Radio UTD’s Kayta Zakar catches up with Sabrina Fuentes, Eva Kaufman, and Orazio Argentero of Pretty Sick. Stream their latest release, Makes Me Sick Makes Me Smile, here.
(Interview has been edited for clarity)
Katya Zakar: Good evening everybody! This is Katya with RadioUTD and I’m here with…
Sabrina Fuentes: Sabrina Fuentes.
Eva Kaufman: Eva.
Orazio Argentero: Orazio from Pretty Sick!
Alright! We’re here with Pretty Sick in the wonderful city of Denton, Texas at their sold-out show today on November 12th, 2022. So Sabrina, is this your first tour in Texas?
SF: This is our first tour in Texas.
Alright, so how has tour been for y’all so far?
SF: We’ve been loving it! It’s been warm, it’s been cold. Orazio bought a really cool new guitar. We had some good Thai food, some pho, and Texas has been great!
Okay, what has your favorite city been in Texas so far?
OA: Austin has been pretty fire. I’ve just been to Recycled, and I bought some new things. I recommend it overall.
Speaking again of Texas, what has been your favorite stop?
SF: Probably the guitar store in Austin, that was great! We also went to Lucy and Disguise and I bought some tights and some earrings, so that was cool.
Speaking of your tights, you have amazing style! During this tour, you’ve been dressing so nice. My question to you is: Do you have a specific style icon?
SF: No, yeah, I mostly dress like what I think cartoon characters would dress like. I like Debbie Harry, Björk, PJ Harvey and Chloë Sevigny, but I wouldn’t say I have one style icon in particular. I think I take inspiration from a lot of different things and I try to wear clothes from lots of different eras together, so it doesn’t just look like nostalgia core ‘90s copycat outfits.
So you’ve said you’ve wanted to dress somewhat like a cartoon character. What is your favorite cartoon? And if you could live in a certain cartoon universe, which would it be?
SF: Hmmm… my favorite cartoon is probably Downtown, which is about New York in the early 2000s and late ‘90s, but I feel like I already lived there. So if I can live in any other cartoon, I’d probably live in an X-Men Evolution cartoon.
EK: I don’t know, they’re kind of fucked up a little bit.
SF: Yeah, they all seem stressful.
EK: Maybe Adventure Time would be fun. It’s a little fucked up in the later seasons.
OA: I think any cartoon.
EK: Not Neon Genesis.
SF: We just watched that!
Oh my goodness, that’s such a doomer anime to watch on the road.
OA: Yeah, it is pretty doomer.
EK: We have our fun.
Do you relate to any of the characters from the show?
SF: I like Asuka.
EK: I like Asuka too!
OA: [Eva] has blue hair.
SF: Eva has blue hair, and I have anger issues, so I guess that makes you Shinji Orazio!
OA: Oh no!
EK: Oh my god, I can’t even!
So you also talk about living in the US and New York and everything, but I do know that you recently graduated from university in the UK, so congratulations on that. It is such a difficult feat to graduate right now, especially from school. All I want to do is ask: Do you have any tips for university students for now, and do you have any regrets in college in regards to doing things? Do you wish you got to do anything before you graduated?
SF: I guess my tip would be to use the facilities that your schools have as much as possible. Talk to your professors as much as possible and find teachers that you like and can get along with and use as mentors. I wish I had joined more clubs, like a month or two before I graduated. Me and my friend Josie found out there was a cheerleading team at our university that we didn’t join, and in hindsight, I regret that a lot.
What kind of kid were you in high school?
SF: I didn’t go to school that much actually. I worked part time during school and full-time during the summers, and most of my friends were adults until I was like 17. Then I became friends with more teenagers that were a bit older than me, and I guess kids that were kind of closer to my age, but still not really my age. And then… yeah, I don’t know, most of my friends were adults.
I feel you. You didn’t feel like high school necessarily held you, right? You didn’t identify with that type of life? Did you just want to get up and go?
SF: Yeah, definitely.
Other than that, obviously you were in the UK. Now that you’re in the US, is there anything you miss about the UK that the US doesn’t offer?
SF: Right now, it’s kind of hard to say. Most of my friends say to enjoy the weather while we’re here, because it’s really cold and wet in London already and we were just in 80 degrees sunny Austin, which is really nice. I mostly miss my friends and my apartment, and the routine of hanging out, and I really miss cooking at home so much. I really love cooking and you obviously can’t do that in a van. So, yeah, just like the little things, but it’s been awesome traveling. I love being on the road and I love touring and these guys are easy to travel with.
What’s your favorite thing to cook?
SF: Soup. I’m a soup person. Honestly, I mostly eat soup and pasta and shahsouka.
EK: She’s so good at shahsouka, it’s insane!
SF: I make good salmon, like a miso glazed salmon. I make really good udon. I can make really fire salads. I make this really good tortilla chip lime salad that bangs. They don’t have sweet green in England, so everyone thinks I’m really original. They also don’t have Mexican food, so they have no idea why it tastes so good. It’s because their food doesn’t taste so good, that’s why it tastes so good.
