Sabrina

Hailing from New York, Sabrina are a new Goth rock act, that are immensly talented, and for once
show some originality in the scene. Keith Elcombe speaks to the front lady herself, Sabrina. (August 2002)
(images used with kind permission)
www.sabrinamusic.com

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1. I have to ask this at the expense of sounding stupid, or even coming across as arrogant, why the name Sabrina and why use it as the name for your act?
Sabrina is my birth given name. I was almost talked out of using it because of the questions it may bring forth. But, I decided not to shy away for it… It is my name and it is who I am .

2. Coming from a family that is used to performing and entertaining, how much training did you have before launching your singing career?
None, I had to go out there just like everyone else and start by performing on open mic nights to get my stage legs and get rid of the jitters. There is no other way around it. On the other hand, I also think some of it is in the blood, it’s always helpful if you have acquired the ambition and nerve to do this night after night.

3. As a child, what did you see yourself doing when you were an adult?
Ever since I was little, I found myself doing 3 things, dancing, singing, and drawing (mostly in that order)… as I was growing up, I really thought seriously about fashion design. But, after going to school for it and finding out that freedom of creation is totally suppressed and you have to design what they tell you they want, the whole concept just lost me and I went for something else that allowed me to create without limitations, music.

4. What made you enter the alternative scene, when someone with your talent and vocal abilities could quite easily make it big in the commercial music scene?
First, thanks. Well, to begin with, I have never really been into the commercial pop scene, it’s good if you like it. I am more into music that comes from the heart and mind, not from the flavor of the year writer scoring to get #1 on the Billboard charts through sunshine and bubblegum lyrics being sung by clones. “Ops, I did it again”, am I being too harsh?
I guess you could say I ended up in the so-called alternative scene because of my lyrics and melodies. I like to write about reality and tend to deliver the music with a darker edge and all around feel, Keith who I collaborate with also has a rock-influenced history and we just think the same with that respect. I also have my own style, which really never has or will work in the commercial pop how to book.

5. Do you feel that if you had not come from the background you did, starting out in the music industry would have been significantly harder?
I wish they could help me. But no, the only thing that I can thank my parents for is passing on their talents and their support in whatever I chose to do with my life.
I won’t lie its hard starting out in this industry, my band and I are one of millions out there looking for attention. We work just as much as everyone one else, struggling to be heard in a major way. Plugging away day and night on the Internet, handing out flyers, posting stuff up announcing the next gig, etc.

6. What is the driving force behind you and your music, as well as the songs that you write?
The driving force behind me is my passion and determination to do this full time and make a living at it. I want to be one of those lucky people that actually love their job!!!!


7. There is no doubting the level of your talent, and the commitment of those around you to what you do – how far do you see yourself being able to go in the music scene today?
Again, thank you. Well, I must say you are very right about the commitment of those around me. My collaborator and guitarist, Keith Pires and manager John Pires, have been the main support for quite some time and then I was blessed with a great drummer, Jamie Jensen and most recently Jon Stone on Bass. They are so supportive and are great people!

As for how far seeing myself go in the music scene today… I’m not going to start harping on the alternative rock genre female vs. male syndrome of the music industry, but I will say that as a female in the male dominated rock scene today, it’s a little discouraging to think of a specific level I may reach. The problem doesn’t come from the people, we have many fans all over the world, it is the music industry that needs to open its eyes and realize that people out there are ready for a change or maybe just some diversity in alternative rock music. So, my wish…is to be signed which would give us the opportunity to tour all over the world and play every night for anyone out there who will listen.

8. How long did it take to put the album ‘Euphoria’ together and were there any major headaches along the way?
‘Euphoria’ took a little over a year and a half to make. Originally, it was only meant to be a 3 to 4 song demo, but when we put the 4 songs on the website while working on the demo, we noticed that we were getting quite a few requests to buy a CD and that propelled us to add a few more songs to make a fuller CD. The process took some time because all of the steps were learning processes for each of us. From writing, orchestrating, producing, mixing, mastering, artwork, to learning new music software, redesigning the website, and in the final stages finding musicians to play live which we just completed a few months ago. My Manager was a tremendous help throughout this whole process, he has so many talents besides managing. He produced most of the CD, mixed and mastered it, did the artwork, pictures and all. I can’t thank him enough for his support! All upcoming artists should be so blessed as to have someone like that on their side believing in them that much.

