San Cisco live at the Bakery, 2012
|Origin||Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia|
|Genres||Indie pop, indie rock, indie folk, psychedelic rock, psychedelic pop|
|Labels||Albert Productions, Fat Possum Records|
The Real Life Animators
San Cisco is an Australian indie pop band that formed in 2009 under the original name of King George, in Fremantle, Western Australia. The band are a four-piece, and consists of Jordi Davieson (guitar, lead vocals), Josh Biondillo (guitar, vocals), Jennifer Aslett (bass) and Scarlett Stevens (drums, vocals). All members, except Stevens, share duties on keyboards. In November 2011, the band was signed by Albert Productions, but moved to Fat Possum Records for the release of its debut album. In October 2012, the band described its 'vibe' as "squelchy, crispy, streamlined, hairy, indie". At the ARIA Music Awards of 2013 the group were nominated for Best Independent Release and Best Dance Release for the album; and Best Video for "Fred Astaire", which was directed by Andrew Nowrojee.
The three male members of San Cisco attended the same high school, Christian Brothers College in Fremantle, whilst Stevens attended nearby Iona Presentation College. Singer/guitarist Davieson and drummer Stevens have known each other since early childhood. At only thirteen Davieson's first band was The Real Life Animators. The band formed in early December 2005, with Albert Loss on lead guitar and vocals, Davieson on rhythm guitar and vocals, Bill Lawrie on drums, and Theo Campbell on bass guitar. The band played around Fremantle, supporting other bands such as the Watts and the Flairz. Stevens' first performances were in December 2003, at age eleven, as the drummer for the rock trio, the Flairz, together with Dion Mariani and John Mariani. Meanwhile, Biondillo and Davieson also bonded over a shared interest in skateboarding, the water, and music. Stevens is the daughter of Phil Stevens, who co-founded Jarrah Records with both the John Butler Trio and The Waifs, two bands that he also manages. Biondillo has explained, "I started playing guitar when I was in high school, about year 8 or 9, but it was mostly just playing music in my bedroom. So I did that until I met Jordi and then we started jamming together."
In late 2009, Davieson, Stevens, and Biondillo started playing music together and were later joined by bass guitarist Gardner. Initially called "King George", the band changed its name to "San Cisco" after surveying friends and fans. According to the band, "there is no link between the city San Francisco and our name San Cisco. .... The reason we went with San Cisco was because it is nothing; like a blank canvas which we were able to sculpt into whatever we wanted".
In late 2010, San Cisco recorded its debut EP Golden Revolver in Perth, Western Australia at Blackbird Studios. The EP's five songs were co-produced by Little Birdy drummer Matt Chequer and veteran engineer/producer Steven Schram (Little Birdy, The Waifs, Cat Empire, Little Red). "Golden Revolver", the EP's critically acclaimed lead single, received heavy airplay on national Australian radio station Triple J. XFM London DJ Mike Walsh said of "Golden Revolver": "If this song was brought to me as the next Vampire Weekend single, I would not be disappointed".
The music video for "Golden Revolver" shows the band sailing along Western Australia's Margaret River on a makeshift boat. The group's second single "Girls Do Cry" and a cover of Perth band Tame Impala's 2010 single "Solitude is Bliss" are also featured on the EP. Prior to the release of Golden Revolver, San Cisco was profiled in a December episode of Triple J Unearthed.
The band's second EP, Awkward, was released in February 2012 and the concept behind the title song was revealed in a backstage interview with Davieson: "It's a bit of a weird story about a stalker, involving me and Scarlett. It's completely made up". The recording was released through the band's own record label Island City Records, with distribution provided by the MGM company. The Uber Rock website reported that the EP was well received by the British music press and radio, and that the band had received support from media outlets such as NME, This Is Fake DIY, XFM, BBC 6Music, Absolute Radio, BBC Radio 1 and Amazing Radio.
In late 2011, the band was signed by Albert Productions, the home of major Australian acts such as AC/DC and Megan Washington--the label described San Cisco's sound as "rough, low-fi garage pop" mixed with "bright catchy hooks". However, in September 2012, the band left Albert Productions to join the roster of United States (US) label, Fat Possum Records--a deal that was made in partnership with RCA Records--for the release of its debut album San Cisco in all territories, except for Australia, on 23 November 2012; in Australia, the band made the decision to release the album, together with the singles "Wild Things" and "Fred Astaire", through Island City Records.
The band is the first-ever Australian act to be signed to the Fat Possum label; other bands on the Fat Possum roster are The Black Keys, Spiritualized, Townes Van Zandt and Dinosaur Jr. The label has provided the following description of the band on its website: "In a year of viral mega-hits from Down Under, a ground of four youthful musical friends have reached the upper echelons of the Australian pop charts with an intoxicating ear-worm of a song called "Awkward" ... If you were wondering what might be the song of the Fall, you'll find it right here." In response to a question regarding the band's deal with Fat Possum, the band exclaimed, "Awesome! Fat Possum is amazing. We're all stoked to be a part of the label."
A music video for "Wild Things", the first single release from the band's debut album, was published on the band's YouTube channel on 16 October 2012 and was directed by Kasimir Burgess. The single was also previewed on the website of national Australian radio station Triple J. A bonus song is also featured on the debut album; entitled "John's Song", the song consists solely of Davieson's vocals and guitar.
