Indie-pop darlings San Cisco have had a massive year, and it’s still far from over. As well as releasing their third studio album, The Water, the four-piece embarked on a tour of North America and Europe while squeezing in some Australian dates. The last part of this year will see them take to the stage at Handpicked Festival alongside names including Matt Corby, Jet, and The Jezabels.
We caught up for a chat with drummer and vocalist Scarlett Stevens to reflect on the band’s enormous year; have a read and get keen for Handpicked, where you can catch the band’s shimmering poppy vibes in the flesh.
You’ve just come off the back of a huge tour of North America and Europe, as well as a national tour and some festival slots earlier this year. How do you stay motivated with such a busy schedule?
I think it’s easy to stay motivated when you’re busy, it’s always harder coming off a break and having to get back into the motions of being on the road. Thankfully this year hasn’t been too jam-packed, we’ve all snuck in a holiday somewhere in between tours and are already thinking about recording the next album.
What have been some of the highlights from this year’s jam-packed touring itinerary?
Going back to Mexico City was a real highlight. We have an amazing fanbase there. It was such a buzz going back after two years and getting to play our own headline show. Getting to travel around America on a bus with our buddies from Wooing was also heaps of fun!
‘The Distance’ is one of the strongest tracks off your latest album that offers a unique take on your established sound. What was the musical inspiration behind the synth-heavy, psychedelic vibe on this single?
I think we were listening to a bit of disco and French electronic stuff around the making of the album. That’s kind of where the inspiration for the drums and bass parts came from. We were revisiting stuff like Phoenix, Electic Light Orchestra, Daft Punk, and Nile Rodgers.
What’s your personal favourite off the album, and why?
I like ‘The Distance’ and ‘The Water’. I think ‘The Distance’ works because we still sound like our poppy selves, just with more synths and electronic sounds added into the songwriting. This track came together really neatly. For me the falsetto is what makes it and the corny but very innocent lyrics.
The Water feels like the most mature and established insight into your easygoing, glimmering indie-pop sound. How are you feeling about the album now that a few months have passed since its release?
I think we’re all very proud of this release and it was a big learning curve for us, making the album in the studio and writing as we went along. There’s definitely something special about an idea being recorded as it comes to you for the first time but it can be pretty gruelling too, and you can get stuck on lyric or sound for hours without getting anywhere. It got easier but the end of the recording period which made us realise that songwriting’s like a muscle that has to be constantly be worked or you lose the ability to do it well.
What can we expect from San Cisco in the future?
Hopefully more touring and festival slots, another album in the not too distant future…
What artists are on your must-see list at your upcoming festival slots at Handpicked and Spilt Milk?
We did GTM with Matt Corby in 2012 so it will be nice to share the lineup again at Handpicked. Spilt Milk should be heaps of fun… I’m really excited to see Lorde, Cashmere Cat and Mallrat.
What can Australian audiences expect from your sets?
Australian audiences can expect a good rock concert from us. And lots of poppy singalongs!
San Cisco will perform at Handpicked Festival on November 11. You can purchase your tickets here.