EK: Food that tastes good, that’s so crazy. Blows them away.
Yeah, there is quite a bit of a shortage of ethnic ingredients in the UK.
SF: I had to ask the local international grocer to order Goya products because they didn’t stock them, and then got them in like a year later.
Yeah, do they even have avocados?
SF: Yeah, they have avocados.
So you’re a great cook which is so good, because on tour you have to be so resourceful. What is your favorite thing you’ve eaten on tour so far?
SF: Hmmm… I don’t know. I don’t know, we ate at the diner from Twin Peaks. We got pies.
EK: That was really good!
EK: Damn good coffee too!
SF: Damn good fun cup of coffee.
OA: Damn good fun, fine cup of coffee. We’ve been to Sonoratown with the nice burritos.
SF: Oh yeah! Sonoratown in LA was really good! Honestly, the Thai food I had in Denton just a second ago was good.
Oh, what did you get?
SF: It was from Thai Square, and I got Thai Basil soup. It was too small and I’m still hungry, but that’s okay because it was still really good.
EK: What did we eat on tour? I feel like I don’t remember anything.
OA: Oh yeah, we’ve definitely eaten a bunch of food on tour. I think we’ve mostly eaten Mexican food.
SF: Yeah, it’s mostly because we can’t get it in the UK, so I’m really maxing it out while I’m here. It’s not even that good in New York, it tastes way better over here.
EK: It tastes way better over here.
SF: Yeah, those are my favorite. Sonoratown and “Twin Peaks.”
Yeah. So onto the music questions: You released Makes Me Sick, Makes Me Smile on September 30th of this year. I congratulate you on a no-skips album, it was heat. I’d like to ask all of y’all, what makes you sick and what makes you smile? So, in other words, what are your pet peeves and what are your favorite things?
EK: I can’t do it when people chew with their mouths open. It really opens something primal in me.
SF: I hate slow walkers. Those people make me fucking sick. Hurry up!
OA: I don’t know, fascism?
SF: And racists. Bad people make me really sick to my stomach, and good people make me smile.
OA: That’s not true. Bad people make me sick, and records and my friends make me smile.
EK: Touring makes me smile.
SF: Touring makes me smile. Playing shows in Texas makes me smile.
OA: We do music, so I mean, music makes us smile.
What are y’alls tour essentials?
SF: I don’t really want much, and I don’t really need much besides food and the company of my good friends here. I have a lot of supplements, I have some oil of oregano, matcha, milk thistle, and honey bee syrup. I got a lot of lip gloss, a lot of chapstick, and a lot of moisturizer.
EK: My Yoda blanket pillow. We have a lot of stuffed animals. It’s essential.
SF: Yeah, we have a lot of stuffed animals.
OA: Goomba, and a collection of hats.
EK: That’s you.
SF: Yeah, that’s mostly it.
Love that, love that. Alright, I only have a few minutes left, so I’m going to get my last questions in. Y’all have been great! I have loved interviewing y’all, but back to music. So you’ve been playing music for quite a bit and you’ve already released two studio albums in the past few years. So are there any secrets to preventing the dreaded sophomore slump?
SF: Just keep exploring your interests and keep challenging yourself. I think that if you’re really comfortable in what you’re doing and really confident in what you’re doing, you’re probably not making anything that’s that exciting. Do things that scare you and make you happy, even if it’s not necessarily what everyone wants to hear. Stay true to yourself. Yeah.
Are there dream collaborations you wish to have? It doesn’t matter if they’re alive or dead.
SF: Alive or dead, they’re way too many people. I don’t know, Beethoven? Um, I don’t know, I like working with—I mean, I see music as an inherently collaborative thing, so to say that there’s one dream person, I don’t know if I could say. I just hope to continue to collaborate with other amazing musicians, like these two people right here. These are my dream collaborators.
EK: Aw, Sabrina stop!
OA: Hell yeah!
EK: Us and Beethoven.
Aww that’s so sweet! That’s so cute! Obviously, y’all are going to perform really soon, probably in the next 20 minutes. So are there any rituals you perform before going on stage?
SF: No, they’re bad luck.
OA: Yeah. We had one.
SF: We had one, and we’re not going to do it anymore. Every show we did, it backfired.
EK: It was really cute too, so I’m kind of bummed we don’t do it anymore. But absolutely not.
SF: So nothing is the answer.
I did not want to know that! Y’all don’t want to jinx anything. Well, I’m going to end this with: Since the holidays are coming up, is there anything y’all are looking forward to?
EK: Chilling for me. We’ve been on tour for a little bit. I wanna hang out with my family and stuff.
SF: Worshiping Christ.
EK: Yeah, that’s number one obviously.
SF: It’s always number one for us. Alright, that’s all! Thanks for having us!
Alright, that’s all! Thank you for having me, this is Katya with RadioUTD and I’m here with…
SF: PRETTY SICK!
It was an honor and pleasure to interview yall this evening. Thank you!
Listen to the full interview recording below!