San Cisco came together as high school friends, their families holiday together, and they have grown up together, which may explain the close dynamic of the group and cleverness of their songwriting
I f you start your first band when you’re barely into double digits, it’s likely you’ll be a victim of ageism. The members of San Cisco – Jordi Davieson, Josh Biondillo, Nick Gardner and Scarlett Stevens – have known each other for years, been playing in bands most of their lives and formed this particular quartet in 2009 as they finished high school. They have performed in front of audiences across America and Europe, and graced the stages of most venues and festivals that appreciate finely crafted, intelligent indie pop rock.
Their singles Awkward, Wild Things and Fred Astaire have been voted onto Triple J’s Hottest 100, while their peers have nominated them for plenty of shiny trophies including ARIA Awards.
Yet, having achieved so much with two EPs, a debut album and now a second record, Gracetown, we still won’t let San Cisco grow up.
“Everyone just remembers you as kids. My mum is always like, what gig do the kids have this weekend?” says drummer and vocalist Stevens.
Guitarist Biondillo adds: “And we’ve all got beards. I always make that joke. Kids with beards.”
So one wonders if these precocious musicians are having a dig at the old folk with the cover of Gracetown.
It’s a neon pop-art reproduction of a mid-1960s holiday house in a West Australian town near Margaret River where Stevens and Davieson and their families often holiday.
Any Australian, no matter their age, would recognise it.
“Me and Jordi met at that house,” Stevens explains.
Davieson adds: “As we were growing up we’ve all started going down to Gracetown a lot and staying at my family’s house down there.”
And the old folk would find much to love about the band’s new record, a bright yet lo-fi mishmash of garage and disco quite unlike much else on the airwaves these days.
“Moments of disco? Maybe there’s more dance. That’d be sick to have a big mirror ball for shows. Strobe lights,” the frontman says. They nominate bassist Gardner as the band’s best dancer because he has “no inhibitions with his hips”.
San Cisco are that quintessential indie Australian band whose deft skill with a pop hook can often disguise the cleverness of their songwriting.
Playing on the male-female dynamic not only vocally but lyrically, Davieson and Stevens often find themselves having the same arguments as the characters in their music.
For the record, they only sound like an old married couple but aren’t in a relationship.
San Cisco are just one of the young indie Oz acts who have garnered significant international attention in recent years.
While the success of Gotye, then Iggy Azalea and 5 Seconds of Summer have the major labels talent scouting Down Under, it’s the underground or alternative artists who are blowing up the blogs and tastemaker websites globally.
San Cisco are the quintessential indie Australian band.