Warren Thomas Fenzi
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Warren Thomas Fenzi

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2016 | SELF

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2016
Band Alternative Rock




"Where The Music Meets (International) // "Sunday" Premiere"

Warren Thomas Fenzi is the type of person who has a hard time allowing himself to relax. After too many years feeling the need to rush things over and over everyday, he decided to let himself rest. And discovered that rest is actually a crucial part of everything.

He chose Sunday. As that day.

Sunday, the track, is released today and inspired by that feeling. It is also a love song, that talks about having faith on that someone that will make you feel amazing… like a lazy, Sunday Afternoon.

For me personally, this is easily one of the best songs I’ve heard these two months. And one of the reasons is the way it will grow on you (like it grew on me). The alternating structure of the track sounds refreshing and unusual and gives space to breath. It’s like when you swim and you’re feeling great but then decide to let yourself float for a while… Before you give another go and swim a little harder. That dichotomy feels more than brilliant. Feels necessary. And gorgeous.

Hard to compare it to another project but there might be there some similarities with Beirut. Sunday, just like the entire album – “Live in the Atrium” (released one week ago), was recorded live, and in one single room. With no overdubs, autotune or whatever. It was recorded live in an Atrium in Northeast Minneapolis and showcases Warren goal of building a project that “showcases the beauty that is humans, in the same room, creating together”. - Where The Music Meets (Jose Baptista Coelho)

"We Love That Sound (International) // "Summer Wading" Premiere"

Last Saturday I heard "Summer Wading" for the first time and got goose bumps from head to toe. Warren Thomas Fenzi wrote an incredibly sensitive and fragile song that reminds me of the intensity of Sigur Ró's songs. And memories play a big role here. With the song, Warren remembers past summers and growing up. - We Love That Sound

"Northeaster // "Live in the Atrium" Premiere/Review"

See Link: https://bit.ly/38pPae5 - Northeaster (Marla Khan-Schwartz)

"Reviler // "Live Outside" Review/Feature"

If you have ever communicated on the internet before, chances are you have been part of communications that are not informative, healthy, or even necessary (roughly 99% of communications on Twitter for instance).

Local songwriter Warren Thomas Fenzi (WTF) has taken that general idea and expanded it into a bit of a screed against the worst kinds of network-based communications. “Live Outside” is a rock/pop tune that encourages folks to get they noses out of their screens and start engaging with the world. - Reviler (Jon Behm)

"Minnesota Daily // Warren Thomas Fenzi brings desert sound to Minneapolis tundra"

For some, writing songs can be a daunting task. For local singer-songwriter Warren Thomas Fenzi, the process is more like coloring in a coloring book.

Fenzi comes up with chord progressions and melodies followed by drums. Before adding lyrics, he records voice memos of random syllables that later become sensical stories.

“I imagine a coloring book where I’ll have that, and I’ll have a recording of a voice memo of me,” Fenzi said. “I’ll sit down and almost fill in lyrics where I was singing syllables.”

The Arizona native combines a desert sound with orchestral instrumentals and acoustic story-telling. He began writing songs in high school that closely resembled those of Neutral Milk Hotel.

“I remember playing [my first song] for my aunt and I made her cry,” Fenzi said. “I think that’s when I … realized you can affect people really heavily with music.”

Fenzi began recording his music while attending Berklee College of Music. A multi-instrumentalist, he recorded each part of a song on his own and stayed up until 7 a.m. to finish the recording process.

“It was my first experience recording all the instruments but feeling so inspired,” Fenzi said. “I had the song and I was like: ‘Holy shit, this is it. This is real.’”

These moments came about more often as Fenzi released his first album, “WTF,” in 2017. On the album, each song flows seamlessly into the next and lyrics reflect stories of self-growth.

“As an artist, I’d say that my goal is to connect with people in … finding some sense of relief through my experiences ... that other people can connect with,” Fenzi said. “While pushing boundaries of sound design and ultimately creating something new.”

This concept has continued to inspire Fenzi through his current residency at Icehouse. He’s also a member of local music collective Kremblems, where each member plays in others' bands. The members also live with each other.

“He was just a drummer when I first met him,” said Karl Remus, a member of Kremblems and Fenzi’s college roommate. “I’ve basically seen the entire genesis of songwriting and guitar playing and other instrumentation.”

