More Than A One Night Stand: San Cisco On Their Comeback And Third Album

Column: Features   |   Date Published: Sunday, 14 May 17   |   Author: Clinton Hatfield   |   2 weeks, 2 days ago

     "Coming off stage everyone was yelling ‘Jordi, what the fuck happened?’"

Shortly after stepping off the stage at Triple J’s One Night Stand in Mount Isa, SAN CISCO’s front man Jordi Davieson spoke to me about the band’s brand new album The Water and their massive Aussie tour kicking.

In preparation for the One Night Stand, San Cisco found themselves rehearsing in bathrooms with Thelma Plum. She joined the band on stage to perform a cover of Peter Bjorn and John’s indie pop anthem ‘Young Folks’, an experience that Davieson is still buzzing from.

“I’ve always wanted to perform that song as a duet,” he says. “It was just such a perfect fit with Thelma.” Davieson mentions that the whole collaboration came about when Scarlett Stevens (San Cisco’s drummer) ran into Plum in New York. When they both returned to Australia, the idea was put forward to the rest of the band. In the end, Plum was wrapped to be a part of the show.

San Cisco dropped three new songs into the setlist for Mount Isa and they seemed to go down an absolute treat. That said, Davieson notes that his attention may not have been on the audience reaction.

“It was a bit hard to notice what the crowd was doing when we were just trying to get through the new songs,” he says. Laughing, he recollects what happened post-show. “Coming off stage everyone was yelling ‘Jordi, what the fuck happened?’”. Turns out the confused singer had suffered a catastrophic nose bleed right after performing. “The rest of the guys thought I’d been punched or something. I asked Scarlett for a tampon but had to settle for tissues, there was so much blood. I’m so lucky it didn’t happen on stage, I don’t actually know what I would have done.”

Davieson is unsure if fans on this tour will get to see Thelma Plum join them on stage again. “It’s a bit of a dog act to make her stick around after performing just for one song,” he says. “But we’ll see what happens.” So, the lucky few who got to see it in Mount Isa might have witnessed something really special.

In the early 2010s, San Cisco captured Australia’s collective hearts with ‘Golden Revolver’ and ‘Girls Do Cry’ via Triple J Unearthed. Since then, the band has gone on to put out two full-length releases: Gracetown in 2015 and their self-titled debut in 2012.

San Cisco recorded their third album The Water in the Fremantle studio of John Butler. Keeping it in the family, Butler’s manager, Phil Stevens, is actually the father of Scarlett Stevens. Utilising the talents of long-time collaborator Steve Schram, who flew from Melbourne to work his magic on the group, the band may have produced their best work to date.
“Writing The Water was a much more collaborative effort,” Jordi mentions. “Previously we went into the studio with some songs written, but this time around we wrote the whole thing in the studio.

“Steven is really good at flipping songs on their head and being like ‘aight, this isn’t really working’, and completely changing it up. He’s like your best friend and your worst enemy at the same time.” Steven gets the best out of the guys apparently by being really honest and sometimes just walking out of the studio for a while to see what they can come up with alone. That might explain why The Water is much more diverse in synth layering when compared to San Cisco’s earlier material.

After nonstop rehearsing for two weeks, Davieson says his favourite songs on The Water have changed from when he first heard them on the finished CD. “I really like playing ‘Did You Get What You Came For?’ aaaand ‘Sunrise’. I think ‘Sunrise’ is one of our better constructed songs … it feels, good,” he says, laughing. 

What with a new album, a manic touring schedule and being all-around Triple J darlings, it’s not surprising to hear that San Cisco’s various members rarely get to take time away from the band. In between wrapping up recording and preparing for the tour, the guys have really only had ten days break from the band, explains Davieson. “I went away to Indonesia for ten days. Josh didn’t even stop though; he stayed at home and worked on the live rig. Scarlett came back from LA on a little holiday and we just got straight back into rehearsals. It’s all pretty hectic now.”

San Cisco are set to take on Splendour In The Grass again this year. “Splendour is such a great festival,” says Davieson. “I’m looking forward to going surfing! I love the whole Byron Bay vibe, and there are some good waves up there.” This time around, he seems keen to just enjoy the festival and have a good time. “Pretty much the first day I’ll be locked down getting ready for the show, and the next two days we’ll just be being festival people.”

It’s been a while since San Cisco have seen Canberra, but Davieson says they had a great night here the last time around. “We played a uni gig, it was like a year ago. There was one stage on an oval, and food trucks.” Let’s hope Canberra can show them an even better time when they take the stage in June.

San Cisco drop by ANU Bar on Thursday June 1 from 8pm. Supported by Thelma Plum. Tickets $40.50 + bf through Moshtix.



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