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Marquette Wire

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Marquette Wire

The Making of Killer High Life

The band members met at Marquette, and from there Killer High Life was made.
The+Killer+High+Life+performed+Oct.+24+at+the+Cactus+Club.
Photo by Jack Belmont
The Killer High Life performed Oct. 24 at the Cactus Club.

Killer High Life, an indie-emo band with influence from the punk genre played their first show outside of Marquette at Cactus Club. The band members met at Marquette, and from there Killer High Life was made.

CJ Andrzejack, sophomore in the College of Engineering, Brennan Deshotel, sophomore in the College of Engineering, Sean Light White, sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences and Adam Belker, sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences together formed the band.

Deshotel and Light White met last year and posted on the Marquette Music Discord asking if anyone was looking to play in a band with them, and that’s when Belker and Andrzejack came in.

“We just have our set practice schedule, twice a week. We try to make the most of the time but if we don’t, we’ll go into one of the ballet rooms or one of the dorms and I’ll just drum on a cardboard box on the floor,” drummer Belker said.

The band played their first live show at the Straz Theater last May and have since then made more music and grown together as a band, having most recently played at Cactus Club on Oct. 24.

“It was like ten people maybe, we only had three original songs at that point and two cover songs. I think we’ve made a lot of progress since then so it’s exciting to get to play Cactus,” lead singer and guitarist Deshotel said.

Killer High Life recorded their single “Around the Corner (Start Over)” in Straz Theater and released the track over the summer. During their show, they also performed some of their newer unreleased projects that are soon to be on their upcoming album. The band will also be performing at Marquette’s fall concert, “Autumn Rhythm,” taking place on Nov.10 at the Annex.

Deshotel said that recording “Around the Corner (Start Over)” took them around seven or eight hours, but they powered through it. She also mixed and mastered the track herself.

“It worked, but we need to just get into an actual recording space because we just want our music to sound the best it can. We want it to sound the way it did during the show,” bassist Light White said.

Deshotel has been playing piano since she was 5 years old and learned to sing and play guitar after that. She says she draws most of her inspiration for songwriting from her life as well as from bands such as Car Seat Headrest.

“I do all of the lyrics and I take a lot of inspiration from stuff that I’ve dealt with, like trauma in the past. This sounds cliché but music is a good way to get it out, I get to go on stage and just scream. Performance wise, playing at Cactus is an insane honor for me. I go to a lot of shows here and I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from people I’ve seen play here, too,” Deshotel said.

While Killer High Life has been embraced by parts of the Milwaukee music scene, they said their style is not received well and welcomed at Marquette at times. 

“Brennan and I have got it so bad sometimes. We’ve had people yell things at us at Marquette, make jokes, laugh at us. Three out of the four of us identify as queer in some capacity and Marquette while they say they’re friendly to people like that it doesn’t fully align. On top of our music and our style it can be hard, but we’ve found people who recognize us, and they’ll be like ‘Oh, you’re Killer High Life’ which is cool and shows that there are people who are receptive and friendly,” Light White said.

Killer High Life takes some inspiration from various EDM, electronic and ambient artists they listened to as kids such as Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada and Radiohead. White Light’s dad even made electronic music throughout their childhood. 

Light White said that playing the trombone really helped them understand music at a different level besides EDM and ambient styles. That led them to eventually picking up different instruments such as the bass.

“It’s interesting because we all have different backgrounds with what we enjoy musically and also where we’ve been playing. I’ve only been playing bass for about 10 months while these guys have been playing for a really long amount of time. It’s interesting because I’m really into emo, hardcore and shoegaze. I absolutely love bands like Title Fight and Whirr,” Light White said.

This story was written by Sofía Cortés. She can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Sofía Cortés, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor
Sofía Cortés is the assistant editor for Arts & Entertainment. She is a junior majoring in journalism and with a writing intensive minor. Sofia is from Puerto Rico and outside of the Wire she enjoys reading, writing poetry, drawing and listening to music

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