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Throughout their illustrious ten-year career, indie-pop three-piece San Cisco have been showering their deep dark lyrics over sparkly fun pop music and quickly becoming one of Australia’s most loved independent artists. With four studio albums under their belt, and having now travelled and toured the world visiting festivals such as Splendour In The Grass, Lollapalooza, Reading & Leeds, San Cisco are now happily based at home in Fremantle, Perth. 

Renowned for their energetic and ecstatic live shows, dream pop songs and iconic music videos. San Cisco shared with us some insight into the creative friendships that have made it all possible, as well as the devotion to creative practice that is perhaps less romanticised but more essential for the birthing of new work. 

There’s no better place than home to conjure new songs for the road and with album five, Under The Light on its way in 2024, we spoke to them about the importance of keeping up a consistent creative practice, deciphering dreams, and songwriting as catharsis and therapy.

The new San Cisco album ‘Under The Light’ is out now! Listen to it here.


Many of your songs are very relational; the lyrics reference romance and friendship a lot. Can you tell us a story about your friendship as a band that we don’t know?

It has been said that Scarlett and I have a sibling like relationship and as my biological sister knows too well I have a terrible habit of being a ‘button pusher’. It's not something I’m proud of, but I've always done it. Even when I consciously try not to do it, I still do. Unfortunately, in the early stages of our life as a band, Scarlett was far too often on the receiving end of this behaviour. I have recently acquired a large amount of shame and guilt around this fact. We were just kids far away from home, and the last thing she needed was to be stuck in a van with her little shit of a bandmate revving her up to a point of complete frustration and fury. Its a real testament to Scarletts strength to have dealt with me for so long haha


You originally formed in Fremantle, but where is home for you now? And do you feel like home is more connected to place or people? 

We all still live in Freo. I live with my partner, Olivia, in a 1960s two-toned brick Italian-style house. Josh lives next door in a similar abode, and Scarlett is in a beach shack kinda place from a similar era around the corner. I’m not sure if it is a product of our character or the quality of life here, but to my knowledge, none of us has had a powerful urge to move away. We’ve been lucky enough to travel a fair amount with San Cisco, but I've never actually “lived” anywhere else for an extended period of time. Instinctually, I would say the people and the place are equally important to evoke the feeling of home, but then again, I've never put that theory to the test. If I had to pick one, I think it would be people. I feel meaningful relationships are the most valuable thing in this life. We are herd animals, after all.


We are, of course, familiar with your track ‘When I Dream,’ and are curious to know what you're dreaming of now?

If you mean dreaming as in aspirations, I'm feeling a strong urge to make some music that isn’t for anything in particular. I'm sure a San Cisco song will appear somewhere along the line, but I want to play around without expectations and hone some different skills, almost treat it like a creative exercise. In terms of actual dreams, I've only recently started to remember mine, and I've been finding it very interesting to try and decipher their subconscious meanings. Earlier this year, I read a book Scarlett recommended to me called 'Love's Executioner.' The author is a psychiatrist that, among many different techniques, analyses the patients' dreams as a porthole into their psyche to try to help them through their struggles.


Where do you do most of your songwriting?

In my living room.

What rituals do you do at home that support your creative process?

My biggest takeaway from the writing process for 'Under The Light' was to do my best work; I needed to be consistent in my practice. In the past, I've had the belief that letting the inspiration fall on me was the natural way for songs to be born, this has some merit to it but ultimately its just a bit lazy. I developed quite an extensive program that I have been following, and I’v ended up really enjoying the routine. My day includes Physical exercise, meditation, journaling, and a minimum of 1hr devoted to writing something new. It takes me a good week or two of writing until I start coming up with anything worth showing anyone.


Is making music therapeutic for you?

Songwriting has always been a form of therapy for me. I think that’s why I started writing songs in the first place. On the other hand, when I’m under pressure and nothing good is coming out, it can also be the reason I go to therapy.



You tread such a fine line between melancholy and lots of upbeat fun; is that a state of being or something you conjure in the catharsis of songwriting?

I’ve never really thought about it like that, but yes, I do feel like light and dark in life are never too far away from one another. One can’t exist without the other. Life is full of contrast and juxtaposition, and I love to have that in pop music. On a more practical level, I don’t really feel compelled to write a song when I’m feeling great; it's more something I do when I have something inside me I need to get out. Those deeper, darker lyrics are often met with some sparkly pop music, and then a San Cisco song is born.


What is your favourite show you have ever played and why?

That’s hard; there have been so many favourite moments!! I think the most recent favourite was last December in Perth. It was the last night of our tour, so we were feeling really comfortable with the show. We had also put a lot of work into the sound and visuals; the crowd was big, and all our friends and family were able to come, and they had their own special platform to watch us from. It was nerve-racking to play in front of the people that mean the most to us, but I feel so often our job as a band seems so ambiguous, and a show like that really demonstrates what we are trying to achieve.



You’ve made a lot of great videos; is there a filmmaker that you love or would love to collaborate with?

We made three videos last year with director Levi Cranston. Not only has he become a dear friend of the bands, but he is a real talent to work with. His passion and vision are contagious and inspiring to witness. He rallies a professional and lovely team that is also great to work with. Fuck this just sounds like a letter of recommendation but i’m smitten with the bastard. It may be my monogamous tendencies, but I’d really just like to keep making clips with him.


Who are you listening to at the moment?

Dijon on repeat.


What’s next, what are you looking forward to?

Life is feeling a little different and new this year for some reason; I can’t quite put my finger on it. I'm looking forward to seeing how it all turns out because I really have no idea what direction it's gonna head in.


The new San Cisco album ‘Under The Light’ is released on the 1st March.

Photography by Olivia Senior


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