7 Indie Band Names Explained

By Andrea Lara

person playing string instruments
Photo by Suvan Chowdhury on Pexels.com

Have you ever wondered why your favorite band has a name like Dayglow, or Big Thief, or Beach Fossils, whatever the case may be? When music first sparks an interest in me, I tend to pay attention to the song titles, the lyrics, and the name behind the art. The creativity that the band holds is something very intriguing, especially with indie bands and artists. As independent musicians, they have the power to spill out all their colors and shape their image and style without sway. Of course the sound of the music has a very big part in this but with indie music, the artist’s creativity is at least half of the hype. Can you agree? Here are just a few artists and their reasoning behind their band names: 


The band is made up of Lauren Morgan and Jordan Shih from Orlando. The duo both had a background in music and formed as a band after coming together to write music such as their song Renee. They chose their name based off of their own personal surroundings. Lauren states that her parents were always in sales and living off of selling things and Jordan’s parents also spent some time selling things such as at flea markets. In a way, you could say that their band name represents their upbringings. More information on Sales can be heard from a blog Q& A on Progression.


The name Vansire was chosen by an online random word generator as the members were unsure of what to call themselves. This band is dream pop and indie alternative with evolving and inspiring sound. It is made up of Josh Augustin and Sam Winemiller from Rochester Minnesota. From an Oberlin interview with the members, the duo is said to have met in high school while both being band members on the drumline. When they first decided to form their band, their only resources were an iPad with the Garageband app downloaded. “We held the iPad mic up to some instruments and recorded a song,” Josh said.  From there, the band has released three successful albums. 

Goth Babe 

This artist is also known as Griff Washburn from Tennessee. Washburn writes and self-records all of his own music and originally started up as a musician at age 16 with just an acoustic guitar. The name for himself came from something that inspired him. “Goth Babe is actually just a song from a band called Surf Curse. I liked that band a lot in college, and I still do, and I was just scrolling through songs and bands, needing a band name and that one just shook me,” Washburn told 34th Street Magazine.  

Vampire Weekend 

The band is made up of vocalist and guitarist Ezra Koenig, drummer Chris Baio, multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij, and bassist Chris Tomson. Their name was chosen based off of a short film that Koenig worked on during the summer between their freshman and sophomore years of college.  According to AllMusic, the band met at Columbia University where they were finishing up their degrees. Vampire Weekend was formed in early 2006 after Koenig and Tomson collaborated with L’Homme Run. From hip-hop colabs to indie rock, the band has now had many successes.        

Catfish and the Bottlemen

This band with their particularly unique name is made up of Johnny Bond, Bob Hall, Van McCann, and Benji Blakeway who formed in Llandudno, North Wales in 2007. The band name was inspired by Van McCann’s childhood.  “I remember being plodded outside a cafe, watching this guy,” Van recalled. “He had a washing line with bottles hanging off it and he used to play it like a drum kit. He was called Catfish The Bottle Man.” With this being his very first memory of music, McCann felt it fitting to title his band after the peculiar incident therefor, Catfish and the Bottlemen the band was named. More information on this can be found on RadioX.  

Young the Giant 

The band consists of Sameer Gabhia, Jacob Tilley, Eric Cannata, Payam Doostzadeh, and Francois Comotois from Irvine, California. While their band name has had a swarm of interpretations, band member, Gabhia wants us all to know that it was never meant to give off pretentiousness. The band was talking names and wanted something representing youth and growth. “Young the Giant” was blurted out and they each liked the ring to it. After declaring the name as a possibility, the band went on to have a jam out session and after three or four songs under the guise, it worked for them. They went on to create five albums and several singles with popular songs such as “My Body” and “Silvertongue.”  More insight in the band can be found on Audio Ink Radio.  

Beach Fossils 

Made up of Dustin Payseur, Jack Doyle Smith, Tommy Davidson, and Anton Hochheim, Beach Fossils is a band from New York, NY and were formed in 2009. Allegedly being one of Payseur’s biggest regrets, he says, “I was making demos and I had recorded three songs for what is now Beach Fossils but it didn’t have a name. I wasn’t going to send a demo because I’d already sent out so many demos on this project and been rejected that I was like, “There’s no point, no one’s going to fucking care.” But a friend pressured me to send the demos out. And I said, “Well, I don’t have a name for this.” And they said, “Call it anything, just send it.” I had a notebook with words I used for lyrics and the words “beach fossils” were in there, and I said, “That’s going to be the name for these demos.” And I sent it out, and then I started playing shows – and then I was stuck with the name at that point.” A regret or not, their band name is known by many indie fans and creative, nonetheless. For the full interview, click over to Big Take Over. 

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