Tender Meat to play 7th Street Entry

by Jackie Renzetti

When Andy Fritz isn’t laboring away in the library for his computer engineering degree at the University of Minnesota, he plays in the electronic duo Tender Meat with Jon Coe. 
Fritz and Coe started the band during their senior year of high school at Perpich Center for Arts Education. Since then, the two have played underground spaces around the Twin Cities, with some appearances at popular local venues. This weekend, they’ll open for the Doldrums at 7th Street Entry.
Regarding the band’s odd name, Fritz said, “I don’t really know. I think we both thought it’d be funny. … We used it for too long. Now we’re afraid to switch, I think.”
Aside from Tender Meat, Fritz and Coe have played separately in bands of different genres. Fritz has performed in rock band Seated Heat and electronica group Pets, and Coe drummed for noise band Voyager. 
In their music for Tender Meat, Coe plays acoustic and electric drums while Fritz primarily uses sequencers, though occasionally some of Fritz’s guitar pops in. 
Last autumn, the two released their third album, “Hello World.” Tracks like “Tekken 2,” a reference to a popular video game, bring forth steady beats with quirky sounds sprinkled in. The following track, “Event Horizon,” gives nautical, spacey auras with continuous notes transitioning melodically. A jingling of robotic beeps
wraps up the tune, transitioning nicely into the dance floor jam “Bart Logic.” 
“I feel like it’s almost musician’s music or something,” Fritz said, adding that when the two started out in the niche electronic scene, the trick was to earn the interest of other musicians who set up shows.
During their early days, Coe and Fritz frequently sampled audio from Nintendo games, making for a semi-humorous yet catchy sound.
“I think we just played the games a lot as kids, and the sounds are kind of engrained to our heads,” Fritz said of their decision to sample Nintendo music. “[The sounds] are really easy to manipulate because they’re recorded so well that you can really turn them into a lot of different things, which is nice.”
The two scored multiple shows a week during their first couple of years but took more time off when Fritz went back to school five years ago. Fritz said that now they play once or twice a month.
“We still spend a lot of time crafting our music,” Fritz said, adding they still practice on a weekly basis. 
Though the two have never officially toured, they’ve branched outside of Minnesota a few times with gigs in Chicago, Madison and Tokyo, Japan. 
“We were trying to tour last summer, but it fell through. And we realized his van didn’t have air-conditioning,” Fritz said. “I think when I’m finished [with school], it’d be fun to go on tour.” 
When they were 21, the two decided to spend three months in Japan. Through a mutual friend, they secured a gig in Tokyo. The two visited Kyoto and Nagasaki and organic farmed in the island of Hokkaido. 
“Playing in Tokyo was a good [memory],” Fritz said. “Sometimes, they’ll have shows where they’ll rent out a practice space and have a bunch of bands play. So we did one of those.” 
Fritz graduates at the end of this semester. He said he chose computer engineering to learn how to program and hopes to get into pen testing. 
“That’s been my main focus for now, to see if I can get a job doing that,” he said. 
Regardless of where his career path may lead him, Fritz said he sees Tender Meat staying in his future.