In honor of her new single “Bet My Blood,” Sabrina Fuentes has created a gritty weekend playlist for releasing your inner demon
With a collection of 8 years’ worth of self-written songs, lead singer Sabrina Fuentes is a burgeoning rockstar. Since first establishing her band Pretty Sick with her two friends Ella Moore and Eva Kaufman at 13, the native New Yorker has carved her own path in the creative sphere, modeling for brands such as Opening Ceremony and Converse and recently Calvin Klein all by turning 20. Channeling her inner world into her music, Fuentes’s honesty and vulnerability shines through in her lyrics and visuals. She offers glimpses of her life growing up in New York City, weaving together a quintessential Pretty Sick song by detailing the ups and downs that come with navigating her friendships, unrequited love, and endless day-to-day memories. Today, the band consists of Fuentes, Onyx Collective’s Austin Williamson, guitarist Wade Oates, and their newest member and bassist Orazio Argentero.
Following up last year’s Deep Divine—a dreamy, nostalgic album released through indie label Dirty Hit—Pretty Sick is set to release a new project on June 17. Entitled Comedown, the EP promises darker, grittier themes than their previous releases. Their music video release for ‘Bet My Blood‘ details a hospital themed spiral, sending out a blaring warning, “If don’t you make time for him now, you’ll make time for him and the next one.”
Currently based in London studying music at Goldsmiths, Fuentes spoke to Document about the band’s upcoming EP, what people can expect from their new project, and why living in London has given her the space to grow. Together with Argentero, Fuentes compiled a customized playlist of their current favorite tracks and inspirations from such as Melvin’s, Jucifer, and Böa.
Harshvardhan Shah: What does the new music sound like? Did you have a chance to experiment with your sound and even thematically as a follow-up to Deep Divine?
Sabrina Fuentes: The new EP, Comedown, is like an extension of the last one. Deep Divine has all of the high notes and dreamy feelings. This one is a bit darker, it’s a bit louder, which is fun for me. As a performer, it is more emotionally intense. There are some aspects of Deep Divine that are very light-hearted and fun and keep a positive vibe going. There’s a little bit less of that in this one and a little bit more introspection.. It’s like diving into the dark in a way that is really fun and productive. I kind of needed that for my own growth.
Harshvardhan: Did you write new music for this EP or also visit older songs? What was your selection process like?
Sabrina: Similarly to Deep Divine, I wrote a lot of these songs in my teens and up until now. We recorded it originally in 2018 and 2019, and then we just fixed and tweaked things until Deep Divine came out.
Harshvardhan: Do you have more music videos and projects planned for Comedown?
Sabrina: We have a video by my friend Manon Macasaet, who’s worked on a lot of our videos in the past, and it’s for the next single called ‘Bet My Blood’ that I’m really excited about. Then we have one more video coming out after that for a song called ‘Physical’ by my two really good friends Jake and Oliver. We have another video after too, but it’s a surprise we’re still kind of working on.
Harshvardhan: The song ‘Telephone’ on Deep Divine was written by Wade Oates. Are there more songs written by other members this time around?
Sabrina: Yeah, he gave it to me when we became friends and he was like, ‘I wrote this song a while ago, but I want you to sing it.’ It was the only song he wrote but he also wrote the chorus on Allen Street. But I’ve written songs for friends as well.
Harshvardhan: How has your time at Goldsmiths influenced your music and process?
Sabrina: I think I’m definitely a lot better at singing. I know how to control my voice and instruments so much better now, which I really love. I’ve seen vocal coaches before I went to Goldsmiths but none of them really got what I wanted to do or knew how to train me to use my voice in the way that I needed to. So that’s a plus because when I was in high school, I used to blow up my voice at almost every show. Now I don’t do that. But outside of that, spending time with friends and going into live music in London is great, because there’s not as much of a live music scene in New York as there is in London here. When venues are open, I spend almost all my time out.
Harshvardhan: How would you compare it to your time in New York? In what ways have you had to adapt differently?
Sabrina: I have great friends in both cities, which I’m really really grateful for. So I really feel good about either place. But the biggest difference is that New York moves so fast and is really demanding of your time generally. There’s not a lot of time to work on yourself or grow as an individual unless you work on creating a space for yourself. There’s a lot of space for you to grow as an individual here in London. I didn’t really adjust very quickly and got homesick a lot. I would have to go home a lot of the time while I was living here. But now I don’t really want to be there [in New York] at all. I’m just very settled in and in my own place here.
Harshvardhan: Where do you see yourself living in the future?
Sabrina: I’m not sure where I see myself. I’m sure I’ll be touring for a really long time. Outside of that, it’d be nice to have London as a home base because of how close it is to the rest of Europe. I think I’m going to spend time here until my visa runs up as not everyone has the opportunity to legally stay somewhere so easily. But I love New York, and I feel like we’ll probably do some touring here, some touring there. I think the next release we do after this will maybe be about my relationship with both cities and never really being in one place at one time.
Harshvardhan: Since you didn’t get to tour Deep Divine, what can people expect with live shows in the future?
Sabrina: Yeah, I can’t wait. I think it’ll be really fun to tour, and I can’t wait to tour a big body of work. A lot of smaller bands go on tour for their first release and not as many people get to see them. It’ll be nice that maybe by the time this EP is out and we can tour again, we’ll have a bigger audience to show both projects.
Harshvardhan: How much do you take feedback from people who listen to your music into consideration?
Sabrina: I take a lot of creative influence from my fans and friends. I run a lot of the songs that we make with friends before we go to the studio to record and get everybody’s opinion on which ones are their favorites. Every once in a while, I’ll post little snippets of stuff that I’m working on Instagram, and I love hearing when people think, good or bad. I think I take criticism pretty well unless I’m really attached to a song, which is rare. I write mostly on bass—it’s just playing bass and singing. So there are a lot of directions that a song can go in from there, and I like getting to figure out what everybody thinks should be next.
Harshvardhan: How do you balance putting so many parts of yourself out there and feeling vulnerable?
Sabrina: I think I’m a really emotional person, but I’m a really tough nut to crack most of the time. I don’t think most of my friends or family know about it. I think that music is my way of processing that. I never really worried that I’ve said too much in music because I say very little about my emotions outside of music. And since it’s not coming out in my daily life outside of music, it feels good to have that wide range of emotion in the band and the performance.
Harshvardhan: Tell me more about your playlist, what selections stand out the most?
Sabrina: I think it evokes a similar vibe to everything that’s going to be on the EP. I worked on most of this music at first with our newest member Orazio. There are a lot of songs on this album that are double bass. Me and Orazio met cause because we both really love heavier rock and stoner rock and doom stuff. So we were listening to a lot of bands like Melvins, and Fetus. He helped me make this playlist as well. There are a lot of influences on the heavier, darker sonic side.