SAN CISCO Something in the water

Ahead of a month long tour starting today in support of new album The Water, San Cisco’s Jordi Davieson spoke to JOSEPH WILSON about the band’s non-stop recording cycle, staying local, and collaborations. The tour finishes with a WA leg at the Prince of Wales, Bunbury on June 29, Settlers Tavern, Margaret River on June 30, the Astor Theatre on July 1 and a second all ages show at the Astor on July 2,

How busy has the band been?

The last six months have been pretty hectic, when we were writing there was a real up and down, when we were in the studio it would be very intense and long days. Then we would be out of the studio and have all this time and it would be very relaxing. It would be really hard for our friends to keep up with us and the program that we are running.

So did you guys just go straight back into the studio after the last tour?

We went back in yes. When we finished touring we wanted to just get straight back in there, we didn’t want to leave as big as a gap as we did for our last record.

What made the band decide not to take that break?

I think we were just pretty excited to make some more music and also very aware of keeping the momentum up. I think in the music industry and where we are at it is important to keep your momentum up, keep you fans engaged and keep radio stations engaged. It’s how quickly the music turns over these days. I don’t think you have the choice to take your time and do it when you’re ready. You need to be on top of it and busy.

How does it differ from the more standard recording cycle? Is it easier to get back into music making?

That’s the other thing, when I find you completely separate music and everything and getting back into that creative side it’s really hard. It’s not easy when it’s a constant flow of live shows and creating music.

Do you think that is something that is changing with a lot of Australian bands – constantly doing a continuous recording cycle? Is that gaining traction across the music scene?

I think so. I think you have to. I think as a band… a lot of Australian bands do need to keep their head above water. You need to keep constantly growing and moving and working on things, you haven’t got a chance. Unless you’re huge, unless you’re like Tame Impala maybe you may have a chance to take some time off and live overseas and probably write for other people for a little bit. As a band of our calibre I think we need to be pretty engaged with what’s going on and keep releasing things and putting shows on and staying relevant. 

Is the idea of “R & R” a bit foreign to San Cisco right now?

Kind of, it feels like it (laughs).

Since the release of the band’s first EP Golden Revolver up until the release of your latest album The Water – how far do you feel the band has come?

Pretty far – I feel a lot has happened, in the band and personally in our lives and it’s been a long time. It’s been seven years, of course things do change. I haven’t done it recently but I remember listening back to old songs and just taking me back to where I was then and that’s when I realised how much I have changed and how the band’s dynamic has changed – everything, a massive change.

Do you think the band is a little older and wiser?

Absolutely, we’ve done a lot of stuff since Awkward. That song is the one that changed us the most and gave us the most opportunities to travel and that kicked us off as a band.

You talk about a lot of change from that one song – as a band you guys seem to hang around Fremantle still though, how does that feel being both simultaneously local and national as a band?

In that sense of things, that hasn’t changed. We’ve moved out of home, but we still live within Fremantle. I think we will always live in Freo, unless we move internationally to America or something – that’d be cool. In that sense I mean we are still pretty true to what we’re into and what we were doing before our band got traction in terms of who we actually are as individuals and just growing and turning into adults.

We didn’t really see a reason to move, we love where we live and we’ve seen a lot of bands move from Perth to Melbourne or Perth to Sydney and hoping once they get in the scene they will get picked up and get noticed. But it rarely works like that because there are that many bands over in Sydney and Melbourne doing the same thing.

I feel if you want to make it in Australia it doesn’t really matter where you’re living, with the internet and the way people share music and the way we can travel around so easily, if you can’t make it nationally in Australia I don’t think moving really helps. I might be wrong.

When a lot of bands move over they do change – the sound across your albums is very consistent, would you attribute staying local as band to supporting that consistency?

No. I don’t think so. I think that’s more about us as artists and what we like about music; we dance in a room together (and) each of our influences settles somewhere in the middle to make San Cisco.

Was the approach to the production of The Water different from other albums?

It was a lot more collaborative, it wasn’t as much writing a song and turning it into a San Cisco track. We were building songs up from a riff or a chorus or not much, and we would start from scratch. In the studio we hadn’t done that before, it made for a very conducive record. It all sits nicely and works together because it works to a very similar time period; songs are written in a very similar fashion. But the tracks contrast enough amongst each other to make an interesting record.

Do you think the band will use this new collaborative approach looking forward?

I don’t know. It’s really stressful and hard doing it like that. I think we will still do that for some songs and knowing that we can do it is a really good thing. But in the future I think I would like to have a bit more material to go in to work off. Just coming up with so much on the spot is really taxing on your soul and your brain, trying to come up with songs on the spot all the time. It’ll be good to have a little bit of ammo.

Does touring help you get more ammo and get the inspiration going again?

I think it will. I never really know how a record has gone. As far as I am concerned I don’t really know how people received it. People just see me and are like “it’s really good well done” and they are all my friends. You don’t really know until you play live shows and that’s why I am really looking forward to seeing how it went and then from there it’ll push us to do the next one.

Are tours a way of fine-tuning the next release?

Kind of, there is an element of that, but just wanting to know if you can still write a song that connects with people – that’s a big one.

Are you pumped for the upcoming tour?

I am, I am quite excited. We are at Badlands right now, for two days of production rehearsals. Getting the whole crew in, getting the show set up: lighting, making a nice rock show. I will definitely feel a lot better when we play our first show.

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