Rising to notability with “that stalker song”, San Cisco initially formed in the wake of high school graduation. It was not long after formation that the indie pop/rock foursome Jordi, Josh, Scarlett, and Nick soon found themselves unwittingly defining hipster culture with the video for their breakout hit “Awkward.” San Cisco’s sophomore album Gracetown debuted at #2 on the ARIA charts and earnt them a place on Triple J’s Hottest 100 two years running with the station naming it in the top ten of their favourite albums for 2015. Touring the globe extensively in support of the massive release saw the band out on the road for the better part of the following two years. Now back to release their third LP The Water, San Cisco has just come off of a 20 date tour in support of the new release. We took some time to chat to drummer/vocalist Scarlett Stevens to ask her about all things music business and band related. This is San Cisco’s Savvy Seven.
Who was your first musical inspiration and why?
I think it was a combo of Meg White from The White Stripes, Tara Reid (playing the drummer in Josie and the Pussycats) and the Spice Girls that made me want to be a musician. I’ve got so many musical heroes, male and female, but I think seeing other women playing was crucial in getting me to pick up an instrument.
What advice do you have for someone who is planning and setting off on their first tour?
Surround yourself with people who have your back (feeling supported is so important) and most importantly people who you will have fun with. Sometimes it’s hard to quantify the success of a tour but if you walk away with great memories then that counts for everything.
What has been one of your most defining moments in your career?
When the Madden brothers tweeted about us after the ARIAS one year.
How has your music practice changed over time?
I guess we all practice less because touring and writing takes up most of our time. We almost never jam these days. Most of the songs off Gracetown and The Water were written and recorded in the studio and the process has become a lot more collaborative. We tend to do most of our practice before a big tour. We spent three weeks learning the songs off the Water and put a lot of thought into the live show from a performance and production point of view.
My top business tip for new artists is…
I think making great contacts especially with other musicians and people in the industry is invaluable. Get behind bands you like, form friendships, ask for advice, be a part of a community, don’t diss other bands. Support other artists.
My biggest career mistake has been…
I don’t really believe in regrets or mistakes. It’s all about learning. I’ve learnt to stand up for myself and stand my ground but that it’s also okay to be vulnerable.
In my opinion, the most important issue facing the music industry is…
Sexism and misogyny. It’s a very real and nasty side of this industry and it manifests in so many ways… the gender pay gap, sexual harassment in venues, unequal representation of female artists on lineups, the list goes on. I had never really experienced sexism until I started working in the music industry. I think there’s more awareness around these issues now compared to when I first started touring. The landscape is changing but there is still so much work to be done. I think listening is the first step in making much needed progress.
Photo Credit Ebony Talijancich
Purchase tickets for their national tour HERE