San Cisco are livin the dream

Nick Sas
Good times: Josh Biondillo, Nick Gardner, Scarlett Stevens and Jordi Davieson. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

It is a charmed existence - and this group of early twenty-somethings from Fremantle know it.

They are pop group San Cisco, one of Australia's most popular bands.

The band released their second album Gracetown to rave reviews last week before hopping on a jet to travel to the US where they will play sold-out gigs in Los Angeles and New York. They will then go on a promotional tour of Europe and Mexico.

San Cisco regularly play to 3000-strong audiences on their shows across the US and have an Australia-wide tour starting next month.

In a profession where many scrape by, San Cisco earn enough to live comfortably as full-time musicians.

"We're very lucky," lead singer Jordi Davieson, 21, says of the band while sitting at a Fremantle cafe close to their rehearsal studio, which is owned by John Butler.

"We've been very fortunate, it's fun what we do. It's like a really long gap year."

Bass player Nick Gardner interjects, smiling.

"But we really can't do anything else," drummer Scarlett Stevens adds. "There's not really time to study or have a day job. It's a privileged position to be in. We're livin' the dream."

Things were derailed slightly when Gardner, metaphorically and literally, shot himself in the foot in a "freak accident" at a mate's farm recently. He will miss the US and Mexico tour dates.

San Cisco have experienced the type of success in their teens that most musicians do not experience in their lifetimes.

Part of their success is down to the savvy business decisions of Scarlett's father and band manager Phil Stevens, who also manages Butler and The Waifs. Plus, they're good. They know how to do a pop song, as shown by their 2012 track Awkward.

It was picked up by Vodafone in an advertising campaign, making hundreds of thousands of dollars, and has been viewed more than seven million times on YouTube.

San Cisco have 180,000 Facebook "friends" and many more across other social media forums.

Though they admit they are not that "tech savvy", they are products of the social media age and it has played a big part in the band's career. In an interesting case of how the music business has changed - and how important social media has become - Facebook analytics have helped shape their tour schedule.

"On Facebook, you can see where your fan base is," Davieson says. "For us, it's 40 to 50 per Australian, the next is Mexico at 30 per cent.

"They comment on everything we do saying, 'Come to Mexico'.

"So we put out a thing on Facebook, asking where we can play if we went there.

"A few days later we were contacted by a festival to play.

"I think (Led Zeppelin's) Robert Plant is playing at it as well."

Spending an hour or so with San Cisco, walking the streets of their hometown, is like being let into an exclusive gang.

Davieson, Gardner and multi-instrumentalist Josh Biondillo went to Fremantle's Christian Brothers College together. Stevens went to Iona Presentation College.

San Cisco's new album Gracetown, a homage to the South West town, is genre-hopping, good-time pop.

Biondillo says the band are proud of the album.

"I've never been so excited to put music out," he says.

Livin' the dream.