Psyclon Nine began in 1999 when roommates, Marshall Goppert and Josef Heresy created an industrial metal music project called "Defkon Sodomy", influenced by bands like KMFDM and Ministry. The band only performed under that name twice before changing it to Psyclon Nine. The name was a malapropism of Zyklon B, the trade name of hydrogen cyanide used in the gas chambers during the Holocaust. The “Nine” was used because of the number's significance in Aleister Crowley’s numerological writings. Around this time, Marshall and Josef took on their stage names as Josef Heresy, and Nero Bellum. Nero's name was taken from the Roman Emperor Nero Caesar, and Bellum is Latin for war.