INXS - The Swing Album

INXS and Their Approach to Recording Music for “The Swing” Album

The Legacy of INXS

INXS, an iconic Australian rock band, gained immense popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, leaving a lasting impact on the music industry. Their unique blend of new wave, rock, and pop elements, along with the charismatic stage presence of lead singer Michael Hutchence, catapulted them to global stardom. One of their most influential albums, “The Swing,” showcases the band’s distinct sound and innovative approach to recording music.

The album features ten tracks, showcasing the band’s evolving sound and their experimentation with different genres. 

  1. “Original Sin”
  2. “Melting in the Sun”
  3. “I Send a Message”
  4. “Dancing on the Jetty”
  5. “The Swing”
  6. “Johnson’s Aeroplane”
  7. “Love Is (What I Say)”
  8. “Face the Change”
  9. “Burn for You”
  10. “All the Voices”

These songs highlight INXS’s growth as musicians and their willingness to explore new styles and sounds, which contributed to the album’s critical and commercial success.

The Genesis of “The Swing”

Released in 1984, “The Swing” was INXS’s fourth studio album and a significant turning point in their career. The album marked a departure from their earlier, more straightforward rock sound, incorporating elements of funk, soul, and new wave. This experimental phase played a crucial role in shaping the band’s future musical direction.

Working with Renowned Producers

For “The Swing,” INXS collaborated with two influential producers, Nile Rodgers and Nick Launay. Rodgers, known for his work with Chic and David Bowie, contributed to the album’s funk-infused sound, while Launay, who had previously worked with artists like Midnight Oil and The Birthday Party, brought his unique production techniques to the table.

The Adventurous Recording Process

The band’s approach to recording “The Swing” was marked by experimentation and a desire to push boundaries. They recorded at multiple studios, including the famous Power Station in New York City and Rhinoceros Recordings in Sydney, Australia. This allowed them to work with cutting-edge equipment and experiment with new recording techniques.

Embracing New Technologies

INXS embraced new technology during the making of “The Swing,” utilizing state-of-the-art synthesizers, drum machines, and samplers. These cutting-edge instruments played a significant role in shaping the album’s distinctive sound, adding depth and texture to the music.

The Use of Non-Traditional Instruments

In addition to incorporating new technology, INXS also experimented with non-traditional instruments on “The Swing.” They used a marimba in the track “Johnson’s Aeroplane,” adding an exotic, percussive element to the song. This approach demonstrated the band’s willingness to venture outside of conventional rock instrumentation.

Layering and Multi-Tracking Techniques

One of the standout features of “The Swing” is its rich, layered sound, achieved through the use of multi-tracking and overdubbing techniques. By recording multiple takes and layering them together, the band was able to create a lush, textured sound that set them apart from their contemporaries.

The Importance of Pre-Production

Before entering the studio, INXS dedicated significant time to pre-production, working on song arrangements and refining their ideas. This meticulous preparation laid the foundation for the album’s cohesive sound and enabled the band to make the most of their time in the studio.

Innovative Mixing and Mastering

Once the recording process was complete, INXS turned to renowned engineer Bob Clearmountain for mixing and mastering. Clearmountain’s expertise helped to bring the diverse elements of “The Swing” together, creating a polished and cohesive final product.

The Impact of “The Swing” on INXS’s Career

“The Swing” was a commercial and critical success, reaching No. 1 on the Australian charts and earning the band international recognition. The album’s innovative sound and production techniques helped to define INXS’s signature style and laid the groundwork for their future chart-topping hits.

The Enduring Legacy of “The Swing”

Nearly four decades after its release, “The Swing” remains an essential part of INXS’s discography and a testament to their creative prowess. The album continues to influence a new generation of musicians, with its innovative production techniques and genre-defying sound serving as inspiration for many contemporary artists.

The Lasting Impact of INXS and “The Swing”

INXS’s groundbreaking approach to recording music for “The Swing” album left an indelible mark on the history of rock music. 

Their willingness to embrace new technologies, experiment with unconventional instruments, and collaborate with renowned producers set them apart from their contemporaries and contributed to their lasting success. 

“The Swing” remains a shining example of the band’s artistic vision and a reminder of their enduring impact on the music industry.

Many iconic songs have been recorded through the same SSL6000 mixing desk at our local Perth recording studio.  We don’t have enough information about what INXS recorded on but many of the worlds top bands of the era chose and continue to choose studios with SSL mixing desks that are iconic in the industry.

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