If you’re an Australian of a certain age (ie. me), and you hear the name Andrew Farriss, your ears immediately prick up. The acclaimed singer songwriter has long been synonymous with Aussie rock legends INXS, for whom he was not just a founding member, but also the keyboardist, guitarist and main composer.
Outside of INXS, Farriss has been a stalwart in collaborative songwriting, both in Australia and abroad, so it’s no surprise that he’s decided to release solo material – the only surprise is that it’s taken so long for him to do it.
His debut album was set for global release at the end of this year, along with a massive 12 month tour, but COVID-19 sabotaged his plans, and forced the release date to be pushed back into 2021. Farriss however knew his fans were looking forward to his music, so he’s decided to release his EP, ‘Love Makes The World’ – originally slated for a 2022 release, but now, out worldwide today, and available to stream and download here.
Despite originally being meant to come out in 2022, ‘Love Makes The World’, with its focus on human relationships, and the world around us, is entirely appropriate for today and what we’ve all been going through this year. Even more extraordinary is that Farriss has been working on the EP for the last decade, and all the songs fit so well together seemingly effortlessly; testament to his immense talent.
“When I was first creating the EP, I realised the song titles were creating their own EP,” says Andrew. “All the lyrics tie in together, and that was where I decided which songs would be the most powerful on there. I do believe that the pandemic has taught people a lot more to focus and slow down the pace of everything, appreciate time with family and look at things that matter the most. It feels like the right time to be putting this out. I am really excited because now we have the opportunity to share this music. It has ended up a bit backwards-and-forwards ironically, but it feels right.”
Honoured this year as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) as recognition of his contribution to music, he’s also an inductee in the Australian Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame. Farriss released his debut country single, ‘Come Midnight‘, last year, which was followed up by ‘Good Momma Bad‘, and was debuted at the Tamworth Country Music Festival – arguably the largest country music destination in the world outside Nashville – in January. Farriss nowadays lives on a farm in Tamworth, so it’s easy to understand how country music might have rubbed off on him, and he’s quickly established himself on the country-roots scene. ‘Love Makes The World’ is certainly evidence of this, drawing strongly on country, folk, and some experimental influences, in order to create immensely beautiful ballads, each with a story to tell. Traditional instruments sit side by side in his compositions: guitars and mandolins, strings, synths, keys, and organs are not such strange bedfellows at all.
Recorded both in Andrew’s home studio in Tamworth, and the Beaird Music Group Studio, in Nashville, with the songs written between Australia, Nashville, and London, ‘Love Makes The World’ explores hard hitting topics such as belonging, mental health and suicide, love, conservation, and the evolution of mankind. His sensitivity in such themes is admirable and the emotion he invokes is palpable (we challenge you not to cry when listening to him channel Michael Hutchence in ‘My Brother’). The EP will of course appeal to INXS fans, and goes a long way to show just how much of the band’s sound was down to Farriss. The tracks have been a cathartic experience for Andrew, and allowing him the chance to take a deep dive into different songwriting styles. He’s co-written tracks on the EP with Baby Animals frontwoman Suze DeMarchi, Northern Irish singer songwriter and recent INXS frontman, Ciaran Gribbin, Robbie Williams frequent collaborator Guy Chambers, and New Zealand rock legend, Jon Stevens.
“I have always seen myself as a songwriter more than anything,” he says. “Being the main songwriter in a band as talented as INXS, with a superhuman frontman such as Michael, it was a songwriter’s dream. The lessons that I took for writing for INXS into my own career, is that maybe I can do things a little bit differently. I don’t mind not being pigeonholed. I am not interested in that; I appreciate all genres. I don’t think you have to necessarily stay in your little box and behave yourself. I think working with people outside your comfort zone is great for the future of music, that is what makes great change in music.”