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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.

So while I'm based here. I'm not focusing so much of my energy on my state anymore. The new magazine is more of a gift. Because I did come up here. But it's going to be run by volunteers and project managers, I won't be very involved. Personally, I'm building up myself and my brand (Illumignarly Records) so I can actually make a difference. Right now I am a nobody and my words carry no weight. Money is the only thing these promoters and venue owners listen to. And I am not rolling around in rich money yet. But when I have the funds, the 1st thing I'm doing is buying or renting warehouse space for a venue/place of operations.

Q: Could you describe your work outside of making music?

A: I have no work outside of music. I do this full-time. I'm a 5150 nut case and I can't hold a job lol. I'm only good at art, music, and marketing. And this is what I do every day. My resume is impressive though, most notably I worked the most at Guitar Center and did Tech Support for EA games but I figured out a long time ago that isn't the life for me. And if I stayed at those jobs I might not still be alive today. The music life wasn't a choice for me like it is for other people. This is literally my only option. Society throws away and ostracizes mental cases. So while that sucks, kinda makes my artistic endeavors resonate more strongly with people. There are a lot of people who do this shit for all the wrong reasons. Proud I can say I am not one of them.

Q: How did you create your newest project, “Mama Bruja”?

A: Mama Bruja is actually 3 years old. I have a LOT of songs and ideas pre-recorded just sitting in my DAW files, so I don't really remember the creative process behind it. But I do remember that song collected dust for a long time because I was going through some paranoia and started disconnecting from my friends and family. The homie who did that song with me NEVER switched up though. So now that I'm up again, I pulled it from the vault, made some badass eye-catching cover art for it, and released it! It's very different from the rest of my songs which are Emo Trap / Dark Rap. This is an upbeat reggaeton track. And a big flex cuz people don't know how diverse I am.

Q: Any future releases, upcoming shows/events?

A: Lots of music, and music videos, from myself and artists from my record label Illumignarly Records. I also have new issues of Clout Culture, AZHIPHOP, AND my baby Trap Metal Arsenal magazine dropping soon! If you wanna get involved or catch up on any of my endeavors you can find everything on


Stay Tuned:

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