Fenzi’s current project is an EP titled “Viven” (“they live” in Spanish) which will be released locally on Dec. 4 at Icehouse and for streaming on Jan. 4. The three songs on the EP act as a whole unit, transforming the project into a cinematic experience.

“’Viven,’ I think, is a good explanation of where I’m coming from [and] where I’m trying to go with my music,” Fenzi said.

The EP begins with the song “Hey Viven!," presenting multiple questions to a character Fenzi has created out of the word.

“It's like that ... coming to terms with making the right choices in my life … almost being honest with yourself,” Fenzi said. “It’s like, ‘Hey I’m choosing to try to be a better person.’”

The EP then moves into “Teach Me How To Hate” and, finally, “Viven (Reprise).” While these three songs are fuller and heavier than the songs on his debut album, they continue to feature Fenzi’s roots.

“Growing up, all my favorite records were records that were like a full piece,” Fenzi said. “I’m really drawn to musicians and artists that are really good story tellers [and] put thought into the full project being a cohesive piece.”

In addition to his own projects, Fenzi plays drums for Remus’s band Lucid VanGuard and 26 BATS!, both part of Kremblems. He pushes himself to create daily, and this energy motivates his bandmates to do the same.

“[Fenzi] is one of the most hardworking musicians I’ve ever encountered,” said Bailey Cogan, the lead singer of 26 BATS!. “He will just get on a roll and write two or three songs in the span of maybe one or two days.”

Since moving to Minneapolis three years ago, Fenzi attributes much of his creative energy and stamina to the other musicians around him, particularly those in Kremblems.

“I feel like I’m constantly reminded that I should be super grateful about the people I’m surrounded by,” Fenzi said. “That mentality of like, willing to go to any length to make these dreams happen, that’s completely what we’re all about.”

For Fenzi, this is how he wants to tell his story — the way he knows best.

“I could go work a nine-to-five or do something,” Fenzi said. “But … I have no doubt that nothing would be as fulfilling as what I’m doing right now.” - Minnesota Daily (Ksenia Gorinshteyn)

"City Pages // "WTF" Album Premiere/Review"

When Warren Thomas Fenzi sold his acoustic guitar and drums for drug money, he knew he needed help.

His high school alcohol and pot habit had progressed to opioid and heroin addictions during his time as a student at Berklee College of Music. The drum-set performance major would get “super fucked-up” to write a song, only to wake up in the morning and realize it wasn’t any good. Now he was literally pawning his dream of being a professional musician for a quick fix.

“I’m the type of person that, when I find something that works, I just want to do it all the time,” the willowy, goateed 26-year-old says over coffee. “That was the case with substances.”

In 2014, Fenzi dropped out of school and completed a 30-day residential rehab program in Arizona, where he grew up. He then spent a year of sober living in Huntington Beach, California. Eager to get back into music again, he relocated to Minneapolis to play with his former college roommate Karl Remus, the frontman of Lucid VanGuard, who’s also sober. Two soon became five, and the Kremblems Collective, a record label and group of affiliated musicians based in northeast Minneapolis, was born. Remus, along with Bailey Cogan (of 26 Bats), Christian Wheeler, and Daniel “Chavo” Chavez not only back Fenzi but play in each other’s bands as well; everyone except trumpeter Chavez fronts a band.

“We’re all so versatile in our skills that we can shapeshift very easily,” Fenzi says. “We’re all supportive of each other’s projects.”

By 2017, Fenzi had enough solo material for an album, so he launched a Kickstarter that raised over $8,600 for his solo debut, WTF. To meet his goal, he reached out to each of his Facebook friends individually. “That was my first experience being a salesman,” he says. “I’m really grateful for it because I think it toughened my skin up.”

WTF is a concept album—Fenzi imagines it like a movie, with each song a different scene. Drawing upon bands like the Shins, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Modest Mouse, his sound is atmospheric, evocative of the wide West Coast vistas he grew up around. The album is centered on themes of growth and honesty, with two prominent female influences. One is an ex; she and Fenzi weren’t together long, but “it was the first time where I was OK with the fact that things didn’t work out,” he says. “In the past, I would be super resentful. Or I’d be like, ‘It’s your fault, not my fault.’ I think that has a lot to do with me being sober. It’s like, ‘There’s nothing wrong with either of us. It’s just not meant to be.’”

