Most people call him Dubfire, his inner circle calls him by his real name, Ali…but me, I gracefully yell out a simple “hey, uh! Your set was awesome!” after I drunkenly spot him at an after hours club, running giddily towards the DJ booth as his bodyguard looks back and glares at me for my failed attempt to make contact.
But I’m in a club, I’m energetic, I’m sociable. I will not stop until I have commended him on the amazing 2-hour set I watched him mix live just a few hours prior.
Minutes later, inebriated me decides to take to Instagram. I start the comment with the greeting, “Hey Mr. Fire” and send him my best wishes for the evening. I am proud of this nickname I have spontaneously bestowed upon him.
Too proud, in fact, that I don’t stop to think about his real name. In retrospect, I begin to wonder where Mr. Fire got his stage name. I guess I can kind of see where he got Dubfire from Ali Shirazinia.
There’s no set pattern with electronic DJ’s and their stage names. The genre of the DJ won’t be an indication. Sometimes they simply choose to use their real names (like Joseph Capriati, Armin, Carl, etc). Other times, they dress up as 1/3rd of a s’mores, pretend they’re actually Tiesto and call it a day.
With some, the choice is obvious. Take Claude Vonstroke for instance. Even though his stage name definitely belongs in ‘70s mustache porn, I’m sure even then he thought it would be better than going by his birth name, Barclay Macbride Crenshaw. (Say that 5 times fast.)
If you want to have some real fun twisting your tongue, try imagining the unlucky MC introducing Swedish House Mafia by their real names, “Welcome Steven Angello Josefsson, Axel Christofer Hedfors and Sebastian Ingrosso!!!!!” The crowd would likely go confused before going wild.
Not unlike strippers, I’m sure DJs have fun with stage names. I never sat down and considered what Eric Prydz might have in common with an “exotic dancer”, but now I know the excitement of taking on a different persona if only for a few hours.
Eric Prydz, my favorite man of many names, who is known primarily by his real name also utilizes two aliases to differentiate between genres. Most of the tracks are released under the name Pryda will be more on the progressive house side of things. Tracks under his real name will tend to be more commercial and radio-friendly. And when you least expect it during a Prydz show, his alias Cirez D will emerge with dark, progressive tech-house (swoon).
This is what the first 10 of MixMag’s top 100 DJs list would look like if everyone used their real names. See how many you know.
I would rather see how many of these names I can butcher.
- Martin Garritsen (Martin Garrix)
- Dimitri and Michael Thivaios (Dimitri and Like Mike)
- Robbert van de Corput (Hardwell)
- Armin Van Buuren
- Tijs Michiel Verwest (Tiesto)
- David Pierre Guetta
- Steven Hiroyuki Aoki
- Olivier Heldens
- Sonny Moore (Skrillex)
- Nick van de Wall (Afrojack)
And no. No response from Mr. Fire…yet.