You listen to them, you like what they do with music, you become their fans of most networking sites and they are no less than a celebrity in a crowd of musicians. Disc Jockeys, or DJs as we call them, have advanced quite a bit since they first came into existence. But we are not questioning what brought them into the limelight.
What is very interesting to note is that many DJs have their DJ-ing names, like a pseudonym. Sometimes the names makes sense and sometimes they are so bizarre that you are left wondering whether they got inspired by a net search of weird names.We spoke to a couple of Indian DJs and tried to understand the mystery behind these names. And here’s what we’ve managed to unravel:
My music, my name : DJs christen their DJ names according to the music they make. Like The Chemical Brothers! The duo’s real names are Thomas Owen Mostyn Rowlands and Edmund John Simsons. They are occasionally called Chemical Tom and Chemical Ed. “The tunes that they make are very acidic in nature and that is why their DJ names make a lot of sense,” says Aditya Pushkar who himself is a DJ. Aditya or Ady’s DJ name is Phatso. “Well Phatso also suits me because of my build. But more than that, I like to use larger than life sounds. Sounds that are huge and leave a lasting impact on my listeners,” Ady explains. Indian music group MIDIvial Punditz also has a very apt name. They commonly use a lot of Indian musical instruments in their music like the dhol, tumbi, sarod, santoor, dholak and more. The MIDI from their name means musical instrument digital interface and Punditz in their name represents their love for North Indian classical music. By the way they are both pundits.
It’s about being different: Some of them get their DJ names because their real names might not be so impressive as a musician or they like to add more attitude to their profile. For instance, Jalebee Cartel, the name of the music group, came into existence because the group was asked to name themselves. So while two of the members were out for a drive (Ashvin and Arjun), they came up with the name Jalebee Cartel. “It just happened by chance,” says Ashvin, a band member. Mumbai-based DJ Tinu’s real name is Harjot Arora and Delhi based DJ Paddy’s name is Pradeep Rajput. “The DJ name make you stand out,” says DJ Paddy. So like it or not they all have a name to tagged their love for music, personality and passion.
Here are some international DJs and their real names:
DJ AM: If you read his name for the first time you might think that he must have been an early riser. But that isn’t the case. DJ AM’s real name is Adam Michael Goldstein. Though this American DJ died last year due to drug overdose, he made a mark on his listeners before he died. He dated singer Mandy Moore for a very brief time as well. He used to have frequent collaborations with Travis Barker and Blink-182. He had also worked on albums for Papa Roach, Madonna and Will Smith.
Dj Kaskade: No, this DJ did not spell cascade wrongly, but wanted something with more attitude as his DJ name than just Ryan Raddon. Kaskade is an American and a record producer.
DJ Shep Pettibone: This mainstream house music DJ’s real name is Robert E Pettibone, Jr. His prowess at production and mixing led him to work with such artists as Madonna and George Michael in the late ’80s during the height of these artists’ popularity.
DJ Sasha: Internationally loved DJ Sasha was born as Alexander Paul Coe. He very recently came to Delhi and made Delhi sway to his electronic music.
DJ Tiesto: It would have been quite boring if DJ Tiesto had used his real name – Tijs Michiel Verwest – as his DJ name. Although he has used many aliases in the past, he is best known for his work as DJ Tiesto. On his latest productions, however, he has dropped the ‘DJ’ label and is now known simply as Tiesto, which is a twist of his childhood nickname.
DJ Paul Van Dyk: Matthias Paul, better known by his stage name Paul van Dyk is a Grammy Award nominated artist, and one of the world’s leading electronic dance music DJs and record producers. He was named world’s number one DJ by DJ Magazine in both 2005 and 2006, and has remained in the Top 10 since 1998.
DJ Darude: This trance influenced DJ’s real name is Ville Virtanen. Debuting in 1995, he released the hit single Sandstorm in late 1999 and subsequent album Before The Storm. Darude is known worldwide for his progressive/uplifting style.
DJ 1.8.7: She is one of the few women DJs in the world and was born with the name Jordana LeSesne.
DJ ATB: Better known as André Tanneberger, DJ ATB is a German DJ, musician, and producer of electronic dance music. According to the official world DJ rankings governed by DJ Magazine, ATB was ranked number 11th in 2009. He is also ranked as world number four according to The DJ List.
DJ B-Key: B-Key’s real name Justin Birch, is an international drum and bass DJ and producer from London, UK.
DJ Bad Boy Bill: William Renkosik is a DJ from Chicago, Illinois, US. He plays an assortment of house music. Bad Boy Bill is known to play on six different turntables at once. He has come close to winning the DMC championships a few times. He is considered to be a ‘Superstar’ DJ.
DJ Mr C: Stephen Craik is a British DJ, musician, actor and rapper, who uses the monikers Mr C and Crack Man. He is best known as the frontman for The Shamen during their most commercially successful era.
nKid Creme: DJ Kid was born as Nicolas Scaravilli. He is a house music producer too.
DJ Delicious: The name might sound a bit kinky and suggestive to his lady fans but DJ Delicious’ birth name is Arndt Meyer-Wegner. He is a German producer and DJ within the electronic music scene.
DJ Dubfunk: DJ Dubfunk was born with the name Mohamed Hegab. Dubfunk was born in Alexandria, Egypt, and resides in Geneva, Switzerland.
DJ EBK: Martin Kornacki just likes to have a DJ name that is different and yet connected to his roots. He is a drum and bass producer and DJ from London. E-Blok was EBK’s DJ name in his early teens. It plays on the fact he is of Polish descent, hence Eastern Bloc combined with the rave culture connotations of the letter ‘E’ commonly used to describe the MDMA based drug Ecstacy. EBK used to be a graffiti writer in London during the mid 90s, though not using the name EBK, the spelling and three letter abbreviation of EBK however follow the street style formula for writing crew names during that era.
DJ Fish Go Deep: This is an Irish production duo consisting of Greg Dowling and Shane Johnson from Cork. They have been releasing house records under this name since 1997 and in 2006 they reached number one on both the dance chart and Indie chart with their track The Cure & The Cause.
DJ Grafiti: Grafiti is a transcendent electronic music group that was formed in 2007 by Leama and James Davis.
DJ Felix da Housecat: Born as Felix Stallings Jr, this DJ is also a record producer. Felix is regarded as a member of the second wave of Chicago house.