphic designers as well.)

Considerations when choosing a name

Before you get ahead of yourself and start buying URLs, it pays to think through a few considerations that will sway your thinking as you begin to create a shortlist of names.

Will your name suit the type of DJ you want to be?

First and foremost, what kind of DJ do you intend to be? This should be the first question before even beginning to consider names.

  • Mobile DJ – Your name should not scare the parents of engaged couples, while still appealing to millennials. Likewise, for corporate bookings it should be acceptable to the “company decision-maker” while still generating excitement on their promotional flyers and Facebook events
  • Club DJ – Your name should appeal to whatever scene you intend to be a part of (music genre, LGBTQ, hip hop, fitness…)
  • Not sure – abide by both sets of guidelines above

Will your name help you dominate the search rankings?

Today, failing to consider search engine ranking and Google keywords in picking your name is a preventable mistake — especially for mobile DJs.

Let’s say indie music is your passion, and you would like to be a mobile DJ who gets to spin a ton of indie music. When your target client sits down to search for you on Google or Instagram, would it be better if your name was “Indie Wedding DJ” (a real mobile DJ company in Toronto) or “Ace Events”? Nobody searching for an indie wedding DJ is Googling “ace events” to fill their need. If you need an “indie wedding DJ,” you’re going to Google “indie wedding DJ”.

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Even though my DJ name is “DJ Staci, the Track Star,” my website domain/site title is SanDiegoDJStaci.com and all my social handles are @SanDiegoDJStaci. Making this one tiny, easy decision instantly ranked me ahead of the #1 ranking page on Google in my market (because the “Google My Business” results are displayed ahead of the website results… when someone Googles “San Diego DJ”, nobody is a closer match that San Diego DJ Staci’s Google listing!)

Even if you plan to be a club/bar DJ, there may arrive a time in which you’d like to be easily found online. A bar owner in my local area decided he wanted to make Thursdays at his bar “country night”. He Googled “San Diego country DJ”, found the country music page on my site, called me, and offered me a residency right there over the phone.

Don’t overlook the power of being “findable” on Google or Instagram.

Should you have “DJ” in the title or not?

DJ Mag’s annual list of its top 100 DJs features only one DJ who actually has “DJ” in his/her name (DJ Snake). (DJ Khaled didn’t even make the list…).

For club DJs, having “DJ” in your title might feel, therefore, like an easy thing to lose – but, again, if being findable online is important to you, you should consider keeping it (especially when you are just starting out).

You should also know that if you choose not to put DJ in your name that plenty of people will still call you “DJ”, such as “DJ Calvin Harris”, anyway. As a DJ industry writer, my writing often sounds confusing when referring to “real name” DJs if I don’t put DJ in front of their name (at least once, at the beginning of an article).

Should you use your real name or something fictitious?

On the subject of real names – should you use your real name, or make something up? If you use just your given name and live in the USA, you won’t have to apply for a “DBA” or “Fictitious Business Name” certificate (a document from the county you live in authorising you to do business under a different name – similar restrictions exist in other countries, too).

If you use your real name, you also won’t have to get a separate business bank account so you can receive PayPal or check payments made out to your DBA (“doing business as”). Putting “DJ” in front of your real name is a grey area, of course, as of course, you can still do all your “official” stuff without the “DJ” in front of your name.

I looked through the first 100 followers I have on my Instagram when typing in “DJ” to filter my search. Turns out that 33% had their real name as their DJ name (eg DJ Staci or DJ Nichols), 55% had a moniker having nothing to do with their actual names (eg DJ Track Star), and 17% had a combination name using a tricked-out form of their real names (eg DJ Staci, the Track Star).

For some, this may be more encouragement to use your real name by itself or to use a fictitious moniker… depending on whether you are a rebel or want to blend in.

…or is a company name best?

For mobile DJs, the more relevant question for “single-operators” (known as “single-ops” in the industry) will be whether to have a DJ name or a company name.