San Cisco recorded a cover version of the Daft Punk song "Get Lucky" for the "Like A Version" segment of national Australian radio station Triple J on 30 May 2013. The band uses slap bass and bongo drums for their rendition and also incorporate the N*E*R*D song "Hypnotize U".
In late 2013 the band stated in an interview that they plan to release a new album soon.
San Cisco released their sophomore album, Gracetown, on 6 March 2015, the title of which was inspired by Gracetown a small coastal town in Western Australia. In early March immediately prior to the release of the album, bass player, Nick Gardner accidentally shot himself in the foot when rabbit shooting at a friend's farm near Collie. As a result, he missed the band's tour of the United States and Mexico, promoting the new album.
San Cisco released their third album "The Water" on 5 May 2017. Taken from the album are singles "Slo-Mo" and "Hey, Did I Do You Wrong?", which reached #10 and #3 on the Australian independent radio chart consecutively.
According to San Cisco guitarist Josh Biondillo: "We organised five, ten day stints in the studio. It mostly came together in the studio and I think that's the reason that the sound is a bit more similar between songs - there's a lot more ties between them, similarities. It was a good energy... it's kind of the same energy that we've had since the beginning, this songwriting/recording team that's developed a good synergy and a good working relationship. We've learned each other's strengths."
In the Triple J Hottest 100 countdown for 2011, "Awkward" was voted into the seventh position and represented the band's first ever Hottest 100 appearance. The song "Awkward" also won the "Most Popular Single" and "Most Popular Music Video" awards at the 2012 Western Australian Music Industry (WAMI) Awards. Awkward was certified Gold by the ARIA Accreditations 2012. The band was also nominated for an Unearthed J Award in November 2011.
In December 2012, Triple J announced that the station's listeners had voted San Cisco into the #10 position in the "Listeners Top 10 Albums Poll". In the 2012 Hottest 100 the singles "Wild Things" and "Fred Astaire" were voted into positions 53 and 48, respectively.
At the ARIA Music Awards of 2013 the group were nominated for Breakthrough Artist - Release, Best Independent Release and Best Dance Release for their debut album; and Best Video for "Fred Astaire", which was directed by Andrew Nowrojee.
In the Triple J Hottest 100 2016 countdown, "Too Much Time Together" was voted into 49th position. "Magic" was nominated, but failed to accumulate enough votes to make it.
As Golden Revolver continued to gain popularity, San Cisco performed at numerous festivals throughout 2011, such as Adelaide's Fuse Festival, BIGSOUND in Brisbane, the Melbourne, Victoria leg of the St Jerome's Laneway Festival, the Pyramid Rock Festival on Victoria's Phillip Island, Peats Ridge Festival in New South Wales' Glenworth Valley, and the Western Australian stops of the Big Day Out and the Groovin' the Moo festivals. The band has also supported established Australian acts, such as The Grates, Jebediah and Architecture in Helsinki, and made appearances on the Australian version of BalconyTV (filmed in Brisbane, Queensland) and 3 News.
Prior to the release of its debut album, the band completed its first European tour in October 2012 and appeared at the CMJ Festival that is held in New York City, US. Writing for the Bullett website, Luke O'Neil presented the band's CMJ showcase in a positive light:
Better off not planning to do anything and hope you accidentally stumble across something you didn't know you wanted to see and avoid disappointment. That's what happened last night ... I found an Australian band called San Cisco playing, and against all odds, their breezy indie charms--something of a cross between Vampire Weekend and Arctic Monkeys, put the first smile on my face of the night.
On 16 July 2013, the band began a headlinging North American tour in Boston, MA with opening acts Supercute! and Smallpools. The tour consisted of 18 concerts in American and Canadian cities.
In anticipation of the UK release of their self-titled album, the band began their UK tour on 19 August 2013 in Southampton at the Joiners venue. The album was released on 7 October 2013 and the final date of the tour was 17 October in London.
To promote the release of their third album 'The Water', the band commenced one of their biggest Australian tours on the 18th May 2017. Visiting 21 shows in 46 days, guitarist Josh Biondillo said ahead of the tour: "Yeah it's definitely a big one. I think it will be a good reintroduction to the fans and the crowd. The whole thing, I think, for me, is a lot more mature. Even though we're still doing the silly stuff that we've always done, but hopefully in the tour [you'll see our] maturity as songwriters and performers." They played at the 2017 Splendour In The Grass festival.
The band has identified MGMT, The Flaming Lips and Vampire Weekend as influences on its songwriting and, as of January 2011, Stevens worked in a record store, a connection that the band members have explained "creates new influences and ideas, which we can apply to our own music."
Stevens is responsible for the backing vocals on the Bob Evans (Kevin Mitchell, of Jebediah fame) song "Go", from his fourth album Familiar Stranger. She performed vocals on the single version of Australian rapper Illy's song Tightrope .
She is the drummer for the Ghetto Crystals, a new post-grunge project featuring her and guitarist/vocalist Doug May (formerly of Abbe May).
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
|"Golden Revolver"||2010||--||--||--||--||Golden Revolver EP|
|"Girls Do Cry"||--||--||--||--|
|"Wild Things"||57||7||--||--||San Cisco|
|"Too Much Time Together"||2015||98||7||--||--|
|"B Side"||2016||--||--||--||--||Non-album single|
|"Hey, Did I Do You Wrong?"||2017||--||--||--||--|
|"--" denotes single that did not chart or was not released.|