Deadly Lo-Fi is the kind of band that does things for the helluvit. For instance, when Travis Burdick—or Good Reverend T, as he goes by onstage—moved to Wilmington three years ago, he simply responded to a Craigslist ad posted by Kellie Everett—or Crunch Mama K.
“The ad was titled ‘“Crappy guitar player seeks crappy drummer,’ and I had just bought a drum set so I emailed her,” Burdick says.
Burdick had been sitting on the band’s name for some time, and thought it fit his outlook for the style of music he wished to play. Everett agreed, thus giving way to their initial formation.
Coming out of Super Cobra, a surf band Burdick played in for a bit in Greenville, he was strongly influenced by the garage sounds from Flat Duo Jets, Billy Childish and Sin Alley Comps, combined with artists he had long been fascinated by, such as Tom Waits, The Cramps, Hasil Adkins, The Monsters, and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Burdick’s vocals and work on the drums and guitar ring true of these influences, consisting of bizarre lyricism and unmistakable elements of fuzzy garage-rock riffs. The integration of Everett’s hand, and not only vocals and guitar, but the unexpected baritone sax and organ, make Deadly Lo-Fi stand out from other garage bands.
That was the summer of 2010 for the duo. Since, Kellie has moved to St. Louis to live with her boyfriend and work as a professional musician. Fast forward three years, and Deadly Lo-Fi now consists of new member Seth Moody, who plays guitar, saxophone and organ. Moody produced their first namesake album and even lent some help with guitar after meeting the band at their first official show at ZombieFest 2010.
According to Burdick, all of them “became great friends” from the get-go. The transition from one member to the next was that much easier. They all focused on honing a passion to create something absent from the music world.
“I simply wanted to create music that I wanted to play and listen to,” says Burdick, “Luckily, Kellie was the same way, and so is Seth.”
Because the “lo-fi” concept can be integrated in various forms of genres, Deadly Lo-Fi has taken on influences from soul and surf, to psychobilly and rocksteady.
“I love music that takes you away to a strange bizarre world,” Burdick quips. “The kind of music that tells you a story and encourages your imagination to picture the movie it could be the soundtrack to—the type of energy that causes you to tap your toes or bounce your knee so much you don’t even realize your doing it until you start spilling beer on yourself.”
Deadly Lo-Fi also takes this concept to their performances. They often incorporate eerie visuals inspired by Halloween—from donning scary masks, decorating their instruments with frightening scenes, and displaying haunting visuals on their band posters and album covers. Burdick wants to conjure paranormal sideshows, lonely roadside diners, abandoned houses, and just about anything with a sense of mystery in it. “So why not incorporate those themes with the music?” he asks rhetorically.
Right now Burdick is experimenting with old techniques that are new to him, such as an old tube reel-to-reel that local tech Mark Moore got in working order for Burdick. Lately, he’s been meshing the sound with recent recordings that he plans to enter into the Mix Grotto releases, which come out once a month.
Deadly Lo-Fi rediscovered an old tube-powered air organ to use in a new song. The reconfiguration of old instruments generates their lo-fi sound. As artists, they embrace the DIY approach to add even more soul, sweat and love to their songwriting and playing.
What the future holds for Deadly-Lo Fi is indefinite because Burdick chooses not to limit opportunities. “We will be playing somewhere in some form and still make music, for either a handful of people at a house party or thousands of people at a festival,” he says. “I plan on having fun and giving it all I got wherever I am—sounds cliché, but life is too damn short.”
Folks can enjoy a digital download of their 13-track self-titled album on their Bandcamp website. The download costs a mere $5. Or they’ll be playing live at Ziggy’s this weekend as part of The Coney Island Rock n’ Roll Roadshow, featuring the rootsy Americana of The Urban Pioneers, rockabillies The Jesse Ray Carter Trio. Aside from music, audiences can expect a full circus experience, from sideshow stunts to a Burlesque show.
Coney Island Rock ‘n’ Roll Sideshow
Featuring Burlesque, sideshow stunts, and live music with Deadly Lo-Fi, The Urban Pioneers and The Jesse Ray Carter Trio
Ziggy’s by the Sea
208 Market Street
Friday, Nov. 22nd. 8 p.m
$7 • www.ziggysbythesea.com