9. When not working, what do you enjoy doing to unwind?
I know it sounds crazy because I do this most of the time, but I really enjoy writing. So, I find myself doing that to unwind. I also love to read and I especially love to dance, I found this really amazing club which plays the best 80’s new wave music (not the junk pop stuff of the 80’s)… when I’m there it transcends me to another planet… nothing else matters but the music, dance floor and me .

10. What are you reading right now?
False Memories by Dean Koontz

11. What is your opinion of the alternative scene in the States at this moment in time? Do you feel it is being diluted by under-talented acts all trying to grab their 15 minutes of fame?
Absolutely, and again, I don’t want to blame the music industry for everything, but what bothers me the most is the cloning of bands, which are being crammed down our throats by these labels and radio stations. You’ve heard one, you’ve heard them all (over and over again). Each label seems to have their own version of the most profitable popular band out there. The pop genre is no different (but we are more use to that with them) how many midriff exposed dancing divas does one need? You ask about the under-talented acts grabbing their 15 minutes of fame… Well, you can hear one act or singer on the radio and when you hear that same person or band live either on TV or concert, they sound nothing like the CD? Can’t even hold a note… I don’t get it either. I really do hope this changes because it use to be that talent would rise to the top, but now days it seems that the old mighty dollar rules above creativity and individuality.

12. When will we see Sabrina here in the UK?
Oh, how I wish it could be tomorrow, today, now. But, we all must be patient and hopefully this will come to be soon ! We are all working very hard now building a fan base locally and hope to branch out in time.

13. What are your feelings on playing in front of a live audience?
I absolutely live for it. I can’t explain how much I enjoy performing live. The vibe of the fans is like nourishment to me and being on stage with my band/friends is so calming and soothing at the same time. I also look forward to meeting new people after the show, if only to chat for a moment or two, I like to let them know how much we appreciate their coming out to see us and hope to see them at the next show. I could do this every night and be utterly content .

14. Speaking of live acts, who is your favourite live band/artist and why?
Okay, I must say this first. They are not really around now as a group, but I have always had a very soft spot for Led Zeppelin and would have been thrilled to see them just once in concert. I love Robert Plant, I think he is a brilliant writer and want to know the secret of how he keeps that amazing head of hair? And of course the rest in the band who still to this day, remain the best at their instruments.

Currently, I would have to say: Stone Temple Pilots - Scott Weiland is the most remarkable front person! I also respect the fact that they have been around for so long. I’m so sick of all these bands that keep coming up and staying around for a year or two and gone – never to be heard of again…

15. What angers you the most, and how do you deal with it?
Untalented people in the workplace (at your job, people in entertainment, music and such) who have absolutely no idea of what they are doing and have simply fooled everyone into thinking they are amazing, in turn, receiving praise and glory for what they do. I deal with it like most people do, shrug it off and go on with life otherwise it will drive you mad!

Oh, yes and posers, arrogance, liars, cheaters, and snobs – I try very hard not to associate myself with them.

16. How do you perceive American Alternative acts are received here in the UK and Europe?
I tend to think that American Alternative acts are much more appreciated and received in the UK and Europe in general. Almost 50% of my website activity comes from Germany. It goes a bit like this in order, USA, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Spain, and so on. I believe Europeans in general are more liberal and open to hearing new things as oppose to being brainwashed by the radio into thinking what is good.

17. Finally, if you could meet one person from history, who would it be and why?

From History… Albert Einstein – I would have loved to just sit and speak with him for hours - I think he would be most fascinating.

In Entertainment: Lucille Ball (just because I think I am the biggest “Lucy” fan there is . “I Love Lucy”!!!)

In Music: David Bowie – I think he is brilliant in every way. I have great respect for those who stay true to their music and talent and dare to be different and get away with it!!!