A quick look at my local TheKnot.com page of DJs shows only two profiles using DJ names (the rest have company names). However, if you ever want to appeal to bars/clubs for some juicy midweek or recurring gigs, seriously consider using a DJ name over a company name. (Plus, again, it will put you heads and shoulders above the rest on Google.)

The number of DJs on DJ Mag’s Top 100 list with names like “Track Star Productions” was, of course, zero.

  • Kygo, real name Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll
  • Zedd, real name Anton Zaslavski
  • Alesso, real name Alessandro Renato Rodolfo Lindblad

How does it sound in another language?

Especially if you play in an area with two languages, this is a real issue. It certainly is in my city (San Diego, California) because we are 20 minutes from Mexico, and 25% of the population speaks Spanish here.

Don’t be like Colgate toothpaste, which is marketed in Mexico under its original name, which means “hang yourself” in Spanish (“colgar” = to hang). The founder of this very website, Phil, was telling me that when his wife and he named their two children, they were careful to choose names that worked in both English (they live in Gibraltar, an English-speaking territory) and Spanish (Spain is just over the border from them), so the kids can attend summer schools, play camps and so on in either country without their names confusing people! Same deal – pick wisely early on to avoid issues down the line.

Likewise, if you are from a non-English speaking country and want to ensure your name appeals to the “universal language”, definitely consider “anglicising” your name. You’d be following in the footsteps of these famous DJ names:

• Dimitri and Michael Thivaios = Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike (Belgian)
• Martijn Gerard Garritsen = Martin Garrix (Dutch)
• Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll = Kygo (Norwegian)
• Anton Zaslavski = Zedd (German-Russian)
• Alessandro Renato Rodolfo Lindblad = Alesso (Swedish)

Is your choice readable / pronounceable?

Just a few days ago, I was listening to the final wrap-up speaker for the Mobile Beat Las Vegas DJ conference, and heard the speaker refer to popular American DJ and instructor DJ Hapa (pronounced “Hopp-Uh”) as “Happ-Uh”.

If you grew up having your name constantly mispronounced in school, you’ll know just how irritating this can be… the sound of “Staci Nicholas” to me is like fingernails on a chalkboard (my full name is actually Staci Nichols).

For example, DJ Lok announces on her Instagram profile that her name is pronounced “lock”, not like “Tone Loc”. I recently had a confusing conversation with a DJ friend about who I was playing with in a DJ showcase… my friend said “DJ Cliff”. I responded, “DJ Clife?” We figured out later we were talking about the same person… someone I had always thought of as DJ “C-Life” and my friend had always thought of as “Cliff” is actually neither — it’s DJ Clif E (as in Clif Estores).

Save your friends and clients these totally avoidable headaches! Pick a name that is easy to both read and pronounce.

Will your name stand the test of time?

How might your chosen name sound in 20 years? Maybe DJ Youngblood will be a bit awkward when you’re 65 years old, cursing at Serato v250! If you tie your name to a genre — let’s say I was “DJ Ska Staci” — what happens when trap music is invented and becomes your new passion? Again, choosing a DJ name is like planning what to tattoo on your face. Think!

The Cue Up DJ Name Generator lets you specify certain parameters and then gives you endless options - while only semi-serious, sites like this are a good way to start getting creative.

How to find a DJ name

Searching for ideas

Now, get inspired… it’s time to generate some appropriate DJ names. If you don’t already have a few concepts in mind, scroll through some of the DJ hashtags on Instagram, Mixcloud profiles, or listings on The Knot/Wedding Wire, and research names other DJs are using. Start a list of likes and dislikes.

For example, by doing this, I might notice there are an abundance of fellow female DJs with “Lady” and “Miss” in their names. This may be good or bad, depending on where you stand with it – but it’s worth noticing and having an opinion. With the list of names you like, try to see a pattern. What do they have in common?

