Power in a Name

It took me a long time time to come up with a name for what I’m doing. In fact I had a few contenders but they were all rubbish. Completely unconnected to this, I’d decided to read up on the life of Aleister Crowley, not because I was interested in satanic sex rituals, but because I’d heard some interesting stuff acrowbout his climbing and mountaineering exploits (pretty good climber apparently) which had largely gone under the radar.

In amongst what is one of the most incredibly bizarre, deranged and incredible life stories a piece of information stayed with me. It detailed how he had changed his name slightly to fit into a certain linguistic template as he had heard it lead to notoriety and fame – “OK”, I thought, “I’m in”. It seemed as good an idea as any other as I’d been largely drawing blanks trying to come up with a decent name.

The particular structure was two words, a dactyl followed by a spondee. Here’s some definitions:

Dactyl: a word consisting of one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables. e.g. carefully, buffalo, notable

Spondee: a word consisting of two long (or stressed) syllables. e.g. football, breakdown, dumbell

I managed to track down two huge lists of these two types of words and went through them getting rid of words that I didn’t like. The ones I liked got written down and then cut out, screwed up and put into two bowls. Then, in the party game style, I started picking out combinations. There was a lot of nonsense, but Frequency Cowboy jumped out straight away and when I realised no one else was using it, it seemed an obvious choice.

Here are some names that didn’t make the cut:

  • Saturday Oddball
  • Minimal Homework
  • Binary Driftwood
  • Somebody Outside
  • Digital Primate
  • Specimen Picnic

It’s funny how since choosing the name my music has started to sound different. I keep asking myself, does this sound like Frequency Cowboy and sometimes the answer is no so I do something different.