San Cisco Is Big in Australia -- And Too Young to Drink in the U.S.
Most people are just starting college or work life at the age of 20. And while that's the median age of the members of San Cisco, the Australian indie-pop group is embarking on a different, more daunting journey: its first North American tour. One of Australia's most hyped new groups since Tame Impala, San Cisco's Golden Revolver EP climbed Australia's esteemed triple-j (think CMJ) Hottest 100 Chart while garnering comparisons to Vampire Weekend and The Beach Boys.
In North America, though, San Cisco is just an opening band -- and the group's debut album isn't even available in the U.S. But lead singer Jordie Davieson is calm about the project ahead of him. Excusing his thick Australian accent, it's only when he says that the group's next gig is in "Mil-wook-ee" that we're reminded this is new territory for his band. Ahead of San Cisco's opening slot for the Vaccines this Friday at the Fillmore, we spoke with Davieson about skipping class, his bad habits, and the group's maturing sound.
I know you won an award for some studio time and then you brought the members together. Is that when the band first started?
Yeah. I won a songwriting award in Perth for recording time. I brought Scarlett and Josh together to record "Rocketship."
How old were you?
I was in year nine. I don't know how old that is, but probably 14.
Were you skipping classes to go practice?
[Laughs] Ah, no. School has always been my priority.
What was that first gig like?
It was fun. It was a bit awkward. We were onstage down south on a market day. We were all playing acoustic guitars. It was our first gig together and it was weird, but good fun.
What was it like being in school after the buzz built around "Awkward"? Did things change for you in school?
It didn't really take off until I had finished school. It was a week after I had finished school that it got further in Hottest 100 [on triple-j] and then it kind of took off. Before that, no one in school really cared. It wasn't really any different.
What happened that summer? Did your crush call you?
No, they didn't! Mainly because I went to an all-boys school. No crushes came out of the woodwork or anything. People were just pretty happy for me, like, "Job well done."
What have you learned from the previous tours about being together as a group?
You get to know when to leave each other alone, because you end up learning what buttons to push to piss each other off. You just got to know when to cut off, and maybe go off somewhere by yourself, and when someone is pissed off not to rev them up. I don't know why I do it, but I like revving people up. I shouldn't do it, but...
What is the easiest way to piss off [drummer] Scarlett Stevens?
She doesn't like being tickled. That will piss her off.
So is it weird playing gigs at bars but not being able to drink?
It's awful! It's so annoying. That law is just ridiculous. You can do everything in America except drink until you're 21.
I just got the album. I've been a fan of the last EP. Both are really bright and very poppy. Do you prefer writing songs that are bright and more upbeat?
I like writing songs musically that are poppy and make people want to bob their heads, but lyrically, none of the songs are really bright. They're all have pretty dark undertones. That's just how we do it.
What's the reasoning behind that?
I think it might be because songwriting is a way that I vent things that may be negative from when I'm pissed off. I find that I can draw from deeper emotions and write more than [while] being happy. Most of the time that's what I am, pretty happy.
In previous interviews you've talked about how, with the success of "Awkward," there were a lot of public opinions formed about San Cisco, but that now you're trying to change them. Can you explain that?
Well, there weren't too many public opinions. I think if anything, we thought that "Awkward" was a bit too immature. Too simple. We don't really want it. It's probably the most simple song we have. With the album, we wanted to write something that was a little more complex. We didn't go out there saying we want to reinvent ourselves because we're all mature and old now. It was just a natural progression to move on from "Awkward."