Pseudonymity Reconsidered

I've been reconsidering some of my pseudonyms lately. And wondering how far pseudonymity will take you when you would prefer that your efforts were all related, connected and coherent.

The primary moniker I use for producing music, Instigator, has proven too ubiquitous. I adopted it eight years ago and am the oldest listing for artists named "Instigator", for the record. The bigger point is that I think I've outgrown it. I argue with myself about whether Instigator was supposed to do anything but get my solo production efforts underway. Things have been instigated well enough (the ambitious "Used Materials" album, and the fruitful Noise Throng label). It's time for the name, like the creative product itself, to move beyond the beginning-stage mentality.

This is what I did with INSTILLE, a name derived from the portmanteau of Instigator and Distille.

But getting my musical monikers in order inevitably leaves me reconsidering my PYLBUG moniker, too. A misspelling of pillbug, inspired by a dream about an abundance of insects and pills as interchangeable objects, it's been my handle for extra-curricular productions since 1995. Sometimes, however, I find myself wary of the connotations "pylbug" brings.

I am not, for the record, a pill-head any more than I am an insect aficionado. [Though I'm definitely much closer to the latter.] The reasoning by which I arrived at "pylbug" doesn't always hold up now, nearly 13 years later. Many of my extra-curricular efforts now seem inspired by different things, and this makes me feel like they should go by a different name. I'm considering a revised strategy to naming my projects; a refined point-of-view. Something like that.

All of that is for me to figure out. But, here's the question for my readers: where does your pseudonym come from, and did you plan any longevity into it? Maybe this question is more for bands, bloggers, content producers in general... people with a product that needs a brand name, if you will. What thought, if any, did you put into the act of picking your favorite pseudonym?

That is, if you can reveal the secrets behind your screen names.


kroushlconflict said...

I guess mine's pretty obvious.

In retrospect, I would've chosen something shorter to type. I'm lazy like that.

pylbug said...

Yours is good. Worth the character count you have to type.

E said...

I tend to think that I have a bit of an antiquated sense of paranoia which has pretty much informed my online adventures.

For the most part, I'm not looking for any sort of cohesion or consistancy, and I've actively avoided it. I'd prefer to adopt different fiction suits for different types of interactions. I try to keep the search engines off my tail (although I realize that the folks I really need to worry about already know eveything.)

If you want cohesion, a calling card, all of that, might I recommend just using your government name and ditching the psudeonyms altogether?

E said...

Oh, and yours is great Mrs. Conflict!

Jason said...

Yeah, pseudonyms, that's a tough one. I've been using the "Destructor of Soil" nickname since about 1994, so it's been with me for awhile. I really like it as my solo noise project name but it probably doesn't need further expansion as a "brand name". I don't know if it's the best name for my Flickr account but whatever, it will stay that way for now although my profile now displays my real name too.
I've always wondered about all those pseudonyms out there ever since I started to see all the graphic designers out there with them. It's all the rage, or at least was for designers to name themselves "Struggle, Inc" or "Praystation" or "Antigirl" or whatever even though these were all individual designers and not companies. I decided to stick with my real name for my website although I've often wondered about coming up with another one to separate my "art" and my "work" from one another. I still do.