Most of us never had any say in what people call us. We have to go through life with whatever someone else decided was a good name for us. DJs on the other hand have a chance to extend their persona into their name. Who wouldn’t love to have the chance to choose what millions of adoring fans are going to call you? But with great power comes great responsibility. When they choose their stage name it’s like choosing a band name: creativity is key! Whether it is an old nickname; or its origins are from an awesome story from your past; or just something you think is rad, it is a great insight into the person. So, if you’re as curious as we are about why DJs choose the names they do, enjoy this new ongoing series from us here at AYNiB.
This is the fourth installment of this ongoing series. Be sure to check our previous ones!
Kraddy (Venice Beach, California)
“The story of my name isn’t that exciting but here it is. My last name is Kratz and a high school friend of mine started calling me “Kraddy” and “Kraddyodaddy” as a fun nickname. It caught on with our friends and it was my nickname for years. When I became a DJ it seemed like the obvious choice for a DJ name.”
Flux Pavilion (Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK)
“There are many different explanations I have come up with over the years. But quite simply it just popped up out of a conversation I had with Doctor P when I was 14 and it just stuck. I was told a few times when i first started that no one would ever remember it and I should change it. But, I’m pretty glad I didn’t.”
Source: I am Flux Pavilion! AMA on reddit.com
Joanna Syze (Seattle, Washington / Sofia, Bulgaria)
“It seems ages ago now that the name Syze was born and truthfully somedays I find it hard to relate to the name anymore, but I’m too scared to change it as its been with me so long. I thought of it when I was 17 years old, so as you can imagine a lot has changed from then to now artistically and emotionally for me. I was hanging out with a friend spinning records and we were listening to an old Peter Tosh song called Stepping Razor. Somewhere along the tune, the lyrics said ‘I’m like a stepping razor. Don’t you watch my size. I’m dangerous.’ The song really is about just standing your ground and not letting people mess with you and bully you. I was really bullied in school so I somehow connected to it. Something in me at the time resonated in those words due to all this and I just said SYZE out loud.
I’ve always been a very small person, in weight and in height yet, that never really stopped me from acting like I was 7ft tall, that usually got me in trouble a lot back then. My friends also use to call me the little pitbull. So, I thought of the name Dj Syze as a representation of that time for my small figure yet, emotionally hard interior. I was playing a lot of dark drum and bass back then so it all somehow made sense in my head. Over the years people often ask me ‘ Oh you know of Roni Size?’ but, that was never why I picked Syze, it was more metaphorical for me. Now being almost 32 years of age, I’m not that same angry little teenager and the name means something else, I’ve turned it into a positive emotional connection. I am still a small figured woman, but I’ve changed from Dj Syze to just Joanna Syze forming myself more into an artist rather than just a dj as I had been in the past. My real Bulgarian name is Ioanna but since no one can pronounce it, I was known by Joanna and somehow Ioanna Syze would have sounded way too funny!”
High Maintenance (Brighton, UK)
“An ex girlfriend was being a total bitch and called me high maintenance. So, to spite her I decided to keep that name in the hope that it would forever haunt her and she would never be able to listen to the radio again without thinking “damn he was good in bed”. Nah! That’s kind of a joke! To be honest at the time I didn’t really expect to be djing longer than a few months after that. Five years later, here we are… stuck with a dj name that could be better.”
HYX & H05T0N (Washington, DC)
Christopher Houston: “Hahaha! HYX & H05T0N, it’s obvious… our last names. We also go as H&H to play on H&M. Rob Hicks saw the spelling HYX on a license plate and it stuck for him. I went alpha numeric H0U5T0N because in 2007 when i signed up for Twitter someone squatted on HOUSTON with only 3 posts, now I believe it’s owned by the city of Houston, TX. So, the alphanumeric thing stuck. Like i said for something simpler we’ve been going as H&H lately.”
Bass Caravan (Calgary, Alberta)
“For 14 years prior to becoming Bass Caravan I was stuck with a name that was picked in a last minute whim so a promoter could get his handbills into print. When I decided it was time to break free from the persona I had established as J-Byrd, I wanted a name that fit my new inspirations and where I was currently in my musical development. I loved the idea behind a caravan and it conjured up images of old world Gypsies travelling the slopes of Europe. I liked that the caravan experience is temporary, it stops, sets up and lives in the moment in which its present at its current location. Since my music is a bass driven blend of old world beats and influences, it just seemed to be the perfect fit.”
Protostar (Bedfordshire, Britain, UK)
“Ah, this is a funny one. I’m doing engineering at university, into things quite sciencey. I wanted my name to be connected with something I’m interested in. So, one day in school (A-level) I decided to flick through the glossary of my physics textbook, saw the word, and thought it looked kinda cool as a name. A coincidence is that a protostar is a star in the early stages of formation (metaphor eh?). But, that Isn’t why I chose it, I’m not that much of an egotist, I literally chose it cause it looked and sounded cool.”
Slim Pickins (Calgary, Alberta)
“That comes from a two fold story. First and foremost, it simply means that there’s nothing left after I’m done playing. It’s been rinsed! The crowd has given it all and left it all on the dancefloor. It’s slim pickins for anybody else who follows on the decks! I grew up in the battle DJ turntablist/ bboy mentality when I first learned about DJing, so you needed to have a little swagger to your presentation. Pre-swag swagger from back in the day I guess. And secondly if you’ve ever seen me in real life it just came as a natural choice as a DJ name. A lean mean soundsystem rumbling machine.”
Soundbwoy Murda (Calgary, Alberta)
” Well, my name was kind of given to me back in the early days of my dj career. We used to all frequent Dub at the Pub. I linked up with a ragga emcee named Ouda Ouda and started rocking a lot of white label reggae remixes with tunes no one had heard before. Eventually when it was time to do the flyer for my first club night I had to put something on the flyer. Being a little guy, the rastas had just been calling me a ‘soundboy’ up until then, with the occasional ‘sound killer / murder sound’ comments because my flow was so fresh. The highlight of every night at Dub at the Pub was when they played Damien Marley’s song Welcome to Jamrock because we all knew the words and were pretty blunted by then so I chose to go with Soundbwoy Murda on the flyer and have stuck with it ever since.
If you have a favorite DJ you would like featured on our next How DJs Choose Their Names then leave us a comment below! Or, if you are a DJ please contact us with your story.