FLYER Q&A: Local favorites The Phlegms set for big shows with Protomartyr and Blessed

The Phlegms (Courtesy photo)

Regular Flyer Q&A readers, you already know we love The Phlegms. Way back in 2019 (feels like a lifetime), we called them one of the best punk bands to emerge in Fayetteville in a long time. Every other band we talk to mentions them as their favorite band in town. It’s practically official – they’re the people’s champs.

Since we last spoke, The Phlegms have released a new video for their killer track “Filtering,” recorded a Holy Anvil live session, and played at almost every festival in the area.

This Tuesday (Oct. 25) they play with Protomartyr at George’s Majestic Lounge. RIYL punk, two for Tuesday specials.

On Dec. 8, they play a stacked lineup at Smoke & Barrel Tavern with Blessed and Stuck. Don’t miss this one!

I talked to singer/guitarist Avery Martin about their band and here’s how it went…

The Phlegms Q&A

Hi Avery! The Phlegms have recently played at a DIY house show fest, at the Dolly Parton tribute show of Roots Fest, and at Format fest. How were all of those experiences?

My lanta, they were splendid as a spud out of the oven. Overall, I think all three of those shows were such growth opportunities and we’re forever grateful that people like our music enough to ask us to be a part of such neat local events. Sweat Fest at HOP OUT DIY was… sweaty, sunny, fun and not for the faint of heart. Quite a few of our favorite Little Rock bands came up: Color Design, Zilla, Peach Blush, PETT, Moonmane, etc. We’re hoping that was the start of a Little Rock-Fayetteville punk pipeline. Doing the Dolly tribute show definitely put us out of our comfort zone but we’re so glad we did it. I would love to do more shows like that in the future. Format fest was a blast. We had no expectations and were pleasantly surprised at every turn. Probably the best part (other than the catering and amenities) was the venue we got to play in – it was perfect in that it felt like an elevated DIY/house show. Close quarters in a dome, energy bouncing between the walls, and some crazy visuals projected within the dome. We were stoked and the crowd seemed to have a good time.

What have you been working on lately?

As a band, we’re gearing up to record a full-length album by the end of the year. We’ve been writing new stuff that is less garage and maybe more like a floor-level apartment. Personally, I’m trying to put together a side project that is a little more mellow and lower energy, if I’m capable of that.

Upcoming shows – The Phlegms

Oct. 25 – The Phlegms with Protomartyr at George’s Majestic Lounge (tickets)
Dec. 8 – The Phlegms with Blessed and Stuck at Smoke & Barrel Tavern (tickets available at the door)

You’re playing with Protomartyr on Oct. 25 at George’s, and Blessed on Dec. 8 at Smoke & Barrel. How does it feel to be the local punk representative on shows with great touring bands?

Unreal? and weird! And very cool. I remember being a young/confused person in their early twenties (cliche I know), but I would try and go to every Backspace show I could, so I could learn from local bands I idolized like Ten High and The Chads. It’s wild, and a little uncomfortable, to think that we’ve gotten to a place similar to that. Not saying anyone idolizes us, but it’s neat to have opportunities to represent our local scene and show out-of-town acts what the Fayetteville music scene is all about – being weird and slightly uncomfortable, but leaning into that with some friendly people around. I hope I’m not being presumptions or pretentious here, but I’m extremely proud of us for: 1. Staying together long enough to gain traction and 2. Being brave enough to play shows and do things out of our comfort zone. I think in the end, along with the support and interest from kind folks, that is how we’ve gotten where we are.

What have you been listening to? How has it affected your songs and lyrics?

I cannot stop listening to Lomelda – especially the Thx album – Lucy Dacus, as well as Japanese Breakfast’s most recent album, Jubilee. It’s made me lust for that lo-fi project I was mentioning. I don’t know if it’s the approaching 30 thing, or what, but I would like to be a punk band that can also play other genres, and not be a one-trick pony. At the very least, I want to be a two-trick pony.

Who are your favorite Arkansas bands and artists right now?

Peach Blush, DOT and Jess Harp band.

Do you have any pre-show rituals that you can legally tell us about?

Making sure we are all going to be there and sound good.

If you had to write a song about a local restaurant, or bar – which would it be?

Ideas: Bordinos, Buster’s, Atlas or Rolling Pin?

What’s your favorite horror movie? What are some must-see horror films you’d recommend?

So I recently watched “Dashcam” and it was a wild ride. I would recommend it if you’re into a found footage/Covid scares type horror film. Okay I know you’re asking for movies, but I’m currently watching the Netflix series Midnight Mass. It has all of my favorite things: biogeographic isolation, Hamish Linklater, religious eerie vibes, and… (*spoiler alert) some potential vampires.

Dogs vs. Cats? Sorry if this causes any band tension.

Ugh, this question causes such internal conflict in me. I want to be a cat person, because obviously they are the cool ones, but deep down I’m a puppy and don’t ever keep my cool.

Looking forward to 2023, what are your hopes and plans?

Woof. Firstly, it’s scary to have hopes and plans! It’s a lot easier to act like you don’t care. But, I hope to keep writing and playing, record our full-length, send it out to labels, hope someone likes us, and see if we could get a release tour planned? I would like to keep working on my solo/side project, and start playing more in that way.