One of my favourite people in the history of Earth is the visionary architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Aside from designing some of the most inviting buildings I have ever stepped foot in, he was also an interesting man in his personal life and an outspoken artist. His opinions were always made known, right or wrong. Frank also managed to revolutionize North American architecture TWICE. Once at the turn of the 20th century and then again in the 40s and 50s, culminating in some wacky stuff like the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
One aspect I love about Frank’s buildings are the names: Fallingwater, Taliesin, Graycliff, and Westhope. The buildings are beautiful on their own and worth a trip to see, but the name establishes the mystique. It is permanently tied to the legacy of the building and just as much a part of the building as the bricks and mortar. Frank always gets it right.
As artists, we always need names for things and most of us would agree that the naming process can be a joy and a pain. The name you choose invites your audience and if you fail to name your project artfully, it can keep people away from the work.
In the music world, there are SOOO many names out there and it can be overwhelming.
As young folk, we don’t really care what the meaning of the name is, as long as it sounds cool. For example, my band at Westdale was called Kashmir Funk. We weren’t even a funk outfit, we played what can only be described as a precursor to Emo with bass solos all over it.
After Kashmir Funk inevitably broke up, I took a leap of faith (so to speak) and formed an Anglican funk outfit called Anglicanwefunk? The question mark was part of the name. I think it’s fair to say that both of those were missing the mark.
After a few years of people making fun of one's band name, one starts to take things a little more seriously. There is usually an attempt to capture the spirit of the project. Even if you can’t come up with something that’s super cool and meaningful, you simply stick with whatever your given name is because people can’t judge you for your given name (unless it is “ Apple" or “ Seven").
Let’s say that you do finally capture the spirit of your project with a few words thrown together. A few keystrokes on the old computer and you will find that your great idea has been eureka’d by thousands of others all over the globe.
Feel like you’ve found the perfect name? It exists already in Australia. Oh, you want to buy the domain for your website? Can’t do it, bro. You’ve got to tag “music” or “band” on the end of that because there’s already a jewelry shop based in Reykjavik called "Twin Within". Seriously though, check out Twin Within Jewellery.
It’s enough to make you give up and choose a meaningless stupid name, like “Tar-butt” or “Smiggle-snomp”.
It’s not hopeless, though. The internet makes the steep climb of naming that much steeper, but you always get there in the end. It just takes a little extra blood, sweat & tears (already taken).
Frank says it best: "The present is the ever moving shadow that divides yesterday from tomorrow. In that lies hope.”
I’m not sure what that means, but I feel like it means you’ll find a band name at some point between yesterday and tomorrow.
[Next month: Kashmir Funk takes on Smiggle-snomp and Tar-butt in a battle of the bands showdown…]