Another woman, Fenzi’s aunt, inspired “Wish I Would Have Called.” She made him a pillow with his initials, WTF, sewn on the front for his fifth birthday. When she was dying from cancer in 2012, Fenzi’s parents urged him to call her. But when he finally did, his uncle informed him that she’d died three days prior. Fenzi missed his opportunity to say goodbye because he’d been so distracted by his addictions.

A photograph of that beloved WTF pillow, perched on a chair in the Grand Canyon, is the cover of the album, initially released in August. Fenzi celebrates the vinyl release at Icehouse on Tuesday, the eve of his four-year sobriety anniversary—fitting, given that music motivated him to get sober and has helped him stay that way. “It’s my meaning to life,” he says. Sobriety also changed his creative process, primarily because he can focus now. Exercise, twice-daily meditation, meetings, and journaling have also been crucial to his recovery.

Though Fenzi has had the occasional craving, a phone call to a friend is usually enough to quash it. “As long as I’m keeping up with things I need to do, if I’m being honest with myself, if I’m giving back, if I’m being of service to people, if I’m showing up every day the best way I can, then those things don’t even come into my mind,” he says.

If he’s at a party, he’s keenly aware of when people get ramped up and he needs to leave. He’d rather go to bed anyway and get up early to work on his music. He’s noticed that the people he admires in the industry have a low tolerance for drunken behavior as well. “I don’t want to work with people that are constantly getting high or are drunk a lot,” he says. “I’m like, ‘I’m probably just not going to call you. I don’t care how good you are. You’re not reliable.’”

He hopes to collaborate with those local artists who have their act together in the future. With enough music written for another record, he’d like to try a new approach to recording and releasing it next time, pairing up with different musicians on each track and releasing them as singles.

Fenzi also has designs on moving the entire Kremblems Collective to the West Coast—while they’re still young, unattached, and child-free. Long-term, he hopes he can make a “comfortable living” as an international musician as well as score films. He also aims to be a “pillar of hope for people that want to be in the industry” without relying on drugs and alcohol for their creative or energetic boosts. He’s made quite the case for clean living as a conduit for momentum, having toured to Arizona, Colorado, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Texas, and Wisconsin over the past year while still holding down a food-runner job at the Dakota Jazz Club.

“That whole rock-star mentality is, I think, less and less of a reality for musicians,” he says. “This day and age, you’re managing yourself. Record labels are still absolutely a thing, but it’s also very possible to do things on your own. No one’s taking care of you. You’re not just getting paid and people give you drugs and all you have to do is just show up. No. You have to do all of this.” - City Pages (Erica Rivera)

"Rift Magazine // "WTF" Album Premiere"

Since my recent infatuation with WTF’s single “We Were Never Meant To Stay The Same” doesn’t seem to be waning in the least, I thought that it was time to have a conversation with WTF’s frontman Warren Thomas Fenzi. He clued me in on a few things, including how collaboration keeps him humble.

The single “We Were Never Meant To Stay The Same” that was released in January has stayed with me since I first heard it. Beyond catchy, it delivers a kind of honest tough love message that manages to be very upbeat at the same time. Seems as if there could be a bit of personal knowledge that informed the concept of the song, is there a story behind it?

I wrote “We Were Never Meant To Stay The Same” on an airplane heading back from Belize. In hindsight, it’s clear for me to see the sun and warm weather of Central America in the fibers of that song. Overall I think it’s a calling and reminder to myself that growth and honesty with oneself is mandatory not just to live but to thrive and be happy as a human being. I’m someone who gets very comfortable in a routine and I get scared when that routine that has been “working” for a while, isn’t really working anymore. It’s an honest, tough love way of saying, “Embrace change!”

AND what’s up with the name WTF?

My full name is Warren Thomas Fenzi which makes my initials WTF. It seemed a natural fit when brainstorming names for the project.

AHA! Correct me if I am wrong, but WTF is fronted by you–your initials after all, though it is part of a five person music/arts collective called Kriyative Emblems of a Blue Soul Renaissance. How did the collective come about?

