Today we have a special Spotlight – Andrew Farriss. This legendary musician is mostly known for being a founding member in the band INXS. This popular Australian rock band saw success throughout the 80s all the way to the late 2010s. We got the chance to chat with Andrew about his recent music and his solo release EP Love Makes The World which is out now. Take a look at what Andrew had to say.
It must be fascinating having been in the scene for so long. You might be our spotlight artist with the most prolific career. For people who might not recognize your name as a solo artist, can you tell us who you are and how folks already know you?
My name is Andrew Farriss
Folks may (or may not) know me from my band INXS
I was the founding member of INXS and main song writer along with Michael Hutchence .
Recently I release a 5 track EP called Love Makes The World
I have a single out now called All Stars are Mine
AT times I have also worked as a record producer and song writer for other artists
You have been a powerhouse in the music scene for decades now, what are some of the more notable shifts and changes that you think have helped or hurt the music industry?
I have both observed and been involved with many changes within the music industry. I have been influenced musically by many prolific and incredibly talented musicians / writer’s past and present. The first band I saw was the Beatles in London in 1964. I have worked/performed and at times also written in 52 different countries and I am very fortunate to have done so. I think technology has changed music and helped music progress into the 21st century in many different ways and to be communicated around the world and across a variety of music genres. Technology has also enabled many people with little or no music education to access computer programs to make their own quality recordings, which is amazing! But unfortunately, most corporations exist to make money not art, and that often makes it harder for musicians and songwriters to make a living from music.
You are originally from Perth, Australia. What was it like growing up in such a small town like Perth, back in the 60s and then moving and travelling around the world?
As both my parents have passed away, my understanding is I was born 27-3-1959 on Cottesloe beach, Perth, western Australia in the hospital that the American’s built originally for American and Australian service men & women during ww2. As a child I was blessed with a good family experience and to grow up in Perth which was the most remote city geographically in the world possibly. When we were kids in the 60’s in Perth they played all different music genres on the AM radio stations back then, including country music and rock, pop, classical, jazz, etc. So, I think that influenced me right there as I thought all radio stations around the world did that same thing. It was only when I started to travel internationally that I realized how different, remote and huge western Australia actually was, for example its 3 times the size of Texas – USA.!.
Earlier this year, January 2020 you got inducted as a member of the order of Australia. What was that experience like?
I was overwhelmed at receiving such a significant honor as an Australian and also as I listened to the stories and achievements of others who had received similar awards at the time, both civilian and military, it was very moving. I fortunately shared the moment with my son Matthew and my daughter Josephine.
You recently released a new EP Love Makes the World. What made you decide to release a solo album?
Earlier during 2020 I had already released two tracks “come midnight “and “good momma bad “(both with dedicated videos on YouTube) from the “Andrew Farriss “LP. Then the pandemic kicked in around the world and as such the record label BMG – BBR (for r.o.w.) suggested I pause my album release due to the chaos caused by the pandemic (my LP will now be released march 19th 2021).
The 5 song EP concept “Love Makes The World “ was basically born by accident, as I took the concept idea of the EP and its 5 songs, and they liked it. The songs and inspiration on my are about:
- Tears in the rain
- (About nature – the environment)
- My Brother
- (About loss of a significant male figure in your life)
- Love Makes the World
- (About the cycle of life)
- All the Stars Are Mine
- (From an international perspective about embracing and recognizing that we are all the same but also different culturally, which is a beautiful part of our human journey)
- First Man on Earth
- (About us as biological humans and the increasing obsession we have with technology)
I have given it a listen, and it’s so hard to place it in a category, which is amazing. It is Country/folk/rock, all but neither. Can you tell us a little something about the style?
I am a fan of many music genres, including Country music, both Old school and Contemporary Country, folk, blues, rock, funk and some EDM. Perhaps my “Andrew Farriss Music” songwriting reflects that
I know you were heavily inspired by the Wild West, the Alamo, and that whole history and aesthetic. What makes that part of the worlds history just stick with you and inspire you?
To me its most inspirational when it’s about culture, not just US / Canada / Australia. I am a fairly voracious reader of many different cultures and history, including military history over time. Coincidentally many cultural similarities exist between the Wild West – USA and The Australian Bush Rangers and early settler experiences, including the difficulties faced by the first nations indigenous peoples of both the USA, Canada and Australia during the 19th century / early 20th.
For you what does releasing this album (despite the setbacks of 2020) mean to you as a person, but also as an artist?
Thank you to all those who are interested and who support my music. Be yourself and be true to what you believe in.
How has your process evolved over the years when it comes to putting together a track or even album?
When the train has left the station, be the first on the next train.
Back to your crazy touring days, what are some of the standout performances you have been part of while with INXS? Any hilarious tour stories you want to share?
Stand out? STAYING SANE! (well mostly 😂)
Incidentally, Perth has become a hotbed of cool contemporary Australian music. Tame Impala, Troye Sivan, San Cisco (though technically they are from Fremantle). Do you keep up with the local scene there, or the Australian music scene in general?
Go Sandgropers! Tame Impala, Troye Sivan, San Cisco, all cool acts. I Miss WA heaps! I usually go to WA at least once a year, but we are unable to travel Interstate / everywhere as I write this.
When not being a phenomenal musician, you also have a really fascinating personal life. Tell us about life on your farm. It is a cattle farm if I remember correctly.
I have owned a cattle and grains (when it rains) farm for some years now. Keeps my heads together and my feet on the ground. You can’t eat a smart phone.
Australia and North America have been experiencing very unique times. The differences however have been notably huge to say the least. What has the COVID experience been like for you?
It’s been hard to be separated from family and friends, I have extended family in the US and the UK. Must be very tough for everyone else in the same boat.
What words of hope and encouragement would you give to artists that are suffering or at least pivoting wildly right now?
Keep playing and writing music. I am very grateful for success, yet as a songwriter I feel I still have songs to write. Awards & accolades are most meaningful when you have family and friends who really care about you and a life to hang your award on.
You normally split your time between Nashville, TN, and your farm in Australia. What are some of the more notable cultural differences that you notice going back and forth?
I miss family and friends in the us plus the culture and I am song writing by myself more at the moment but would love to perform and write with another writer – artists when restrictions eventually ease.
With a lot of smaller businesses, restaurants, venues, etc. Struggling this year. What are some of your favorite places that you want to give a shout out to? Usually we keep it to our Spotlight’s local city, but as you have both Australian and American roots now, you can take your pick!
- Toronto (I met my wife Marlina there)
- Dayton Ohio
- Perth WA.
- Bluebird café, Nashville.
- Moonshiners, Tamworth NSW.
What would you like to say to fans and readers?
Be careful, STAY SAFE.
THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE WHO SUPPORT MY MUSIC
This Spotlight – Andrew Farriss is a wrap. Big thanks to Andrew for taking the time to chat with us
Check out Love Makes the World out now!
Keep up with news from Andrew here
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