Once you’ve researched the territory a little, it’s time to get stuck in to some “namedigging”. Here are some ideas:

  • Use an online thesaurus – A thesaurus tells you similar and opposite words to the original word you are inquiring about. Generate a few more ideas by checking out a thesaurus. DJ Staci, the Trail Star?
  • Use an online dictionary – A dictionary can help you scope out alliterative names (names beginning with the same letter… like DJ Jazzy Jeff or Laidback Luke). Just start looking through the section that includes your letter
  • Use an online crossword puzzle dictionary – A crossword dictionary will tell you all the five-letter words that start with “F” or the seven-letter words that end with “or”. By using a crossword dictionary, I found the name for my night at a local pub. In the crossword dictionary, I searched for all the words that began with “she” and came up with “SHEnanigans”. There are also free rhyming websites that will tell you all the words that rhyme with your first name or whatever else you’re looking for
  • Consider Greek and Latin root words – You can create your own word for your DJ name based on Greek and Latin root words. For example, DJ “Audiocise” would mean “sound cutter”; DJ “Fracto Fon” would mean sound breaker (admittedly they’re not great, but hey, I’m not gonna do all your work for you!). You could combine English with a root word too — like “DJ Klepto Technique” (technique thief). Again, these are just concepts – you’ll have to find the good ones…
  • Use a baby name website – Baby name sites (like BabyNames) allow you to search for names based on a plethora of different criteria (country of origin, gender, first letter, most popular, etc). A few more similar ideas include using an anagram generator, fake name generator (yes, they exist), or the star registry
  • Consider common DJ-related words – Not all of us are lucky enough to be born with a DJ name like my friend DJ Nick Spinelli. Maybe your name is alliterative with or rhymes with any of the following DJ-friendly words: anthem, atmosphere, backline, bass, bassline, beat, boogie, BPM, chirp, chorus, club, crate, crew, crowd, cue, cut, dance, dancefloor, dice, disc, downbeat, drop, energy, fade, fete, fiesta, flow, get down, groove, hip hop, hook, jam, jockey, mash-up, MC, melody, mic, mix, music, night, nightlife, “on the 1”, “on the 1s and 2s”, party, pitch, pop, record, remix, rhythm, rock, scratch, shindig, show, sing, skill, slice, soiree, song, sound, spin, tape, technique, tempo, track, transition, tune, turntable, vinyl, wheels of steel…
  • Use a DJ name generator – These tend to be silly, but, who knows, you might get inspired or at least have a crazy story about how you got your name. For instance, at Rum & Monkey you take a personality quiz to determine your DJ name… I got “Bassline Bitch”. A newcomer on the block here is the Cue Up Name Generator, that lets you specific parameters before giving you its ideas. At Fantasy Name Generators they give you 10 random names; some I got included “DJ Marble”, “Clover”, “DJ Phase”, “Crit”, “DJ Ink”, “Temper”, “DJ Impulse” and “DJ Heartbeat”. Or if you’re a fan of “I feel lucky”-type buttons, try the Random Techno Festival Name Generator – when I pushed the button, I got “DJ Jokedrone”
  • Incorporate your favourite song lyrics or song titles – Be mindful of copyright issues, but something simple like “DJ Sneezabeat” (reminiscent of Beyonce singing that she sneezed on the beat and made it sicker) should be fine
  • Think about your heroes – If you admire Abraham Lincoln, you could be DJ Railspitter. If you admire Joan Jett, you could be DJ Jettblakk. If you admire Malcolm X, you could be DJX (spoiler – last one is not available, unsurprisingly)
  • Use a foreign word – Remember in the 90s when everyone was getting tattoos of the Chinese symbol for “peace” or the Japanese symbol for “serenity”? This is the same concept! If you prefer a simple name like this (eg DJ Peace), spice it up by using the Russian (DJ Mir), Spanish (DJ Paz), or German (DJ Frieden) version of it instead. The American ice cream company Häagen-Dazs used this method. They chose a Danish-sounding name for their company so their product would appear more savvy and sophisticated. Sasha got his name by looking in a Russian dictionary for his real name, “Alexander”
Once you've got a name, there are sites like this one that will help you to find available web and social media addresses and handles.

Deciding on your formatting and handles

Once you have some name ideas, you need to work on the formatting, handles and URLs, looking at whether they are primarily free, ie not taken by someone else. There are numerous websites that will let you run a check across common web domains and social media services: Take a look, for example, at Namecheckr, Checkuser and Knowem.