That is correct. The five core members of the collective are Bailey Cogan, Karl Remus, Daniel Chavez, Christian Wheeler and myself. Kriyative Emblems of a Blue Soul Renaissance (Kremblems for short) was started by Karl. Karl and I have been close friends for about 7 years now. We met at Berklee in Boston and I would visit Minneapolis during the summer to work with Karl on his original music. I decided to move out here in April of 2015. The collective started as an idea to bring together like-minded artists and musicians with the goal of creating a community of transformative and healing art with no boundaries. Lucid VanGuard was the first incarnation of Kremblems and since its birth, WTF, 26BATS! and Christian Wheeler have emerged within the collective.

Is there an advantage to being part of such a collective artistically?

Absolutely! As such diverse artists with a wide range of influences, I believe the collective mentality lends itself perfectly to eliminating a lot of the ego that comes along with leading a group or playing a certain role. Since the collective consists of five core members, we have many different outlets to express ourselves through and multiple roles to play within each group. It’s impossible to get bored! It’s refreshing to play with the people that you love in so many different settings and styles. The collective almost forces you to understand all aspects of creating, performing, producing and marketing music. We are constantly learning from each other.

Apart from Kremblems, are members of the band involved in the local music scene in other ways?

Yes. Christian works a lot with other groups, both local and international, who hire him as an engineer, mixer and producer. Karl is a member of the group Fragile Canyons and collaborates with local hip-hop artists. Bailey produces music for local artists such as Driftwood and continues to work on her own solo projects. Daniel Chavez has played Trumpet with Black Tiger Sex Machine, The Night Sweats, The VonTramps and continues to sit in with various local groups. I play drums and percussion with Black Market Brass and fill in on drum set with Tabah on occasion along with various other local groups. I am also working on recording and producing my own music as well as scoring for podcasts and films.

With the new single, I see the musical side of the collective, which pardon me, I loved–strong beats, beautiful acoustic guitar, and vocals from yourself and Maria Starr that break my heart in the best way each time that I listen, can you tell me about the art side of the equation?

Thank you, that means a lot. I feel very fortunate to have worked with Maria Starr on this song. She has a gorgeous personality and voice. So far, the art for WTF has been created by me. I have been working on a piece for a while that will be the cover art for the album. The art for the single is a small section of that piece.

To clarify since there are five of you, is the upcoming release from WTF primarily your vision as its lead? Actually, maybe what I wonder is–if the collective allows for a singular vision to be expressed, or is it more of a group one?

WTF is mainly my vision in the sense that I write, record and arrange most of the parts. My goal for the album is to record most of the instruments myself and fill in the cracks with the wonderful talent that I’m surrounded by. Since the collective is made up of four different groups, I like to look at it as each of us is in charge of our own project while still allowing and inviting input and creative freedom from all of the members.

Does that include recording and mixing as well?

Yes. For this record, all of the engineering, mixing and mastering are being done by Christian. I let him do his thing. He’s an amazing producer. If either of us has an opinion or specific idea, we freely communicate it. I’m finding it’s extremely important to go into the recording of each song with a strong idea of how I want it to sound while still maintaining an open mind.

Will the remainder of WTF’s upcoming release be more of the same in style as compared to”We Were Never Meant To Stay The Same”, and when will we hear it?

The rest of the record is certainly similar in style to “We Were Never Meant To Stay The Same”, though the single is certainly the most “pop” oriented song on the record. We are planning on releasing the full length album on August 23rd of this year with help from a Kickstarter campaign.

I look forward to hearing more from WTF–where can we see you all perform?

Thank you! We will be performing at Honey on Friday February 24th along with Maria and the Coins from 7-9pm as well as doing an on air, in studio session on “Monday Night Live” with KVSC 88.1FM on Monday, March 20th at 9pm. - Rift Magazine (Rebecca Marx)

"Lacrosse Tribune // Twin Cities quintet WTF to make area debut at Root Note"

hen Warren Thomas Fenzi was born in 1991, his parents didn’t come up with his name because they thought his initials would one day make a provocative name for an indie rock band. How could they know that in the internet/texting age to come that his initials would become shorthand for a phrase profanely signaling a combination of outrage and befuddlement?

And how could his Aunt Pat know that when she embroidered his initials prominently on a pillow as a gift for him when he was 5 years old that the pillow would figure prominently in the cover art for Fenzi’s debut album?

“Early on it didn’t mean anything,” Fenzi said of his initials. “It became more and more funny with time.”

