by Abby Sandel
Another Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has just wrapped up. Every spring, the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California transforms into a weekend-long music venue, the modern incarnation of Woodstock.
We’ve all heard of the 2017 headliners – Lady Gaga, stepping in for pregnant-with-twins Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, Lorde, Radiohead. Plenty of the other performers are not quite household names, some even obscure, known mostly to their devoted fan base … for now.
What does any of this have to do with baby names? While many of the performers answer to typical 20- and 30-something names like Kevin and Justin, Matt and Josh, Sarah and Megan, not every name is expected.
Some reflect the eclectic, global nature of the festival’s line-up. Others are carefully crafted stage names, calculated to be distinctive and cool. Plenty of them feel like they could be the next big thing.
For more indie inspiration, check out this NameTalk thread from 2012, featuring favorites from that year’s performers.
Here are some of the more intriguing name possibilities gleaned from this year’s Coachella line-up, and what they signify for naming a son in 2017.
Cadien – Cadien Lake James is part of Chicago indie band Twin Peaks. Yes, it’s his real name, a mash-up of Caden and Adrian, but one that feels fresher and more original. Maybe that’s because we’ve embraced longer boy names like Julian, Sebastian, and Gideon. While many parents resist invented names, sometimes they just plain work.
Dixon – What’s not to love about a two-syllable surname-name powered by the letter x? It makes the Coachella line-up thanks to Steffen Berkhahn, a Berlin-based DJ who took this as his stage name. It’s gained in use for boys in the last decade, too. Since the surname comes from Richard, it might also update that classic name.
Indio – Way back in 1993, years before Coachella was a thing, Robert Downey, Jr. named his firstborn son Indio after the California desert town. The town’s original name was Indian Wells; the change reflects Spanish-language influence. Indio combines two trends – our love of appealing place names, plus the ends-in-o of Leo, Milo, and Matteo.
Jai – Coachella performer Jai Wolf was born Sajeeb Saha in Bangladesh. After his family moved to the US, he spent his teenage years playing the violin in a youth orchestra. Now he’s a DJ, with a stage name inspired by Game of Thrones. Jay is your grandpa or maybe your dentist, traditional and buttoned up, while Jai is a daring, pan-global choice for a son.
Lucky Blue – With Maverick, River, and King in the US Top 250, words-as-names have gone mainstream. Lucky Blue Smith is the drummer for alt pop band The Atomics. The rest of the line-up? His sisters: Pyper America, Starlie, and Daisy Clementine. The quartet mixes music with modeling, as the face of the H&M Loves Coachella campaign. Blue makes a great middle, and Lucky is the kind of bold word name that we’re hearing more and more of in recent years.
Mac – A handful of on-trend names repeat on the Coachella performers list. Rapper Mac Miller was born Malcolm McCormick. Indie rocker Mac DeMarco was born Vernon McBriare Smith IV. Mac feels edgier than Jack or Max, and less expected than Gus or Joe. Mac has charted in the US Top 1000 previously; add a –k, and Mack currently stands at Number 661.
Porter – Surname names show no signs of slowing down. The next generation tends to end with –r rather than –n, like Porter. At Coachella, there’s DJ Chet Porter, as well as DJ Porter Robinson. Porter feels like a logical successor to Carter, Hunter, and so many other popular –r ending picks. It currently ranks Number 375 in the US.
Sasha – This year’s Festival gives us Welsh DJ Sasha – born Alexander Coe – and German DJ Sascha Ring, better known as Apparat. While Sasha has been heavily used for girls in the US, boys are beginning to reclaim this traditional nickname for Alexander. Chris Hemsworth gave the name to a son; Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts call their Alexander “Sasha,” too.
Tycho – Scott Hansen is the composer-producer behind Tycho. Like Indio, it’s an on-trend o-ending name that’s rare in the US. It also brings to mind pioneering astronomer Tycho Brahe. From an Ancient Greek name, Tycho means “hitting the mark.” It’s an edgy, interesting pick for a son that’s rare but perfectly wearable.
Would you consider any of these names for a boy? Are there other Coachella-inspired names you’d add to this list? I think the names from this post work well, too!