Scarlett Stevens of San Cisco

Scarlett Stevens of San Cisco,  Photo by Lisa BusinovskiHi MD. My name is Scarlett Stevens and I’m from Fremantle, Western Australia. I have been playing drums since I was ten years old, but it wasn’t until this year that I made drumming my full-time focus.

I started a band at ten with a couple of friends who lived nearby and who played guitar. We became the Flairz and played gigs around WA in between school commitments and our other hobbies. We even made it to SXSW! At the end of high school we parted ways, and I started jamming with other musicians around the same age. I was asked to play on a friend’s recording, which led us to form the band I currently perform with, San Cisco.

My initial introduction to the drums happened by chance. My parents have always been involved in the local music scene, even though neither of them is a musician. My dad manages an artist named John Butler, and it was at a friendly barbecue where I met Jack Johnson’s drummer, Adam Topol. I was mucking around on a kit when Adam came over and showed me how to play a basic rock beat. After that he invited me to perform onstage for one song at the Forum Theatre in Melbourne and then again at Bonnaroo Festival the following year. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be in a band, and I’d finally found my instrument. My parents allowed me to take drum lessons back home, under the condition that I continued to study piano.

When it comes to working on new material with San Cisco, I always ask myself, “What would be best for this song”? I’m not the kind of drummer that wants the spotlight on me. I’d rather groove along to a song and be the backbone—that’s so important to me. I can’t stand the thought of doing a drum solo, and I’m not interested in watching other drummers do them either (there are some exceptions of course). I’m totally inspired by other female drummers, like Cindy Blackman, Chloe Saavedra (Chaos Chaos), and Anna Prior (Metronomy). Girl drummers are fascinating to watch because their playing is generally charged with a mixture of rebellion and intuition.

My drumming style is pretty relaxed. I don’t play with shoes because I can’t find any that are comfortable enough to play in!

Singing and drumming has been a really exciting and new challenge for me in the last couple of years. I resisted it at first, but I now believe it is one of the strong aspects of what San Cisco does as a band and has become a large part of our identity as an indie-pop outfit.

To watch our “Fred Astaire” video, click here or look after the jump. To listen to our song “Awkward,” click here, and to see a cover of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” click here or look below.


For more on the band, visit

Photo by Lisa Businovski


  1. Andy Cantu

    such an amazing girl! so glad to hear her story! love you Scarlett! you make me want to drum and be a girl drummer just like yourself!

    • Scott Scoville

      I am no expert but I have a sense for greatness when I see it. I am fascinated by Scarlett’s drumming. I don’t know enough to say for sure she is exceptional, but until I saw her do it, drumming was just drumming to me. I wasn’t sure my impression wasn’t affected by her personality and presence, but hey, a big component of the Beatles’ greatness was their presence and style – even though they were exceptionally gifted composers. But no, I think it’s her drumming itself that fascinates me. I wish San Cisco videos would show more of it. I keep asking everyone if it’s just me, or is this girl’s drumming really exceptional?

  2. Gerald Englebretsen

    It wasn’t until I saw (and incredibly lucky to do so, together in one place) Chaos Chaos and San Sisco play one night at The Republic in Hobart, Australia that I actually realised that the drums are ‘played’ – somehow I had always thought of them as some kind of incidental accompaniment responsible for ‘the beat’. Dismissive I know, but it is not until you see a *good* drummer that you revise your viewpoint. AND Chloe and Scarlett would have to be some of the best female drummers out there. I would rope in one other too – Amy from Stonefield. In this review Scarlett is just too humble. If you have seen their clip of Get Lucky played one day on Triple J’s (Australia) ‘Like a Version’ show, you will know from the bongos and her drum cut in, that the tune is completely hung together on her drum part – and perhaps Jordi’s superb vocal. It is the best version out there by far.
    Discover this group and follow them!

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