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It's a new era for San Cisco. The Fremantle band have released their fifth studio album and we've had it on repeat. Created in new environments, and leaning into collaboration more than previous projects, Under the Light sounds and feels like the ultimate San Cisco project, embodying the genuine essence of the band. There's an effortless flow to the tracks, an ease in their collaboration, as they explore upbeat, feel-good indie-pop production under thoughtful, emotionally-charged lyrics that explore adulthood and relationships. This is the full San Cisco experience. We spoke to Scarlett, Jordi and Josh from the band about creating the album:

I'm excited to be talking to you guys at this point, because I feel like this is very much your year and I've been listening to the album and it's so good and the visuals have been great. I'm just so excited for you. I feel like I already have my favourites from just listening to it so much, but they're evolving and changing and it just feels very like rich. It just feels very you. Do you remember when you had that moment where you first started creating this album? Was there a catalyst for this project?

Thank you! There was one session we did in early 2022 where we had the bones of Summer Days, Honeycomb…. Into My Heart, the last song in the album was one of them.

I love that one.

That was like our first writing period that was  like nothing we'd ever really done before. It was our first time working with James writing stuff from scratch. Then the next time we went in with like more fully formed songs as well as like working on those ideas.  But yeah, that's where,  yeah, you're right, that's where like Into My Heart, which was like one of the last songs we finished because we really just wanted to get another one across the line from that period as well as Summer Days.

What was it about that period that you think started everything?  

We were maybe a little bit lost after between you and me and was going out into uncharted territory and working with a new producer.  Our time with the previous producer just run its course and come to a natural end and we'd pretty much grown up working with him as well. We'd worked with him since 2010. So we were all really anxious to do something different, mix things up, mix up the songwriting process, mix up the recording process. So we had nothing to lose by experimenting and going out on a limb and doing something different.

How did you start working with James? Was that quite organic?

Yeah! We were finishing off [the previous album] Between You and Me, and we could never quite get On The Line right in those recording sessions. Then in the period of the time where we finished the record and actually released the record, we worked with James. Like the day before Covid was announced, we finished it. So that was like our introduction - obviously we all know James, we love James, but that was our first time really creating with him and it was really nice. It felt like, this is new and different.

So I know you guys created this album in studios and in kitchens and living rooms. Do you think you get something different from working in like those home environments and writing and creating there as opposed to in a studio?  

Yes. With this one we mostly did it in the house, just a little home studio that we’ve got here and there was something cool about it being so casual, and being able to like go to the lounge room if you need to get away for a moment. It's the first time we've ever really done something like that. In the past, it’s always just been in a studio, locked in - you go there and you don't really leave until the end of the day.  This time, it was nice just being so casual. Being cozy all the time.

Do you think you can hear that in the songs?

Yeah, by doing it at home meant that we were able to draw on our community which was like  Nick Allbrook, Jay Watson, all of our friends, being like, ‘Oh we did this thing in the studio on the weekend, what do you reckon about this?’ Being able to play it in the car… We were able to draw on all of those people. We would get up from the couch, do a vocal takes and that worked really well sometimes - a relaxed delivery. You can hear that.

You've been making music for a while. How have evolved to this point? Have you noticed something in this album or even in your relationship as a band that hasn't really shown itself yet in what you've made before?

Reflecting on the last album, there's a bit more collaboration between band members and not all of the load is on one person. It feels like more of a team effort. Even like this record, like a few times Scarlett went home and worked on lyrics. Which hadn't really been done before. The recording period enveloped our lives, it wasn't just at the studio, it was at home and it was everywhere, which was also painful sometimes, but It meant that we were always living it. What you said about how this record embodies genuine essence of San Cisco, that's what happens when it does become all encompassing like that. Also having James produce the record, he’s a musical wizard.

You mentioned Nick Allbrook of Pond - why he is the only feature on the album?  

When we were struggling with Summer Days, we thought Nick would bring something really great to the chorus. We met Nick and Jay at the pub and there was a sense of ease - not in the way that we’re doing this massive collaboration, it just happened organically. Even after recording that song, in the aftermath of the record, Nick wrote our bio for the record. He was a great sounding board for us to explain to him, like why we wrote this and why we were thinking about this. He’s such a creative person. And then also, Jay Watson gave us the demo for Under the Light after seeing him at the pub one day. And he said, ‘I've written this idea, it's like Fleetwood Mac-y, kind of San Cisco-y, I reckon you guys would like it’. So we just pulled into the session and did that. It's great to work with other musicians in the room. It's not something we've done much.

You guys have such a good community over there, which makes such a difference.  

We do, we're very lucky.

I mentioned the visuals earlier and would like to talk about them because they're so good. Did you guys have a clear vision of how this album would look, or was there anyone you worked with who was  instrumental in bringing it to life?

Levi Strauss Cranston was the director we worked with on three of the singles and he became an integral part of the visual side of the album, which was a relationship that we didn't foresee. Once again, it happened in this lovely organic nature. We had so much fun working with him on Lost Without You that we got him to do the clips for High and Summer Days. We loved his passion and charisma and drive and vision. The album cover was shot by Olivia Senior. We were actually really confused about what we wanted the artwork to look like and went round and round in circles for ages. We just kept coming back to that photo. We were looking for something timeless for the record cover, and that worked really well.

Are there any artists who you have heard or seen recently that you're excited about?

We really like Royel Otis. Just recently gone on a deep dive with them and they have a vibe.

Where is the best place for San Cisco fans to listen to the album in full?

Driving is always the best way to listen. Of course, the pub. Maybe ask your local pub to put it on.

Listen to Under the Light HERE.