Interview by Holly Ferguson
With the Fremantle four-piece San Cisco coming up to the end of their Australian tour, I spoke with the band’s singer Jordi Davieson about all things tour, The Water, vocal chords and shoeys!
How does it feel to be near the end of your Australian tour and have it end in Perth?
It’s really good because we’ve got the next two weeks off and then we’ve got our Perth shows, so it’s been really good to come home and touch base again and do a little bit of writing, play a few more shows and get in the right head space.
What’s it like performing your new album, The Water? Are you enjoying it?
It’s really fun! The whole tour has been really good because we’ve got a really good crew behind us and we’ve put a lot of work into the pre-production of the live show and lot of rehearsals. It’s made for a really pleasant touring experience.
Do you have a favourite song to play?
I like playing ‘Did You Get What You Came For’ because it’s probably one of the most challenging songs. I’ve got to do guitar riffs and a few singing parts, there’s a lot of different aspects to it. I have to be thinking a lot more rather than just playing it.
In creating your last album Gracetown you guys did a lot of writing on tour, did that happen with The Water too?
We didn’t really because when we released Gracetown we toured so much and we didn’t do a lot of writing because it was so intense. Then we came home and a had a little break and did all of our writing in the studio. The Water was pretty much all written in the studio, a little bit was written in our break, but the majority of it was all done at the same time.
How do you get into the headspace to write in the studio? Do you find it easy to get inspiration there?
I think you’ve got to collect the inspiration over a long space of time and write down ideas, notice things and work on concepts. That makes the actual creating of the song a lot easier instead of sitting in a room and looking for inspiration. So if you have all these ideas banked up it makes the song writing process a lot easier.
With Gracetown you recorded in lots of different places, like a toilet on ‘Skool’. Did you have any interesting recording spots on The Water?
We recorded the drums for one of the songs in a massive stairwell and some of the vocals. But the majority of it was recorded and written in a studio in Freemantle. We had this way of doing it where we had two studios set up, we turned the drum room into another little studio and we would rotate. I’d be working on one song out in the live room with vocals and arrangement and Josh would be working on another song in the drum room on guitar parts and musical things. Once we both hit a brick wall we would swap them over so there would be fresh ears. That’s how we wrote a few songs in a short amount of time because we were both writing at the same time.
When you did the swap overs were there any points where you thought ‘what is this person doing?’ Or were you on the same page?
That stuff happens all the time. But then sometimes it doesn’t. I’d hear something that Josh had been working on and I’d be like ‘Wow, I would of not thought to do that, that is perfect.’ And there would be times where you’d be like ‘What!’ Sometimes when we get our mixes back from our producer Steven Schram, I’ll hear it for the first time and I’ll think ‘What is that? Is it even in tune, in time?’ And then after I’ve heard it for a few times I’ll think that it’s really good and fall in love with that part that he put in that I originally hated. They call it ‘demoitis’, where you get used to the demo tracks and someone changes it and you’re like ‘oh no! I like it the old way!’ That’s when you have to take a step back, take your ego out of it and have a good listen, and think is this what’s best for the song?
How do you view the progression of your sound, since the first EP to now?
I think that it’s a bit more mature because we’ve matured a bit. When we did our first EP we were in high school and then one thing lead to another and we travelled around the world, fell in love, did all sorts of things. And each time we sit down and do a musical effort that has a massive effect on it and what we write about changes, just like anything in life. It’s getting better, hopefully.
Do you get to go out much when you’re home?
I’ve been making a conscious effort to not go out too much and to look after myself. On tour it’s the same thing, it’s really annoying when you go to a city with a lot of friends and they want to go out but you’ve got another two, three shows to play and I can’t do that because I’ll lose my voice. I’ve had a real issue with my voice over the last twelve months and it’s just become good again and it’s been good this whole tour because I was not going out (and I was drinking vodka sodas).
That’s worrying when your voice is out, because that’s one of your key instruments. What do you do when that happens?
It was a nightmare. I had surgery; I was out of action for a while. I can talk about it for hours; I’ve become quite an expert on the topic of my voice. A lot of the time it’s got to do with really mild reflux like the acidic gasses, when you sleep, that come up and burn your vocal chords and they inflame, which is one thing that ruins your voice. The other thing is sinus congestion and then the other thing is talking really loudly and getting drunk and excited; as long as I don’t do those things my voice is usually pretty good.
That must be really scary to have that happen.
Yeah, it’s gnarly! At the beginning on the tour I was having nightmares and stuff about it. I’d wake up and think ‘oh no! I’ve lost my voice!’ Then I’d realise I hadn’t and I’d be like ‘it’s ok, I haven’t!’
What are you looking forward to on your international tours?
I’m just keen to get back to the states, we’ve haven’t been there for a while. It will just be a real change up from Australia, which is where we’ve been spending most of our time for the last two years.
Do you notice a difference with the vibe of the audience in each place you go to?
Yeah definitely. In America everyone is really polite, everyone will listen to your song quietly and applaud and then it will be dead quiet and then they’ll wait for you to start again. But when you’re in Australia the crowd volume doesn’t change when you’re playing a song to not playing a song. Europe is also very polite. You can always pick the Australian out in the crowd, yelling out ‘do a shoey!’
Do you encourage people to do shoeys at your concerts?
Not really, well they can do a shoey I don’t care. But I’m not going to do a shoey, I’ll just be burping the whole time and I’ve got to try and sing songs!
So after your tour what’s the plan?
I think we’re going to be doing just a bit of writing and make new music. We’re going to keep touring and playing festival shows. It’s a bit of an empty space what we’re going to do for the rest of the year.
Dircksey’s film editor (Zachary Sheridan) would like to know what is your favourite song to boogie to on the dancefloor?
That’s a hard one. Probably ‘Ignition’ by R.Kelly, it always goes off. A lot of OutKast, a good Beyoncé song, that sort of thing.
San Cisco have four shows left on their Australian tour:
Bunbury on Thursday 29th of June – Prince of Wales Hotel
Margaret River on Friday 30th of June- Settlers Tavern
Perth on Saturday 1st of July- Astor Theatre
Perth on Sunday the 2nd of July- Astor Theatre ALL AGES
Tickets & more information available here https://www.sancisco.com/pages/tours