SparkNotes Blog

Band Names You’ve Probably Been Saying Wrong

We’ve all been there. You’re having a lovely discussion with friends and you bring up a band you like but UH OH! You said the name wrong and now everyone is laughing at you! You should probably get nicer friends because that really shouldn’t be such a big deal. That being said, perhaps you should check out our OFFICIAL list of how to say some oft mispronounced band names (TM)!

Deadmau5 (Dead-Mouse)

There cannot be a single person who didn’t say “Dead-Maufive?” the first time they saw this house music maven’s name. Given his Northern origins, we can only assume this is a traditional Canadian name. Come to think of it, we’ve never mispronounced Ke$ha as “Ke-money-ha” so maybe this is just our American xenophobic bias.

Bon Iver (Bone-Eevere)

Alright, that isn’t how you say those letters in that order! Lead singer Justin Vernon is from Wisconsin which is technically part of America, so we know this isn’t just a cultural thing. Then again, he is from Eau Claire Wisconsin, which sounds pretty French. Did France take over part of Wisconsin when we weren’t looking? Honestly if we were that negligent, they should just get to have it. (FACT ALERT: Eau Claire means “clear water” and is named as such because French explorers found the waters around what would become Eau Claire clearer than the muddy rivers they had been exploring up until that point.)

Gotye (GAW-tee-ay)

Even just looking at that name brings us back to 2011 AKA the summer of Somebody That I Used to Know. According to Wikipedia, “Gotye” is a pronunciation respelling of “Gauthier,” the French cognate of Gotye’s given Flemish name “Wouter.” One hundred thousand internet points to anyone in the comments who explains what that means! We TOTALLY know but we’d rather give you all the chance to shine. Also if you want to tear up from a three minute Miyazaki-inspired music video, here’s Gotye’s “Bronte” music video:

Depeche Mode (De-pesh Mode)

OK so maybe that one’s not super tough but but we can think of at least three ways to pronounce “Depeche” (De-peesh, Depe-ke, and Depe-che, as in Che Guevara). Fun fact: we were going to make a “Sweet Dreams are Made of These” joke until we learned that song was not by Depeche Mode.

Sigur Ros (SEE-gur Ross)

Icelandic band is named after front man Jonsi Birgisson’s sister Sigurros Elin. The next time your older brother or sister tells you they love you, ask them why they haven’t named their band after you yet. If they respond “but I’m an accountant,” it just means they don’t love you enough to start an internationally successful band to carry your name.

!!! (Chk Chk Chk)

OK, so once you’re successful people will Google how to say your name. We get that. But how do you get booked with a name like “!!!” when you’re first starting out?

“Yes so our name is Chk Chk Chk”

“Mhm, and is that spelled C-H-I-K three times or C-H-I-C-K like a baby chicken?”

“Neither, it’s spelled exclamation point three times”

“……whatever you say”

HAIM (“hy-yum“)

Put on your best Mel Brooks or Yiddish accent and really hcuck the first bit. It’s the girls’ surname, you guys!

?estlove (Questlove)

Not “Questionestlove.”

Blink 182 (Blink one-eighty-two)

THANK YOU, YAHOO ANSWERS. Technically, the band says “one eight two” is also kosher.

Chvrches (Churches)

Move along.

MGMT (em gee em tee)

Only a corporate cyborg pronounces it “management.”

Thee OhSees (AS SPELLED)

Finally, a band rocking some phonetical pronunciation!

Are there any tricky band names we missed?