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Exclusive Interview: Brett Deadly Keeps It Real When Life Gets Heavy

AZ-based underground artist and founder of Illumingnarly Records, Brett Deadly, gears up with a wide arsenal of trap metal bangers and diverse soundscapes, ready to plunge into local DIY scenes with an unrivaled vision and drive.


Recommended for fans of: Turnstile, Ghostemane, Spaceman Zack

We had the opportunity to catch up with Brett Deadly about his craft and vision last week.


Q: How long have you been making music? When did you start up Brett Deadly?

A: I've been playing around with music my entire life. There were always guitars around the house. And although I didn't like church growing up, the little bit at the end where everyone sings was pretty cool. I'd always go ham. Music and art have always been an escape from me. "Brett Deadly" isn't something I ever started up though. I actually am Brett Deadly. In middle school, a substitute teacher was giving everyone nicknames to help her remember people and I got the nickname Brett Deadly cuz I was a morbid goth kid. After a while, all the teachers and students at my school were calling me Brett Deadly. And with my father being military, we would move a lot, and so would other families and kids from the 1st Cavalry Division. So the name followed me from school to school, all the way through high school, college, and beyond.

Q: Are you open to collaboration, what's been some of your favorite collabs?

A: I am always open to collaborations and I do so often. My biggest collaboration was probably with ITSOKTOCRY but my favorite collaboration isn't with a musician, it's with an artist. I got the pleasure of working with my visual idol, Michael Shantz, who's the original designer for Drop Dead. The clothing line ran by Oli Sykes. I was the creative director and guided Michael through my vision which he executed perfectly. And now I have a Goat character/persona simply named "DEADLY" that is the focal point for my Label / Brand. DEADLY is also my Trap Metal side project.

Q: What's the local DIY scene like out in AZ? How have you contributed to it?

A: We don't have a solid music scene here in AZ. What we have is a club scene. So the DIY side of things is the best we can do at the moment without any solid all-ages venues that don't focus all their attention on liquor sales. There are some venues, but they are very strict and operate on a more corporate level. Chill intimate DIY shows are rare here and there is a LOT of drama that discourages locals from wanting to pursue a career in music.

My contribution to my city is a new magazine called Arizona Hip Hop Magazine, so serious musicians with good character have at least ONE healthy option in my city. Out here in the valley of suns, you gotta mingle with the devil (I'm speaking metaphorically) to get ahead. And that's weird. I've also contributed to a few local DIY shows at Tattoo shops and warehouse spaces and inspired a few people but I don't feel like I have done much yet. Honestly, it makes me sad. My favorite touring acts usually skip Arizona and drive straight on through. </