Fenzi figures WTF works pretty well for the quintet he fronts. He doesn’t necessarily want to give listeners a sense of outrage and befuddlement, but when he writes songs for the band, he is aiming to give people a sense of discovery — maybe even disorientation — that could evoke less emphatic questioning.

“My goal with the music that I write and the stuff that we record is I want to make something new,” he said. “It is my goal to create something new, inspiring and moving.”

People can get a good taste of Fenzi’s music Saturday night at The Root Note when WTF makes its La Crosse debut, just weeks ahead of the Aug. 23 release of WTF’s debut album, which will come out on the KREMBLEM label.

The label’s name comes from the moniker of a collective that the band members belong to: Kryative Emblems of the Blue Soul Renaissance. The collective has three other bands in addition to WTF, with each serving as vehicle for a different band members songwriting and vision.

WTF drummer Christian Wheeler fronts a self-titled band that specializes in mainstream pop/rock, keyboard player Bailey Cogan heads up an edgy, jazz-oriented combo called 26 BATS!, and bassist Karl Remus is the primary creative force behind Lucid VanGuard. The collective also includes trumpet player Daniel Chavez.

In WTF, Fenzi plays guitar and sings, although in the studio he played almost all the instruments on his eight-song album. With the other three bands in the collective, he plays drums, which was the first instrument he took up when he was growing up in Prescott, Ariz., and the area of study he specialized in when he went to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Fenzi and Remus were roommates starting out at Berklee, and though Remus left after a semester, they had become fast friends, with Fenzi performing with Remus in the Twin Cities during breaks from school and eventually settling on Minneapolis as a base for his musical endeavors because he was so impressed with the music scene there.

WTF represents Fenzi’s first time steering a band that is a vehicle for delivering his songs, and the fuel for his debut album came thanks to a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that he described as a “wild ride and an exciting journey.”

He raised more than $8,600 in the Kickstarter campaign, which will allow him to release the album on both CD and vinyl, print posters and hire a professional film crew and additional musicians for the Twin Cities album release show Aug. 31 at Icehouse.

Fenzi said it’s fitting that the album is coming out on vinyl, because the eight songs, written over the past four to five years, break down neatly into a four-song A side and a four-song B side. He’s released versions of two songs — “We Were Never Meant to Stay the Same” and “Blacken the Sun” — that represent the A side collection. They’re catchy songs he wrote earlier in the process, tunes that might remind some of Band of Horses and The Decemberists in some respects.

The B-side songs are a bit more experimental and “groove oriented,” he said, pushing more boundaries, although he said all the songs “tell a personal story of trial and error, growth, pain and overcoming obstacles … within and without.”

“I like to think the entire record tells a story,” Fenzi added. “Personally, my tastes have changed and I’m continually growing as a musician in the way I express myself.”

Opening the show will be singer/songwriter Sam Howden, Fenzi’s best friend growing up in Arizona who will do a mostly solo set, being joined on his last song by the members of WTF. - Lacrosse Tribune (Randy Erickson)


"WTF" - 2017
"Viven" - 2018
"Live Outside" (Single) - 2019
"Sunday" (Single) - 2019
"Wit It" (Single) - 2019
"Live in the Atrium" - 2020



Warren Thomas Fenzi is best known for his explorations in sound, story telling and songwriting that draw from the wide open landscapes of the Southwest of which he grew up around. As a multi-instrumentalist, Fenzi concocts a diverse array of sounds and styles hinting at Rock, Ambient, Soul, Folk and Orchestral.

Warren likes to invite his listeners on a journey of introspection, with each song acting more as a question rather than an answer. With a strong under-current of Warren's work maintaining a message of honesty, growth and transformation, he continues to evolve his art with an unyielding earnestness that is undeniable.

 "WTF" was released in the summer of 2017 as Fenzi's debut album, followed by "Viven" in 2018. With both compositions finding good acclaim, Warren laid the foundation for what is his unique style of cinematic story telling.

"Live in the Atrium" is Warren's latest work. Consisting of purely acoustic instruments, the album was recorded and filmed live in an Atrium in Northeast Minneapolis. The goal was to revel and flourish in the beauty that is acoustic performance as well as truly capture the magic that is: people, in a room, together... making music. No overdubs, no added reverb. Similar to Fenzi's previous works, "Live in the Atrium" is drenched in Warren's love for cinematic story lines, with the entire album having a video to go with each song.

Band Members