A tortured Indie Punk band from Grand Rapids MI. Ugly Flannel captures the lingering bleakness of the Midwest to fully project the sentimentality of living in it.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Kate Zacharias on bass guitar / backup vocals, Benjamin Nguyen on guitar / vocals, and Athen Erbter on drums.
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Ugly Flannel? How long has the band been around?
The band started with Benjamin as a solo artist writing “The Blonde Album”. Before Kate and Athen joined, Athen played drums in a punk band called Kiwi Army, and Kate played in a band called Magenta Flag (A Black Flag cover band).
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
The band name has been Ugly Flannel since the Spring of 2016. Nothing has changed about the name except for the sound.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
Benjamin Nguyen writes all of our songs. On our recent album, the theme revolves around the idea that it’s okay to be transparent, emotional, and loving. These topics will most likely change over time, but in a way that relates to our lives and references back to ideas we touched base on in our past albums.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
We like to draw ideas from bands we are currently listening to such as The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Velvet Underground, and The Replacements. Those bands have done so much for underground music and progression in general. We also like to absorb ideas from outside influences such as Chet Baker, Brenda Lee, and Frankie Valli.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
Our inspirations are mostly from where we are rooted from. Our band came from different backgrounds and many bands like Green Day, My Chemical Romance, and Senses Fail have really encouraged us to start picking up instruments. We all started with DIY and went to shows that our friends put on.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, ect.
Usually before a show, we all gather together and relax. It’s nice to be together and talk before all of the chaos happens after we play. Shows are a majority of the time we are actually together and it’s nice to finally touch base after a long week or two stuck behind the phone to talk.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
Our biggest highlight ever as a band would most likely be the time we packed out our hometown favorite venue, The Pyramid Scheme. We were onstage with The Lippies, who just reunited to play their first hometown show in a really long time. The venue was filed to the back with 500+ people and it was amazing to see all of our friends connect in one safe place.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
We would’ve loved to tour with a band like Jimmy Eat World back in their Bleed American era. That album came out when we were about 1-3 years old and It would be our dreams come true since their music has still been iconic through when we were in Middle School and High School.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Make music with your friends and play music that stays true to you and your personality. It’s also nice to sit back and see true and organically grown listeners connect with what you write. You and your music will grow with time and it will only get better.