Jordi Davieson has known Scarlett Stevens since he was a toddler. Their parents are friends and they grew up together in the coastal town of Fremantle, Australia – just south of Perth on the country’s west coast.
“There’s a photo of Scarlett and me and I’m still in my nappies,” the San Cisco singer-guitarist recalled. “Scarlett is pushing me around in a wheelbarrow or something.”
So it may come as a surprise that the lyrics to “Awkward,” a song about uncomfortable communications between a boy and his crush – off the band’s E.P. of the same name, and sung by the duo – has nothing to do with their actual relationship. Davieson and Stevens, San Cisco’s drummer-vocalist, likely haven’t shared many tongue-tied moments.
“It’s completely fictionalized; we never really sought each other – unfortunately,” Davieson snickered. “We started writing it because Scarlett thought this random guy was stalking her.”
That song has carried San Cisco to the United States for their first headlining tour. The quartet, which includes guitarist Josh Biondillo and bassist Nick Gardner, perform at Popscene Thursday evening at the Rickshaw Stop.
While Davieson and Stevens – the daughter of Jarrah Records founder Phil Stevens – have known each other since they were young children, the band came together after Davieson met the other two boys in high school. They bonded over a passion not only for music, but skateboarding and the water.
“We would go jumping off the dock together, or go to the beach,” Davieson said.
They began to play together in 2009 under the name King George, mixing garage pop with synthesizers and Afropop. The band cited MGMT, the Flaming Lips and Vampire Weekend as influences on songwriting.
Besides “Awkward,” the band has written several other catchy tunes such as the meditative “Beach,” and sing-along “Rocket Ship.” Their debut full-length album will be released later this year.
The name change to San Cisco came after the four wanted to start fresh. So with the help of fans, friends and Facebook, a contest was held and the Bay Area-centric name was selected.
“We didn’t want a name with any preconceptions about it,” he said. “We also like the sound of the word and the way it looks. We never knew we were going to get to San Francisco and it was going to be weird.”
The quartet’s first time in San Francisco – and America – came in February, with an opening slot for London’s the Vaccines. Davieson’s first impression was favorable – “It’s close to the ocean,” like home.
San Cisco’s return to the U.S. is a different sort of challenge, especially in cities they have yet to play.
“I think I’ve really prepared myself for the worst, because it’s really different from a headlining tour back home,” Davieson said. “The first show, last night in Boston, was surprisingly good. The crowd was there and was really into it. Places like New York and San Fran, Minneapolis…I know those shows are going to be really fun. The ones in-between might be a little more quiet.”
So the band plans to meet as many people as possible and build a fan base.
“You got to put the work in to that,” he said.