Friday, 23 March 2018

What's In A Name?

I have been looking for a band name for a while and finally found one we can get behind.

Everyone has a different view on what makes a good band name. As John Lennon famously said of The Beatles, "it's just a name, like 'shoe'." There are however undoubtedly some great band names and some awful ones.

"Royal Blood" is an example of a fantastic band name. It holds two meanings which are somewhat opposed to each other so it makes you think. Both words have emotional resonance so you feel something when you hear it. It is simple, memorable and thought provoking - meaning people remember it and possibly associate it with something important which may make them ultimately more interested in exploring the thing that holds this name - the ultimate goal of any music marketing campaign.

Other band names I really like are 'The The', 'Led Zeppelin' and a band I recorded once called 'Steaming Dog' - which they soon afterwards changed to 'The Grans', which I thought was a pretty awful name by comparison.

Regardless of whether you like it, agree with it morally or not, people judge books by covers and bands by their names. And if the name influences people to be more likely to want to know more about, and ultimately listen to your work, then it's a good name.

With all this in mind I also wanted a name that reflected the fact that it was my project, in a similar way to "Bon Jovi" being Jon Bon Jovi's project but is still a band in it's own right. "Simon and the Somewhats" or "Densley's Half Dozen" would have achieved this but ticked few other boxes.

A while back Mark suggested 'The Densley Engine' which some of us liked. I used that name on some flyers as it was better than 'The Simon Densley Band' but we still weren't convinced.

The other issue is availability. With bands forming all over the world on a daily basis and everyone wanting a unique name, the number of available decent names is dwindling. I came up with a few that I really liked only to find they had already been used somewhere else.  'Antiself' was one example, had it not been taken already we might be called 'Simon and the Antiself'. The 'Bunnyrats' was another. The internet is disappointingly good at digging up little known things.

With the focus back on my name again I remembered a geography teacher at school talking about an area being 'densely populated' and everyone looking at me. Perhaps there was something in that. Googling "Music Density Band" turn up a Phoenix (Arizona) metal band (Fifth Density) and a 'densitymusic' website that seems to be all about British blues guitarist Keith Thompson but no band call 'Density' itself. That was good!

I also decided to change the spelling to reflect that Densley is pronounced as if it has a 'z'. So Denzity then? I didn't like the look of that so I tried it with an e: Denzety? No, I put back the i and was about to remove the e again when I spotted the 'zeit' in Denzeity and immediately thought of Zeitgeist. That was good. Another quick look suggested Deity was in there too - also good, and split by the 'enz'* - which as an anagram of 'zen' makes the whole name an anagram of 'Zen Deity'... A cryptic crossword lover could have field day! I liked this name. So did the small number of people I suggested it to, significantly, people who had not really liked any of the other names I had put forward. So it was decided - the band would be called Denzeity.

While writing this post I googled "Density Band" again to check which band names had come up. Right there at the top was the facebook page of a New York three piece called... Density. How had I missed that? I really hadn't wanted to see that in there. I had already changed the whole website to reflect the new name and really didn't want to go back and start again looking for another one. However reason kicked in and I realised that Denzeity is quite a different word to Density, with a different pronunciation, regardless that it was a derivation. So Denzeity was staying.

*Split Enz was a New Zealand band with Neil Finn who later formed Crowded House (whom some people have said my music sounds a little bit like - although I don't hear it myself). They were big in Australia in the 1980s and I really liked them when I was a kid (and still do to be fair.)