Why They’re Called… Neon Indian


Welcome to the weekly SPIN.com feature “Name That Band” inwhich we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some ofour favorite artists. (See past episodes of Name That Band! here.)

This week: Austin, TX’s Neon Indian, currently on tour in support of last year’s breakout debut, Psychic Chasms.

Why Neon Indian: “Neon Indian is the only project that I’ve been involved in where I didn’t come up with the name,” says mastermind Alan Palomo. “It’s especially weird since I’m the only full-time member of the band. But the name came about in 2007, when I was in another band called Ghosthustler. My girlfriend at the time was like, ‘If you can have a band with a silly name like that, than I’m starting one with an equally strange name.’ And she just said Neon Indian. She even started a Neon Indian MySpace page that went unused for years. But you know as much about why she picked those two words as I do. I’ve never asked her about whether or not they have any deeper meaning. I think she just blurted them out. But I like that the name has a cryptic aspect, even to me. I want to keep it that way.”

Previously Rejected Names: “Psychic Chasms, which is what I eventually called my album, was actually in the running as a band name for a while. Another name I was thinking of was the Bit Rate, which I’m really glad I didn’t use.”

Best Band Names Ever: “I like pretty much any band name that has the word ‘Psychic’ in it. So Psychic Violence and Psychic Ills. I also like long awkward names like Einsturzende Neubauten. Names that work better as acronyms are good too, like Yellow Magic Orchestra. Then I like tough names, like Black Dice and Throbbing Gristle. And you know what’s a great band name? There’s a Spanish band called Esplendor Geometrico, which means Geometric Splendor. That sounds nerdy in English but it’s mindmelting in Spanish.”

Worst Band Name Ever: “Oh man, I don’t know. It can be funny when a really awesome band has a lame name. I guess Toto is an example of that.”

See past episodes of Name That Band! here.


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