Taking my simple first name, Staci, as an example, here are some common variations:

​Staci
​Staci Nichols
​STC NCHLS
​$t@c1 Ni₵holz
DJ Staci
​Mixmaster Staci
​Mixologist Staci
​MC Staci
​Dr Staci
DJ Nichols
Staci “The Track Star” Nichols
​DJ Staci, the Track Star
​DJ Track Star
​DJ TRKSTR
​DJ Staci Spins
​DJ Spinny Staci
​DJ Miss Staci
​Miss DJ Staci
Ms DJ Staci
​Lady Staci
​DJ Lady Staci
​SN the DJ
​DJ SN

​If your top choice DJ name is already taken, use this list to get ideas on how you can ​vary the spelling or formatting so you can still keep your original concept.

If your ​preferred social media handle or domain name (URL) is already taken consider ​the ​following formatting options:

​@djstaci | djstaci.com
​@stacidj | stacidj.com
​@iamdjstaci | iamdjstaci.com
​@dj_staci | dj_staci.com
​@dj.staci djstaci.com (dots are not allowed in domain names)
​@djstaci | djstaci.com
​@djstaci1 | djstaci1.com
@yodjstaci | yodjstaci.com
​@officialdjstaci | officialdjstaci.com
​@djstaciofficial | djstaciofficial.com
​@djstacirocks | djstacirocks.com
​@therealdjstaci | therealdjstaci.com
​@hellodjstaci | hellodjstaci.com
​@imwithdjstaci | imwithdjstaci.com
​@hereliesdjstaci | hereliesdjstaci.com
​@godjstaci | godjstaci.com
​@votedjstaci | votedjstaci.com
​@followdjstaci | followdjstaci.com
​@djstacispins | djstacispins.com
​@respectdjstaci | respectdjstaci.com
​@djstaciusa | djstaciusa.com
​@sandiegodjstaci | sandiegodjstaci.com*

* Be careful when leaving out the spaces between words that you don’t confuse how people read the truncated version – for instance, in this case, people constantly misread the handle/URL as “Sandie” ​and “Sandie God”.

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​So should you always go with .com? Received wisdom says you should, even if you choose another ending too (because people will always type “.com” by default), so try to, by varying things up as above.

That said, there are other endings available, and these DJ related domain name endings are worth considering:

​.net
​.audio
​.biz
​.club
​.dance
​.events
​.global
​.hiphop
​.house
​.international
​.music
​.party
​.pro
​.rocks
​.vegas, .boston, .miami, etc.

How many DJs are actually happy with their DJ names?

To get more information on how many “regular” DJs are actually happy with their DJ names, I reached out to my Instagram followers.

My DJ friends were on average 90% satisfied with their current name, which sounds good, but when I also asked if they wished they could change their current DJ name, 44% voted yes! I think this expresses that, even if we have a great DJ name already, we are always thinking the grass looks greener on the other side. We always wish we had a bigger, better name. I know this is true for me.

I followed up with two of the DJs who were not happy with their current names. Here are their stories:

“I’m unhappy with my DJ name because I feel it doesn’t reflect my personality. I look at DJs like Diplo, A-Trak, and Laidback Luke, and their names have a personality. Mine is just a nickname. I feel that with time (and more DJ experience), I could learn to love my DJ name – or end up discovering a name that better reflects who I am as a DJ. It seems that many of the best DJ names come from happy accidents or are bestowed upon you by friends. I’m waiting for mine.”

And:

“The problem is that I was doing business with a friend, and we both DJed under our company name. Since my partner knew more people in his personal life, everyone thinks the company name is him. Even when I’m booked at clubs, people often think it was him playing, and he gets the recognition! Now that I am trying to do more business on my own, it’s hard to get out from under the shadow of the old company…”

How some real DJs got their DJ names

Deadmau5 got his name when a dead mouse got inside his computer, causing it to shut down. Moby took his name from Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick. As a teen, Skrillex was known by nicknames like Skril, Skrilly, and Skrillex by his friends. “Tiesto” (Tijs Michiel Verwest) is a twist on the Dutch DJ’s childhood nickname. (You can read more DFJ name stories at this article on All You Need Is Bass.)

