For a group like Philadelphia modern rock outfit PHNTMS, with members who are proud voices in the city’s LGBTQ+ community, the concepts of honesty and assurance are paramount to the band’s inclusive rapport with their growing fanbase in the loud alternative/indie rock market.
“We openly talk about lesbian relationships in our music and we want to bring hope to anyone who is in the closet and doesn’t feel safe coming out,” explains drummer Gene Murphy. “Whether you are out as queer or -not, your identity is valid and if our music helps you escape heteronormativity for a brief moment.”
“Honesty,” the next single off the group’s highly anticipated six-track self titled EP, speaks to that sense of human connection in a rainstorm of electric currents fueled by the band’s bombastic homebrew of Philly soul and classic emo.
“‘Honesty’ circles around the hurt that comes from being in a relationship wanting to be loved,” explains guitarist Adam Jessamine of the song, which American Songwriter is pleased to premiere today. “But you’re not ready to open yourself up to the idea of love and the moment you recognize your partner is trying to hold you up through your own personal battles, but it’s far too much weight for them to carry.”
Over the course of their time together PHNTMS–rounded out by singer Alyssa Gambino and bassist Mikal Smith–has seen success having performed opening spots for such acts as Kings of Leon, The 1975, Bastille and Fitz & The Tantrums to name a few. And no doubt these folks are eager to get back out on the road just as soon as the number of new infections COVID-19 significantly decrease. Yet PHNTMS also used the quarantine as time for serious reflection, which certainly comes out in not only “Honestly” but much of the material on the new EP.
“I think as songwriters, we try to capture these moments and make them as detailed as possible,” explains Gambino. “We’ll always be fascinated by the fact we can freeze these moments in time.”
“A lot of queer communities have used music as a type of outlet in expressing their struggles with heteronormativity in society,” adds Murphy. “Whether they’re creating the music or listening to it and relating to it. It’s imperative that we hold space for queers in any type of environment and the music industry is no exception.”