- The first band name – inspired by major rock acts
- Things get complicated with RedNight – the band realizes that the name is lame
- The desire for a renaming grows. But when is the right time to change your name?
- Nomen est omen – why Liger fits like a glove
- So that the name change happens simultaneously on all channels: Liger plan enough time for social media, releases and streaming platforms
Next to your music, it is the most important signboard: the band name. It should be catchy in the world out there, represent you and always be a faithful companion. But what if it doesn't fit anymore? Linkin Park, Black Sabbath and Queens Of The Stone Age are just a few of the many acts that used to have different names. And they did it too: In 2022, RedNight from Aachen will rename themselves in Liger. We spoke to singer Maurice. He tells us about his experiences and gives insights into what a band's name change can mean for releases, social media channels and Streaming.
In 2011 a couple of boys from Aachen between the ages of 12 and 13 formed a band. When choosing a name, they consider: Which acts are there whose names you think are cool?
They throw their idols Guns N' Roses and Metallica into the ring. The name should be catchy and best reflect them musically. Because they were even more punk back then, Green Day also entered the spotlight. With the assumption that colours always work, they invert Green Day into RedNight. This is the first band name.
After a few years, however, RedNight found that potential fans and organisers kept mispronouncing the band's name. And that it doesn't catch on outside the band. Wrong spellings are also stumbling blocks – because nobody can find them and the band name on the internet.
Over the years, Green Day RedNight no longer shaped them musically either. The Aachen-based band turns to hard rock and is influenced by other genres. Then an Austrian Green Day cover band with the same name appears.
"The name itself wasn't bad. But we slowly outgrew it and at some point we just didn't feel it anymore."
In 2018 RedNight are on a festival tour, followed by club concerts in 2019. At the same time, they are working on singles and an album of the same name. They are aware that a new band name is inconvenient in this "hot phase": Right now it would jeopardise their established reach and could make communication more difficult.
Then the pandemic played into their hands. In 2020, they give themselves a break because they can't transmit the usual energy at gigs with (minimum) distance. The activities of their social media channels are also on hold. The guys from Aachen will not meet again as a band and rehearse until 2021. When a summer 2022 where concerts can be held is foreseeable at the end of the year, they dare to take the long-awaited step.
"It was our unique chance to make the name change. Because people hadn't heard from us for a long time. And a name change felt like a comeback."
But RedNight do not rush into anything: they first spend three to four months collecting suggestions for band names. And carefully weigh the respective pros and cons.
"We were fully aware that no one was waiting for us. That's why we deliberately took our time in renaming the band."
But what is the best way for bands to choose their second band name?
(Possible) influences when finding a band name
- Founding place: In the case of the guys from Aachen, that would be Great Britain. More precisely Bristol or the Sir Bernard Lovell School. However, the name of their student exchange school turns out to be a bit unwieldy.
- Local reference: Here they brainstorm whether they can think of something about Aachen or nearby France.
- History: A reference to Roman buildings can also be considered, of which there are several in Aachen. These would also be perfect as a location for band photos. In addition, the ornate design of the old Aachen buildings could be reproduced in the font of the band's name.
- Mythology: Since singer Maurice has a penchant for the all-powerful, they consider going in the direction of "the chosen ones." But they quickly agree: That is too much and presumptuous.
- Rehearsal location: The band had been coming together in the socio-cultural centre "Klösterchen" for years. So how about church buildings? Or a church reference? Many death metal acts have already made use of this. They want to avoid confusion with established bands and reject this idea again.
- Rehearsal room: Why not spare a thought for the centrepiece, the rehearsal room? Is there anything suitable in terms of equipment as a namesake? The inspirations are good, but no unique selling point emerges.
The band from Aachen are once again sitting in their rehearsal room and mulling over a new name for a long time. Drummer Jannik only says the word "Liger". He has to explain that to the others in more detail: What is meant is a hybrid of a lion and a tiger.
They take the new name with them into their everyday lives. Next, they design a logo for it and look for a font. They also do a quick check to see if the name works internationally in English and French. And note Liger cannot be mispronounced. In addition, the band can explain it without a long leaflet: Like tiger with an L!
They take their time to consider all these factors. They feel very comfortable with it and decide that this should be their future band name.
“We have been preparing for the name change for almost half a year. We didn't want to set up a new band and all the toss everything out. It was important for us that RedNight remains a part of us. Because 'RedNight' is still the name of our album."
They take a strategic approach and think about how communication to the outside world should be done. In addition:
- Set a date for the renaming,
- prepare everything so that people can still find you,
- pair the announcement with the first concert of the year
- and calculate with enough lead time in case something should go wrong.
Since Liger already has reach, streams and publications as RedNight, the name change can't be done with a snap of the fingers. They also take a very close look at the digital renaming.
“It was particularly important to us that our songs continue to be there. That we take our followers and streams with us. That what we have worked for over the years is not suddenly gone."
That is why they proceed in a well-thought-out manner on the individual channels and platforms. They would prefer it if you could only see Liger everywhere. Because that would be easy and looks like a brand.
Spoiler: Unfortunately, this does not work because the name has already partly taken digitally. Nevertheless, they find a good solution:
With a quick search, Liger check whether the desired website https://www.ligerband.com/ is still available. They are in luck, because the domain has not yet been taken. Some time after the purchase, however, they realise: they should have chosen a domain that fits their later alias TheBandLiger (which results from creating the social media channels and the Spotify artist).
Unfortunately, the Liger profile has already been taken by a 13-year-old Dutchman. Maurice writes to him but receives no reply. The band doesn't want to work with a special character in their name. The suffix ".official" doesn't look good in their view and "_music" sounds: "like a carnival band you can book," says singer Maurice with a laugh.
Again, looking at the accounts of other acts helps. Maurice how the Swedish metal band Ghost does it: they prefixes its name with "theband". Liger does the same – their alias thebandliger is created. To keep the bridge to RedNight, the former name continues to appear in the profile description. This makes it easier for both old and new fans to find them.
Somewhere Liger hear that a name change on Facebook is said to be very difficult. And that it takes a while for it to take hold. That's why Maurice allows for an extra 2-3 days' notice. In the end, it only takes a few seconds and is much easier than expected. Old RedNight videos and the post history are also linked here.
The old RedNight account cannot be overwritten. Here the band creates a new profile in cooperation with their distribution partner. The fear of losing followers and streams is unfounded:
- Both profiles run in parallel for a few weeks. The songs are also available on both at the same time.
- They are able to direct their fans easily from the old profile to the new one.
- The number of previous streams remains the same. Spotify keeps counting the streams seamlessly.
- The previous favourite songs are retained.
- And: Ligers are automatically included in playlists in which they previously ran as RedNight. However, with the condition that the songs in these lists continue to be played after the switch.
When changing their name, they have to change all covers of previously released singles. Maurice says this is a requirement of online stores. That's why the new band name is now on all old releases.
“The name change has paid off. Concertgoers are always interested in asking where the name Liger comes from and why that's what we are called. That's a good sign."
As you can see, a few steps are necessary from the idea to implementation. Approach it professionally depending on your needs and ambition. It's worth it for a (hopefully) one-time thing.