San Cisco are afraid of one thing: people saying they’re cute. Yet… they’re not the kind of band to start biting the heads off bats onstage. Radar meet them the morning after their first New York show, supporting Local Natives at the Bowery Ballroom.
“Our songs are not super-deep,” says their drummer Scarlett, dressed in a pastel pink jumpsuit. Whether deep or not, the jangly guitars and ooh-las that make up the pop songs on their debut album have been securing them plaudits.
In fact, in their native Australia, San Cisco (no reference to San Francisco, or Sisqo) have been hotly tipped since the release of their first EP ‘Revolver’ in 2011. That EP’s lead single, ‘Golden Revolver’, came with a Super 8-style video that channelled Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, the foursome smearing their faces in camouflage paint and clambering aboard a raft in a sunny creek. The idyllic setting isn’t too far from the truth – since high school, Scarlett Stevens, Jordi Davieson, Josh Biondillo and Nick Garner have been rehearsing at each other’s houses in the pretty coastal town of Fremantle in Western Australia.
Even before high school, however, they all played in various “kid bands”. Guitarist Josh clarifies, “All the kid bands in Perth used to come together once a year for the Garage Kids Ball. But Scarlett’s band was the king of the kid bands.” Scarlett was drumming in a garage rock band called The Flairz when she was 10, encouraged by her dad, who runs a record label in Australia.
Graduating from their own groups, the newly formed quartet soon found themselves a niche making lo-fi pop. And it paid off. Influential Aussie radio station Triple J gave them the 2011 award for best new music, and their single, ‘Awkward’, climbed to the dizzy heights of Number Seven on the station’s hottest singles of 2011. So, what do they think is it about their songs that’s captured people?
Jordi, whose baby face is already plastered all over a million teenage Tumblrs, explains, “I think of our songs as capturing someone’s memory.” To which Scarlett retorts, “That’s just music in general!”
“Well, I want someone to be having a moment,” Jordi replies, a little indignantly. So far, San Cisco, so cute.
Words: Hazel Sheffield
Based: Fremantle, Perth, Australia
For Fans Of: My Tiger My Timing, Vampire Weekend
Buy It Now: Debut album ‘San Cisco’ out Nov 23 on Columbia
See Them Live: In the UK next year (dates TBA)
Believe It Or Not: Guitarist Josh was on the Olympic shortlist for gymnastics