Burn Fetish celebrates new album release by breaking up

Burn Fetish

Burn Fetish Photo courtesy of the artist.

Some bands quietly fade away, but Burn Fetish will flame out in face-melting style.

The five-piece noise/punk rock band, which formed in Minneapolis in 2011, will play its last show at the Entry on Sunday along with also-ending glam punk/noise pop band Wretch. But though Burn Fetish’s Sam Frederick (vocals, guitar), Cole Mealey (guitar), McKenna Little (keys), Preston Laack (bass), and Alec Tonjes (drummer) will bid adieu to their loyal fans, they're leaving one last new (as yet untitled) album behind. It’s the second release from the group this year -- They Watch from the Sky with Crooked Smiles dropped in March, adding to the prolific band’s discography, which includes the Animal EP (2015), Sun and Dust (2013), and Psychonauta (2012).

Tonjes spoke to City Pages ahead of the band’s goodbye.

City Pages: Your show on Sunday is Burn Fetish’s last show. Why are you disbanding?

Alec Tonjes: We’ve been doing this for a while. We all have other things going on as well as Burn Fetish. It’s one of those things where you do something for a long time and then you want to do other things, you know?

CP: Have you matured beyond this band’s sound? Or has it just run its course?

AT: I guess you could say it’s run its course. I think it’s mostly just wanting to do different things more so than feeling like this is dry. We’re all people who listen to all styles of music and it’s not just heavy, rock music. We want to explore different avenues with different people. It’s not because we’re fighting or anything like that. It’s just time to move on, but not because we’re sick of Burn Fetish by any means.

CP: Burn Fetish has had some lineup changes over the years. Have you been part of the band from the beginning?

AT: No, I joined something like four years ago. At that point, it was Sam and two other people. I’ve known Sam since we went to Eden Prairie Middle School together. We were part of School of Rock, an after-school program where we took lessons and played music together. The drummer left in 2012 or so and I was the first choice. We were already friends and I already liked the music so it was pretty seamless. It always felt like “our” band and not like Sam’s band that we’re in.

CP: What was the high point of the band for you?

AT: For me, the high point was our last album release. We’d been working on that album for over a year and we put a lot of our energy into that and a lot of thought. It was really nice to get it out and when we did, we did it at the Reverie, and we pretty much sold it out. There were over 200 people there. It was nice to have a roomful of all our friends and family. It felt really good.

CP: Any regrets about your time in the band? Anything you didn’t accomplish that you wish you had?

AT: No. I think I feel pretty satisfied with the work that we did. I was really happy with the music we made. I’ll look back on it when I’m an older person and still be happy with it and not look at it like, “Oh, I was a stupid kid making bad music” or something like that. Overall, I feel pretty good about it and I’m looking forward to the future.

CP: Why did you decide to release an album on the same night as your farewell show?

AT: We had decided to disband and we had some songs that we had already written and just hadn’t recorded. So we’re just like, “Let’s just record them and put them out at the same time.”

CP: What is the name of the new album?

AT: Hmm. I don’t think it has a name yet. I think we’re still deciding that. We have some ideas for sure but I don’t think we’ve actually solidified it. So I think we’ll just keep it a mystery.

CP: Sunday’s show will also be the last show for Wretch, the band that’s sharing the bill with you. Did you plan it that way or was it a coincidence?

AT: It was one of those things where they had been looking to do their last show for a while. Sam and Sonja [Elise, of Wretch] are dating, so I think it just kind of made sense, once we decided to disband, to do it at the same time.

CP: What projects will you all be involved with after Burn Fetish ends?

AT: Sam’s doing New Primals. Cole’s doing Neon Blaque and some other production work. Me and Preston are going to start a new band. We’re just forming it right now. It doesn’t have a name yet or anything. McKenna’s going to do some things; I’m pretty sure she hasn’t decided anything yet. We’re all going to for sure play music, which is cool.

Burn Fetish: Final Show and Album Release
Where: 7th Street Entry
When: 7 p.m. Sun. Aug. 20
Tickets: $5; more info here