Artist Interviews & Music

Philly’s Own PHNTMS – New Music Out Now

New single Back Burner out now

Sitting somewhere between arena rock and the classic sound of 1960’s soul singers, Philly-based band PHNTMS creates music bursting with vast soundscapes and colliding instrumentation. PHTMS, comprised of Alyssa Gambino, Adam Jessamine, Mikal Smith, and Gene Murphy are bringing back rock music while simultaneously putting their own unique stamp on it.

PHNTMS has opened for acts such as Kings of Leon, The 1975, Bastille, Fitz & The Tantrums, Empire of the Sun, Pale Waves, and Half Noise, and I myself have seen them perform, as well.

PHNTMS’ six-track self titled EP soaks up the band’s amalgam of influences, ranging from movie soundtracks and bands such as U2, Biffy Clyro, Kings of Leon, to powerhouse soul singers such as Amy Winehouse. Inspired by everyday situations, relationships, and growing up, the band aims to create a feeling with which listeners can easily identify. Gambino reveals, “I think as songwriters, we try to capture these moments and make them as detailed as possible. We’ll always be fascinated by the fact we can freeze these moments…”

Their new leading single “Back Burner” narrates two people dealing with bad timing and not being ready to take the next step into a relationship, despite there being a strong attraction.

“I’ve always kept a safe distance when having feelings for someone new and the ‘flame’ represents just that. For me, being placed on the back burner is a lingering reminder that I will be here waiting.”

Vocalist Alyssa Gambino shares

Featuring gritty guitars, a driving rhythm section and velvety vocals, “Back Burner” builds into a compelling and energetic release. “Towers” showcases dramatic crashing drums and determined melodies, highlighting Gambino’s impressive vocal range. 

With half of the band identifying as queer, PHNTMS also hope to reach out to and support the LGBTQA+ community.

“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. Whether you are out as queer or not, your identity is valid and if our music helps you escape heteronormativity for a brief moment.”

Drummer Gene Murphy confides

You can find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Continue reading for our interview!

“Back Burner” is out now and video is below:


During this time of social-distancing, how have you been doing? How have you been spending/managing your time? 

Adam: Lots and lots of FaceTiming friends and loved ones. Practicing guitar/songwriting, of course, but mostly I’ve been watching movies and shows on Netflix to pass the time. Currently my sleep schedule is extremely messed up, I have my days and nights confused apparently. Alyssa, our singer, works at a hospital with her girlfriend and her brother. Her brother actually got the virus unfortunately, he’s doing ok and we are sending all our good vibes his way. I think what they are doing is amazing and I really really respect them. They should also get 3 months off after this hole thing paid ha!

Can you talk about the importance of queer representation in the music industry? 

Gene: Queer representation throughout the music scene is a way of giving the queer fans and viewers a voice.  To feel scene and be heard.  A lot of queer communities have used music as a type of outlet in expressing their struggles with heteronormativity in society.  Whether their 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.

I am personally a huge fan of The 1975 – I would (selfishly) love to hear more about your experience opening for them.

Adam: Honestly, it was collectively one of the best days of our lives, if not the best.  We all love that band so so much. We played in front of 10,000 people at the BBT arena and sold out of every piece of merch we had. It blew our minds. The crow was absolutely amazing and super receptive.

One of the things that stands out in my mind is quite ironic and silly. We were walking through the hallway back stage about to go out to the main stage door to play and Matty Healy was coming out a door and a security guard stop him and held him back while we walked in the hallway. I remember just looking at him and being like holy crap that’s Matty Healy, the whole thing happened in a split second, then we took the stage and played. I’ll never ever forget that. We got to talk to everyone and they where such cool people, everyone that worked for them too! Wouldn’t mind reliving that day again, especially now. 

I thank you for sharing 🙂

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