San Cisco on their most mature effort yet

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San Cisco on their most mature effort yet

San Cisco have the indie-pop sound we all know and love, with their bright hooks, acoustic elements and electronic dance melodies – and far from losing their signature spark, San Cisco have returned to the scene in a big way.

The Fremantle quartet, made up of Jordi Davieson, Josh Biondillo, Nick Gardner and Scarlett Stevens, have become a household name in the Australian music scene since releasing their debut EP in 2010 when they were fresh out of high school. They soon followed with a second EP, their self-titled debut album and then Gracetown which made it to #2 on the ARIA charts. Now they’ve just released their third album The Water, a tight-knit collection of groove-driven synth-pop tunes.

Hailed as their best and most diverse project yet, San Cisco guitarist Josh Biondillo explains how the new album reached its level of maturity, cohesion and personality while still keeping their very distinct San Cisco sound.

“We got together at the end of last year, and we did five, ten day stints in the studio. We actually did a lot of writing in the studio – it almost entirely came about in the studio and it was pretty much a collaborative effort this round,” he says.

“For me, it definitely feels like a more mature effort as songwriter and a producer and music maker generally speaking, but it’s definitely still got all those same elements that make us San Cisco,” he says, “Just like the common threads – Jordi’s voice, how he sings and what he sings about, and I think there’s always the jangely guitars, or the real grooving guitar sounds that we do, and the drum sound that Scarlett gets I would say is a very San Cisco sound – so it’s all those elements together that make it San Cisco.”

Reuniting with producer Steve Schram, these San Cisco trademarks are evident in their 10-track album. The WA foursome have toyed with new sounds (e.g. their disco track ‘SloMo’) and further developed what works best with their upbeat hooks, especially in their fresh single from the album ‘Hey Did I Do You Wrong?’. As one of the more laidback tracks from the album, the indie outfit ponder a close friendship that’s slowly grown apart. The accompanying video shows the four-piece drinking beers, playing music, hitting the road and spending time at the beach, which Biondillo says was their way of re-introducing the band and their growth to the fans.

“We had this guy, this video maker called Matsu, and we met up with him with intentions of doing something like a film clip or a photoshoot or something like that, and he was like ‘I reckon you do this’,” he says, “We hadn’t really done anything like it in a while, just us doing what we do, so he thought it could be a good re-introduction to the fans and the people as just us been a bit more mature looking.

“He actually followed us around and there’s a bit of a story behind it. He came to a rehearsal of ours, and then we went around Freo for one day and then he got on the plane with us and came to our gig in Melbourne – it was supposed to be like us getting ready to play a show. I mean, we don’t do that all the time, but it’s a pretty good representation of what we get up to.”

Having played over 100 shows in Australia, travelling the world to perform throughout America and Europe, along with gracing a number of festival line-ups, the indie pop rockers are sharing their new album with their fans on their headline national tour with 21 shows in just 46 days – including capital cities, regional centres, and a few all ages dates.

“There will be some old stuff, like the classics,” he laughs, “but it will mostly be the new record. We’re all pretty excited to start playing the new songs.

“We are just focused on trying to translate the whole record to the stage. It’s a very, very different way of going about music I guess. In the studio, you can do as many takes as you want, but on stage you only have like eight sets of hands. Trying to make it work with just the four of us has been a bit of a challenge but it’s been good – it’s been a real learning curve this time around.

Set to play at Splendour In The Grass for the third time and recently playing at triple j’s One Night Stand in Mt Isa, it seems San Cisco are in for a massive year. With so much time spent touring, the consistent dynamic of San Cisco proves they’re in for the long haul.

“We still friends in the way that we always have been, I think anyway,” he laughs. “But I guess we’re just like old friends that kind of do this thing together and it’s just become what we do. It’s quite beautiful.”

When & Where: The Wool Exchange, Geelong – June 9 (get tickets via the website) & Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay – July 21 – 23

Check out their video here.

Written by Talia Rinaldo
Photo by Matsu