PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
Sabrina Fuentes has done far more at the age of seventeen than many adults. She released the first, self titled EP with her band Pretty Sick when she was fifteen, has interned for VFiles, models, and has played shows all over New York. The EP – composed of three tracks titled “All In My Head”, “Leo”, and “Medium” is seriously good. And while it is, admittedly, pretty crazy that it was made by 14 year olds – the music is still just as good separate from this fact. The music has hard hitting drums, classic rock guitar, and Fuentes’s strong and bewitching vocals. I sat down with Sabrina to talk about music, high school, and New York.
PRETTY SICK INTERVIEW
CONOR (HIGHLARK): So, you’ve built a pretty crazy resume for a seventeen year old – you released the Pretty Sick EP, you’ve interned at VFiles, you’ve been modeling — have you always felt the need to be productive in your creative pursuits?
SABRINA FUENTES (PRETTY SICK): Yeah, I’ve always felt the need to be productive. I feel like only doing creative things or working jobs that make me happy is the only way I can feel productive, and I really like feeling productive. Idle hands do the devil’s work.
CONOR: Are people ever surprised when they find out how old you are?
SABRINA: Not so much anymore, I think I’m starting to look my age. But when I was younger people would be like “what!?” Also it’s less shocking to be 17 and doing things than it was to be 14.
CONOR: What has the experience of being a teenager in all of these fields been like?
SABRINA: It’s been cool. It’s been pretty supportive. I feel like when you’re pretty young, people are down to help you get a head start, and I think that it’s less about being young and more about being smart and young that lets people know you have a certain light turned on. I have a lot of friends who have said the same thing, and are older now but started hanging out with people who were older and started working when they were younger. And said that they know kids their age who weren’t doing the same thing – it’s not doing it because you’re young, it takes a certain amount of drive that not everyone has. That sounds narcissistic, yikes.
CONOR: Do you ever feel like you’re wasting your time in high school?
SABRINA: Every day, yep. I mean, yeah I have to get an education but… yeah.
CONOR: You’ve played a lot of shows with your band, what are some of your favorite venues in the city?
SABRINA: Elvis Guesthouse was cool, but they closed. I like Baby’s All Right too, Billy who owns both of them is really nice. Mostly I like playing in basements and small little places because then the crowd has to get fun no matter what. I don’t like playing in venues as much.
CONOR: Do you have any favorite stories from shows?
SABRINA: There was one show we played in Bushwick that was at an abandoned apartment that people were squatting in, and they had chickens in the backyard, and a dog, and there was this huge ditch and all of these skater dudes were trying to do tricks in this ditch but it was like a dirt ditch, and there was this little tiny room where we were playing in the house, and the dog kept coming on stage during the set, and then someone fell in the ditch. That was the weirdest show we ever played for sure.
CONOR: I feel like no one really knows what’s going on in Bushwick.
SABRINA: Yeah, and I’ve had shows where me and my friends and the people who are there to see us get really crazy and just beat the shit out of each other and then the opening acts get mad.
CONOR: And I know you’re involved in fashion – how did that all come about?
SABRINA: It was the summer before I started high school, and I’m not like super into fashion but I was using the VFiles website a lot just to catalogue things, and they asked me to do a user test, and I asked if they needed any interns and I ended up working there just because I was, like, bored. And didn’t have anything else to do – except I was doing music at the same time.
CONOR: What kind of work did you do there?
SABRINA: I did a lot of – I learned video editing, and I learned some tech stuff. But I mostly did casting, and that’s the only thing I would ever want to do in fashion because I don’t want to do design.
CONOR: Would you want to keep modeling?
SABRINA: I mean, I would love to be able to stop modeling and just do music full time, but I don’t mind modeling it’s money to stand in front of a camera so I don’t care.
CONOR: How did you first get started in music?
SABRINA: I’ve been playing music for like my whole life, I always wanted to be a musician as a kid. And then I found out about Willie Mae Rock Camp when I was a little kid, and I was living in the city, and I thought it would be cool to meet other girls who played music – I don’t really know anyone who plays music, even today none of my friends play music, it’s just me. It’s always been hard to find other musicians, so being able to find a community where I could meet other people who played music – and other girls who played music, was important. And that’s kind of how I started.
CONOR: Last book you read?
SABRINA: Franny and Zooey, by JD Salinger. I reread it.
CONOR: What are some albums you’re listening to right now?
SABRINA: I love, I said this a while ago, but I still love Beck’s One Foot in the Grave. I forgot about it and then came back to it and was like this is still so good. I listen to a lot of rave mixes – like Happy Hardcore, and I like Tokyo Ghetto Pussy a lot. And I always listen to Hole too.
CONOR: What are some of your favorite places to hang out in the city?
SABRINA: I always hang out around here (East Village), and around LES.
CONOR: What can we expect from you down the road… Any new music?
SABRINA: Definitely new music coming… Yeah! Definitely new music.