By Nick Bynum of Rock Edition
From King George to San Cisco. No, I don’t mean the person and a misspelled city; that was the band’s name change. These Western Australia natives all grew up together and even attended the same high school. Because of their long history, breaking the ice — so to speak — wasn’t a problem when it came to forming the band. Originally taking the group in a more folky direction, singer/guitarist Jordi Davieson decided to scrap that and start anew with music that leaned closer to the indie rock spectrum. Slightly similar to that of Vampire Weekend and The Fratellis, San Cisco create upbeat, catchy tunes and since officially coming together in 2009, they’ve amassed quite a bit of buzz online and off. In 2011, the music video for “Awkward,” a song they wrote in only two hours, became a viral hit and helped give the band a big boost. Two years later, San Cisco has released their self-titled debut album and performed numerous shows around the world — something they never expected to happen.
Before San Cisco formed, you were doing solo work. What brought everyone together?
It was just a bit boring playing shows by myself, so I started playing around with Scarlett and Josh, but separately. I won some recording time from a local songwriting competition which gave me the perfect reason to bring Josh and Scarlett together to record a song. From there we decided we would like to play some live shows, so we got our very good friend Nick to play bass.
What caused the band to change their name from King George to San Cisco?
In the earlier days, we played music that was a lot more folky. After a year or so, we decided we wanted to have a bit of a change in musical direction so we changed our name as well.
What’s the creative process like when everyone sits down together to write a song?
Usually there is a lot of mucking around and then we start making some musical noises until we make something that resembles a song. Then we just keep playing it until it feels right. Sometimes it can take an hour to write a song or it could take weeks.
What’s one aspect of your music that you’re really proud of?
Our ability to have fun. We are all really close friends and I think that’s a good thing to be when you’re in a band and living with each other for months at a time. We like to do stupid things and have lots of fun. It’s something that I hope comes out in our music.
You’re getting ready to do a pretty big tour in the US. Are you excited?
Yeah! Tours are always very exciting. I think the unknown really gets me going! There’s always very low points on tour when you are extremely hungry or tired but the good things are so great that it’s all worth it.
Touring in different countries around the world must be an experience. How would you describe it?
It’s like having a wine tasting at a vineyard. You get to see all these amazing places but since you’re only there for 24 hours you just get a really small taste. By the end of the tour, all you’re left with are some great memories of a few places and a headache.
How is the Fremantle scene compared to the San Francisco scene?
I’m not too sure. I really don’t know the San Francisco “scene” well enough to comment.
When the band first formed, did anyone ever think you’d be touring around the world?
No, we had no idea at all. We were just playing music because we loved hanging out. Now it’s a bit more of a job, but we still have so many great times together.
Since forming in 2009, how would you say San Cisco has grown as a band?
All the boys have grown beards. Mine is still not that great but I’m slowly getting there. We are also a little better at our instruments. I think it would be easier to say how we haven’t grown. So much change happens in that space of time when you’re our age, musically and personally.
What’s a major challenge you guys have gone through to get to where you are today?
Learning how to live together without ripping each other’s heads off. Because we are such close friends, I think we find it really hard to draw the line when it comes to pushing each other’s buttons. These days, we are much better at living together and know when to leave each other alone to minimize silly fights.
For a lot of your songs, specifically “Rocket Ship,” I’m reminded of Vampire Weekend because of the similar vocal styling. What bands did you look up to before San Cisco formed?
I think the two main bands that we looked up to were MGMT and Vampire Weekend. We really wanted to play music like them — obviously with our own twist — but they were our inspiration.
Your debut album dropped on July 16 in the US. How would you describe it?
A musical snapshot of our lives for the past two years squashed onto a CD with some pretty pictures. Hopefully some songs that you will want to listen to more than once as well.