I also asked my Instagram followers, “How did you get your DJ name?”

@DJT_Major responded that T is his first initial, and he got the “major” thinking of minor and major music scales

@Jirafa_Official’s name was given to him by his young daughter (He’s 6’4” and Hispanic, and “Jirafa” means giraffe in Spanish)

@DJJennyPocket, on the other hand, is short. Friends helped her come up with the name “pocket” (as in “pocket-sized”), and she added her first name Jenny because “DJ Pocket” was already taken.

@IAmDJtheDJ, similar to my friend above, has the initials “DJ” from his real name

deadmau5 got his name from a dead mouse he found in his production computer.
Moby took his name from Herman Melville's classic novel Moby Dick.

How to decide

If you’ve been doing half of what I’ve been suggesting in this article, by now, you should have a list of hopefully a dozen or so DJ names.

Google your DJ names to see which ones are already being used and make notes. For any names that are already being used, write down some alternate spellings/formats. Now put the list away for a while (”sleep on it”).

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When you pick up the list again, cross off your bottom three to five choices, your least favourites. Continue putting the list away and revisiting it to cross off the bottom choices until you have only three potential DJ names left.

At that point it wouldn’t hurt to re-read this article to be extra sure those top three choices are meeting all your functional criteria as well. Now survey friends and family with your top three choices and get their feedback and opinions – don’t skip this last bit, as others’ opinions are hugely important.

“But I’ve already got a name – and now, I’m not happy with it!”

If you already have a DJ name and are certain you want to change it, think twice! It’s a big step. Instead, first…

  • Consider a restyling rather than a complete rebrand – Is it possible that upgrading your logo, fonts, and colour scheme would suffice in giving your brand a makeover? Ask yourself if a new name is absolutely necessary
  • Consider a partial name change – This would make things less confusing for your tribe. For example, my friend DJ Rhiannon wanted to add singing and production to her resume, so she changed her professional name to Rhiannon Roze
  • Consider creating a second DJ persona – Is it possible to keep your original name for the area where it is most known (let’s say in the mobile DJ community) and add a second separate name for a new venture (eg your new nightclub name, for your nightclub gigs?)

Still want to change? then the most important thing is to tell people in advance what’s happening.

Tell your followers a month or two in advance that, on whatever date, you will be changing your name to “DJ New Name”. Post this on all your social platforms, on your website, and add it to your email signature block until the name-change date. On that date, post everywhere again that you have now officially made the transition. On your email signature block, you might say “formerly known as DJ Old Name” for a while.

My friend recently changed his DJ name, but because he didn’t make any advanced announcement of it, I didn’t realise that his new name was even him!

I asked @Strikker_Official, who is now 19 years old but chose her first DJ name (Poizenberry) around her fifteenth birthday, her story:

“Having my old name ‘”DJ Poizenberry” was nice, but after I start getting older the name seemed too childish for me. I felt like I wasn’t treated like a professional DJ but more as a kid. The name made me feel like I wasn’t being taken seriously. DJ Poizenberry no longer seemed representative of who I was as a DJ. Strikker is more professional. Changing my name was the right decision. I am comfortable again with my name – transitioning into the next level, an upgrade!”

Conclusion

In reality, most DJs seem to have two or three “other” names we wish we could also use. Unfortunately, your relationship with your DJ name will have to be pretty monogamous. Accept this fact of life.

For example, I’d love to be DJ Apocalips, but it’s a bit too doomsday/nasty for doing weddings! I’d love to be DJ Scratch Paper, but I’m still a budding turntablist and not sure I’ve earned it yet. Another one I like is Mixtress Staci.

Remember that while most DJs said they were happy with their names, almost half still wanted to change them anyway. DJs are creative people – whatever name you pick, just know that your ever-flowing creativity will no doubt present you with more great names from time to time.

At least now you can make a highly informed decision and be prepared for that awesome future name when it pops up!

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Last updated 3 June, 2020

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