AN AWKWARD CHAT WITH SAN CISCO
Words: Louisa Wright
Have you noticed recently that there are a lot more people wandering around singing da-da-da-da-da-da-da-daaa? No? Well, you probably will after reading our interview with one of the four brains behind that brawny tune. SPOOK got some time with San Cisco drummer Scarlett Stevens to catch up on the band’s past, present, future and that one little track that seems to have planted them firmly on the indie-pop map.
SPOOK: Hi Scarlett, how are you?
Scarlett: Good thanks, how are you?
SPOOK: Good thank you. First of all, congratulations on Awkward getting number 7 in the Hottest 100!
Scarlett: Thanks! It’s so weird; we just didn’t see it coming. We’re pretty stoked about it.
SPOOK: Was Awkward based on a real life experience?
Scarlett: No, it’s completely made up. It was kind of improvised; we came up with it in the studio and we played the song to our producer. He didn’t really like it and neither did we so he was like, “Let’s come up with a new song altogether.” The only idea we had was that he wanted a girl/boy vocal thing happening and that’s what we set out to achieve.
SPOOK: What can you tell us about the video clip you guys did for it?
Scarlett: We had a few ideas for the clip but we didn’t have a lot of time on our hands because Jordi was doing his year 12 exams. So we had to squeeze in one night where we could all do it and I think we just liked the idea of the simple white backdrop. So we went to the studio in Perth and we had a director called Andrew Nowrogee and he kind of came up with the concept with the colours, the reds and muted maroons blues, and we actually planned to have a horse in it but that didn’t work out. We got the horse to the studio but it was really scared (laughs). And the dog is my pet.
SPOOK: How did San Cisco come together?
Scarlett: Jordi, Nick and Josh went to school together and I’d known Jordi since I was little. Jordi and I had both been playing in bands and then he went solo and wanted a band to play on some recording time he’d won, so he got his friends together and that’s how it all started.
SPOOK: And where did the name come from?
Scarlett: We just wanted something that didn’t really have any meaning to it, any sentimental meaning; it could just kind of morph into our playing style.
SPOOK: Who have been your influences for the EPs that you’ve done?
Scarlett: I think for the Awkward EP we were listening to a lot of MGMT, Flaming Lips, Metronomy. This EP that we’re recording at the moment, I think we’re been listening to a lot of Smith Westerns, more punk stuff, so it’ll be a bit less poppy.
SPOOK: Do you know when you’ll be putting out an album?
Scarlett: Well, we’re kind of in the middle of deciding whether we want this recording time we’re doing at the moment to morph into an album or an EP. We’re kind of aiming towards it turning into an album but it could just be another EP.
SPOOK: How do you go about writing songs?
Scarlett: Lately Jordi’s been doing pretty much all the lyrics, Josh usually comes up with a melody and a guitar part and then Nick and I add our parts and then we all help with the structure of the song. It’s very collaborative.
SPOOK: You play the drums, how’d you get into that?
Scarlett: I started when I was about ten. I went to a family friend’s barbecue and they had a drum kit there and I just had a go on the kit and I really liked it and I asked mum and dad if I could get lessons.
SPOOK: Is it hard to sing and play drums at the same time?
Scarlett: Yeah! It kind of is but I think I’m getting better at it. I struggled to sing awkward on the drums at first because it’s quite fast, but yeah, practice has made it better.
SPOOK: What’s coming up for San Cisco this year?
Scarlett: Well, we’re launching our EP, so that’ll be a big thing for us. Then we’re continuing the tour with The Jungle Giants, which is a national tour, that’ll be fun. It started in Tasmania and then we went back to our hometowns and now it’s kicked off again this week in Melbourne, and then we’ll go to Brisbane and Sydney and Byron Bay and tour the rest of the country. We’ll hopefully release something in July, if it’s an EP it will be released in July, if it turns into an album it will probably be the end of the year.
SPOOK: If you could play with any band/artist who would it be?
Scarlett: Jordi says Kanye West. I don’t know, maybe The Strokes? Probably someone in America. We seem to like a lot of American bands.
San Cisco’s debut EP Awkward is out now through Island City Records.