Q: We recently caught up with Andrew Farriss. You may know him from the band INXS and now he is releasing a new Country album. Andrew, Thanks for taking the time to speak with Roots Magazine!
A: You're welcome, thanks for taking the time to speak with me.
Q: You've spent many years in the rock and new wave scene. What inspired you to make the transition to country music?
A: Yes, I've gone country and loving it too. I also bring my songwriting experience...as well as Rock-Funk and other musical influences with me on my Country & Western album journey.
Q: What has the songwriting process been like when you envisioned creating this album?
A: I started writing songs as a teenager and I've always written songs since. And I have accumulated songs over many years. I didn't start out making an album, at first I was recording older ( and much newer ) song - demos to pitch to other artists. I was pleased with the songs, but not with the quality of the recordings. What was different for me is I started to sing on my songs in a way I hadn't done before. During one of the Nashville recording sessions, my wife Marlina and I took a week off work and headed down to where Arizona and New Mexico meet the Mexican border to ride through the Chiricahua mountains National monument and wilderness area. We rode horses for 6 hours a day, six days in a row, and had an education on the turbulent and emotive history of that area. The Apaches, The Mexicans, The Mexican Army, The US cavalry, the Cowboys nearby in Tombstone, The Outlaws, and Settlers all trying to make lives for themselves. I was inspired and moved by the gritty history of the area and thought this part of US 19th Century history was culturally similar in a way to Australian 19th Century History.
Q. What's been the biggest challenge in recording the album?
A: Making sure I had the best songs possible to suit my Country & Western roots style album.
Q. Earlier in your career you've shown influences from the rock/pop artists that you admired in your youth. Are there any country artists who've had a profound inspiration to your music?
A: Willie Nelson / George Jones / Ray Charles / Dixie Chicks / Johnny Cash to name but a few .!.
Q. If you had a dream co-write with any current country music artist, who would you choose?
A: George Strait
Q: With over 30 years in the music industry what's been your secret for success?
A: Don't follow trends or copy people. Be original.
Q. When sitting down and writing a new song, do you find yourself looking to outdo your previous work?
A: No, I approach every new song as exactly that - a new song.
Q. What's been the best part on recording a country album?
A: The Country music community has embraced me and I have embraced them, I am fortunate and I respect the genre and the folks who love it and live it.
Q. Are you hoping that your fanbase follows you into the country scene or are you looking to establish new one?
A: I think I am starting over in many ways in the country music genre, it has been both exciting and challenging.
Q. What are you hoping fans will take away the most from this album?
A: I hope folks will like my songs and feel some of the Frontier inspiration I took from my experiences of horse riding through the Chiricahua mountains National monument and wilderness area.
Q. "First Man On Earth" is incredibly prominent with its elements of progressive-roots vibe. What can you tell us about this one?
A: My earlier EP release has got a lot of attention, "First Man On Earth" is about our obsession with technology, but no one can seem to tell me why or where we are heading with it. We are organic beings living on an organic earth. You can't eat a smartphone.
Q. The tracks "Run Baby Run" and "Come Midnight" have a lot of personal feel to them. Where do you find the inspiration for tracks like these?
A: That's a co-incidence maybe considering "Run baby Run" and "Come Midnight" were written almost 30 years apart from each other. But I try to always write from personal life experiences - observations hopefully that reflects in my songwriting and recordings.
Q. Is there a song on the album that you're most proud of?
A: Possibly " My Cajun Girl" or even " Son Of A Gun", as the band tracks were both recorded in one take and were the last songs I wrote for the album.
Q. Has the city of Nashville been an inspiration in your songwriting?
A: Nashville has been important for me to be able to work on my songwriting and improve my recordings, to have the incredible talent pool of like-minded musicians - folks who work and live there.
Q. You've mentioned before that you actually dislike touring since you're away from friends and family. Are there any renewed feelings of excitement on touring for this album?
A: I'm excited to be headed out on tour and to share my new music, but it can be difficult to be away from family and friends.
Q: How is the country music scene in Australia different than say in the U.S.?
A: Actually, they have become more similar scenes in recent years, the internets changed everything.
Q: Will your fans ever hear a southern or country version of any INXS songs make it on one of your upcoming albums?
A: Not sure, stay tuned.
Q: We encourage everyone to pick up the new self-titled album by Andrew Farriss available now at iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and more! We wish you the best of success with this new record, it's definitely become one of our favorites here and we hope you come back and speak with us again in the future.
A: Thank you Roots Magazine folks, stay safe.
Interview by Trenton Luber
Photo courtesy of 2911 Media