Thursday, 17 January 2013

What's In A Name?

Not being a musician it's never something I've had to trifle with, but having had the umm-ing and aww-ing of naming two children I've got an idea of how difficult it must be to name your band.  You need something snappy, attention grabbing, yet not ridiculous and that doesn't lend itself to crude re-workings by snidey journalist types looking to slag you off.  What's in a name?  Well it can be a lot!  The good thing of course is unlike a child's name, you can change your band name should it just not be working...  Just ask my daughter, BLooDLuST.

To answer the question, "what's in a name?" we ask three of our favourite (and well named) artists to give their insight.

Campfires In Winter

Tell us about how you came to choose the name 'Campfires In Winter'?

It was a pretty tedious process to be honest.  We've been together for 8 years and went by another name until 2009.  We decided that was a bit juvenile and didn't really suit the type of music we played so it was time for a change.  We thought about it for months, and I was taking notes all the time from books and poetry, as well as trying to come up with ideas and phrases myself.  Nothing was really catching anyone in the band's imagination though.  I liked the word 'Campfires' but there appeared to be a few bands from the USA already called that.  At rehearsal one night we settled on 'We Gathered In Winter' which stuck for, oh, about half an hour, maybe?  On the way home, Wullie and I sort of had a minor panic that it was shite and thought 'Campfires In Winter' might suit us better.  The image brought to mind searing noise set amidst cool soundscapes, which is how I'd say we sound at times.  We phoned Scott - who had been tearing his hair out over our indecisiveness in the weeks previous - for his opinion.  He said, "aye, whatever, fuckin' do what you like".  That was that, then.

What's in a name?  Does it really matter, or ultimately is it just about the music?

It's ultimately about the music of course, but people might not take you seriously if your name is totally silly or if it clearly doesn't suit your genre.  To use a topical example, do you think Alt-J would have won the Mercury Award had they been called Menstrual Gore?  There actually was a Falkirk band named Menstrual Gore by the way.  Dark, grizzly, death metal stuff.  It kinda suited them.  But anyway, while it's not the most important thing a band needs to think about (having good songs and being able to play well live is the first thing a new band should be sorting out), a bad and unsuitable name could cause problems.

Shambles Miller

Tell us about how you came to choose the name 'Shambles Miller'? 

When I started writing music, I didn't want to release it or perform it under my own name.  Although I like it, I wanted something that would stand out a bit more.  I went for Shambles because a close friend tended to call me it.  Probably because it rhymes with my real name and, well, I'm a bit clumsy.  And lazy.  And late a lot.  I don't look like quite as much of a shambles as I used to though, hopefully.  I've had a haircut since then.

What's in a name?  Does it really matter, or ultimately is it just about the music?
The music is definitely the most important thing, but an interesting name helps.  If you give yourself a name that makes you sound like a generic indie band off of a TV show, some people (me) are going to make less effort to pay attention to your music.  On the other hand, if your music is good enough (if you've got mad skills) then you should be able to overcome whatever daft name you might have (like Mad Skills*).
 * Apologies if there are any bands out there called Mad Skills**.
** Maybe I'll call my next backing band "The Mad Skills". Shambles Miller and the Mad Skills. I like it.

Lovers Turn To Monsters

Tell us about how you came to choose the name 'Lovers Turn to Monsters'?

In all honesty I chose my long winded name whilst staring at the 'make your own profile' page on Myspace.  I'd recorded some demo songs in the weeks prior and decided they weren't fitting for the two bands I was in at the time (thrash emo and indie pop respectively).  I knew my songs sounded Bright Eyes-esque and with an already vast knowledge of Myspace-folks I thought I could lure the fans in with a Bright Eyes reference...  Aand basically 'Lovers Turn To Monsters' was the only song title that stuck out as good band name (prove me wrong readers?!) and it's managed to stick.  'Cause I'm stubborn and don't like change!  True story.  Myspace folk loved it though...

What's in a name?  Does it really matter, or ultimately is it just about the music?

I don't think a name is vastly important when it comes to making music, but it certainly does come in handy due to the fact that at least 99% of the world (even though they've been told not to) judge books by their cover.  So when choosing a name, it is probably a good idea to come up with something eye catching, that sums up your 'vibe' and lets people know what to expect to a certain level.  Don't pick some daft, obscure, six syllable Conor Oberst reference though, cause it'll destine you to piles of reviews that comment more on your epic name you didn't come up with than your music which they are inevitably let down by...  A lot to live up to haha.  Probably happened to Echo & the Bunnymen as well.

Have those catchy names like Shambles Miller and Lovers Turn To Monsters grabbed your attention?  Then come hear their music too at February's Scottish Fiction Presents: Aye Tunes vs. Peenko gig on Saturday 23rd at The Roxy 171.   Tickets are £6 and on sale here.

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