Image description: Against a blue sky, the three members of San Cisco look down at the camera on the ground. They wear white. The women stands in the middle, and her head is leaning on the shoulder of the man on the left. The man on the right has his hand on his hip.
By Susannah Wong and Teehani Ralph
From playing the bars of Freo to the stage of New York’s CMJ Festival, local indie rock legends San Cisco have played some of world’s best stages in their ten years on the live circuit.
In part two of the interview, we continued our conversation with lead vocalist and guitarist Jordi Davieson to chat about the circumstances surrounding their new album, including COVID-19, merch, and live performances.
SW: How did COVID-19 affect the album’s production?
JD: This record has pretty much been around for like two years, and some of the songs – we actually finished two of the songs Shine and On the Line just before Covid hit. But before that, we finished all the songs like a year ago, but we’d been writing them for like a year and a half before that. And even songs like Flaws and Between You & Me – I wrote them like five years ago. I tried to get them on our record The Water, but they didn’t quite get across the line, but I’m really happy they made it on to this one.
SW: But it must be a hard wait?
JD: Yeah, it is! It’s a super hard wait, it’s very frustrating, but sometimes I think you just have to trust the process. I can write the songs, but the strategy behind releasing isn’t my strong point. I’m just really excited to get it out, and it’s a bit [of] a shame we can’t tour it.
SW: Do you have any plans to do any shows after lockdown or locally?
JD: Yeah, we have. We’re going to do a few shows locally, but I mean, we’re in WA, so there’s not really many places, you know? I don’t think we’ll be going to the states for a long time, but I’m just looking forward to hopefully getting over east at some point.
SW: Do you find it’s easier to be original when you don’t have as many influences, or does it work the other way around?
JD: It’s harder to say. In terms of songwriting, lyrics and chords and melodies, I find it easier not to be listening to anything. But then when it comes to actual sounds and production of a song, I think I kind of need to listen to other stuff sometimes, because you’ll get to a certain spot and be like “I don’t know what to do next, what should come in on the chorus?” And then you listen to a bit of music and go “oh, that’s a good idea, we need this to happen on the chorus, because that’s what they did, and that worked well.”
SW: This is a bit of cheeky question, but do you tend to like the songs you’ve written over others?
JD: I think it’s something that all of us have tried to work on in our ten years of being together – leave our ego out of it. And it’s something I think we’re all very conscious of. When you’re doing creative stuff in a studio with a bunch of people that you know really well, it’s so easy for ego to creep in, all the time. No, I don’t, I don’t think so. I do lyrically; I need to have some strong connection with what’s going on, otherwise I literally forget the words all the time. Unless I have some strong connection with it, I can never remember the words for a verse that maybe someone else wrote or something.
SW: But it probably sounds better when it’s more meaningful anyway?
JD: Yeah, it does, it always does. But sometimes when you’re in the studio, you just need to get across the line – you might need to just put a few lines in there that don’t mean heaps to you, but might sound good.
SW: Some of your merchandise has stuff like “San Cisco Sports”, “Dance Club”, and “Hiking & Adventure Club” – does that have any meaning behind it?
JD: We just thought it’d be cool [laughs]. Instead of just wearing band shirts. Yeah, we were just like, “What can we do instead of just putting our name on a t-shirt?” and like “Oh, there’s another band shirt.” It’s trying to have a bit of fun with it.
SW: Do you like to mix up who sings what live?
JD: We’ve actually just had a bunch of rehearsals and stuff – it’s top secret – but we’re trying to work on that, because our bass player and our keyboard player are multi-instrumentalists.
SW: When you’re writing, do you think, “this would be good for that person,” or do you decide later?
JD: I just write the song. Usually I just write it, and Josh will be like, “This is a good one for Scarlett.”
SW: In five words, describe “Between You and Me”.
JD: In five words? I’m so shit at this. Um, I think it’s f****** deep [laughs]. Nah, it’s not deep, that’s a shit word to use. It’s meaningful, it’s slick, it’s poppy, it’s sad and it’s happy. We did it.
SW: You did good [laughs]. Do you have anything you want to tell our readers?
JD: I think the album’s good to listen to while your driving. Just put it on when you’re driving down the nice wide-open road – it’ll probably sound better.
San Cisco play Fremantle Arts Centre October 30 and Between You and Me is out September 4.
Read part one of the interview here.
Image courtesy of Pooneh Ghana