There are very few lyrics than can define an era of Australian dance music more so than Madison Avenue’s iconic “Don’t Call Me Baby”! The iconic smash hit of the late 90’s dominated clubs and then catapulted the duo into superstardom as it gravitated across the globe and scored top pop chart positions in the UK, Europe, U.S Billboard Dance charts and New Zealand. Now it is officially 20 years old! To celebrate Vicious is bringing you a very special 20thanniversary edition, featuring 2 massive remixes, firstly from German dance music icon MOUSSE T and secondly from Madison Avenue’s own Andy Van with his brand new project SUPER DISCO CLUB! DMC checks in…
Andy a huge welcome back to DMCWORLD…where on planet earth are you right now?
Hey Dan I’m in Melbourne, Australia which is my home town.
What was the last new tune you heard which stopped you in your tracks?
‘A History’ feat. Julian Mitchell (Orig Mix) – Dangerous Dan, Nicky Night Time, Rhonda INTL Such a cool and creative track.
So a really exciting time for you right now with huge anniversaries and a new project about to explode. But before we get into all that let’s discover something about Andy Van the man! What is your earliest memory of music as a child?
My parents we into Neil Diamond and Tom Jones, so I heard a lot of that…kind of middle of the road music. My mother had the radio on from 8am till 6pm every day.
When did the idea of a career in dance music first start to form in your head…what was the life plan back then?
When I was 12 years old, my parents took me to Holland to visit their family (as my parents are Dutch). I met my cousin DJ Marcello – a pretty legendary DJ at the time in Amsterdam known for pushing boundaries with his music choices as a DJ and with his club Chemistry. Following that trip he sent me many mixed tapes (showing my age here), and they really influenced my music journey, with great funk, disco and early house artists.
What did your family think of your dream and what was your first big break?
They were always very supportive, which was really great. My first big break was DJing at super cool Funk Club called “Stones Tavern’, playing Jocelyn Brown, Chi-lites, Barkays and Tom Browne…
Who were some of the DJ/artist legends you looked up to back then?
I‘ve always had a very varied taste spanning many decades of music. I loved the great Disco and Funk artists of the 70 & 80s: Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Michael Jackson, Gwen McCrae, Chic, Fatback Band…this list could go one for quite while…then over to DJs and Electronic artists like Daft Punk, Bob Sinclar, Modjo, Fatboy Slim, Alan Braxe, Cassius and Armand Van Helden.
Okay let’s get into ‘Don’t Call Me Baby’, your legendary dancefloor baby that celebrates it’s 20th anniversary this month with a re–release and a nice remix pack with Mousse T headlining the remixes. The original track sold over 1 million copies, topping charts all over the world and still holding the record for most weeks spent at No.1 in the ARIA Club Chart in your home country Australia – 18 flippin’ weeks dude! Right let’s get this out of the way first – ‘Don’t Call Me Baby’ was meant for another singer…what’s the story?
We had always planned Madison Avenue to be more like Groove Armada, ie. the artist with various singers – and Cheyne went into the studio to lay a quick guide vocal for DCMB for the ‘real’ singer. She sung the vocal in 5mins and we tried a few singers but no one nailed the delivery and vibe of what Cheyne did. So we ended up using that 5min take!! Which btw was sung on a cheap microphone in front of the studio speakers, whilst they were on, definitely a big no no when recording vocals.
At what point did you realize you were sitting on a monster tune?
We knew pretty quickly that we had a big track on our hands when we started seeing the amazing reactions on dancefloors around Australia almost immediately after it was promo’d to DJs. But we didn’t quite realize it would become such a world wide hit.
True or false? Pete Tong called for his legal team to sort contracts out within 15 minutes of you entering his office with your demo?
True, Pete loved the track and wanted to sign it for FFRR. It was a tuff decision as I had huge respect for Pete and his label, but ended up going for Virgin (based on their great success with Daft Punk). Pete still played it for like 10 weeks straight, so that was really appreciated.
Looking back, what are your biggest memories of this time?
There are many great memories, here’s one amazing long weekend I had: Departed Melb on the Friday, landed in Leeds Sat midday, then DJ’d at the UK’s only ever Love Parade. I was booked to do the Virgin / Cassius Truck which drove round the massive crowd, then late afternoon one of the organisers ran in and said Lee Burridge was stuck back in miles of traffic, so they asked me to do main stage…to 300,000 people…which was absolutely incredible. Then I did the Subliminal After party that night, then flew to Ibiza next morning, DJ’d with Armand Van Helden in Privilege (at the time, the world’s largest nightclub, holding 10,000 people) then 24 hours later flew home….what a ride!!
Another awesome memory was going on Radio 1 and being first person to play Daft Punk’s “One More Time” on Radio 1.
A famous quote from you: “We wanted to be seen as this cool dance act but parts of it got quite ugly”. Discuss…
Because the track and you as an artist become so big (at the time) we were getting pulled into a ‘Pop area’ and that wasn’t really what I wanted. I wanted Mad Ave to be a Dance Artist connected to clubland. But Cheyne was more into the Pop world, doing Radio 1 events, and Pop gigs. So I think that’s where things got a bit strained. I’m not saying Cheyne was incorrect, we just had different paths we wanted to travel.
Do you still keep in touch?
No, maybe connect once or twice a year.
True of false? You once flew to Poland for six hours, did 27 interviews and then flew out?
Wow Dan you know your stuff! Yeah it was a freakin mad day, next day was Belgium and quite a similar press run.
How did the whole re-issue/remix project come about?
So 7 years ago we did a remix package for DCMB when Vicious Recordings turned 21 with a killer Remix by Motez and also Tommie Sunshine & Disco Fries. And then when the 20th Anniversary was due, we really wanted to do something special. We had a big list of DJs and producers we wanted to approach and did approach some, but I’ve always been a huge fan of Mousse T. ‘Horny’ was an inspirational track for me as a DJ and producer, so when he said yes we were over the moon. We have a few more remixes coming early next year which I can’t tell you about right now, but please check out our Instagram…
Talk us through the remixes…
We’ll we had been preparing this package for a few months now, going over many, many remixer options and and one name that was super high on our list was Mousse T, he had always been a producer idol of mine and was part of the inspiration for DCMB when we made it. So to have him give the track a 2020 interpretation is just fantastic. And I hooked up with him when we he was DJing the Glitterbox tour in Melb last week and he played it and it was the biggest track of the night. Here’s a link…
And of course the 2nd remix is from Super Disco Club, my new project. I went over a bunch of different approaches and finally settled on what it is today, driving House energy with live guitar quite ‘up’ bassline.
The package is out via your own imprint Vicious Recordings…two questions. One – what artist are your most proudest of discovering over the years and secondly, what are the label plans for 2020…
I’d have to ay AVICII. I discovered him at a gig I was doing in Stockholm, his manager Ash came up and said “Andy you gotta sign Tim to Vicious” which we did. He did his first 8 releases with Vicious, including ‘My Feelings For You’ & ‘Snus’. 2020 is a super exciting time for Vicious, we’ll be really pushing the label globally. We have great stable of super strong artists – look of for a hot new release from Henry Hacking ft Holly Brewer – ‘New Love’, also new releases for Jolyon Petch / Andy Murphy and a debut release for Super Disco Club
Tell us some more about your new SUPER DISCO CLUB…
Yeah I’m super excited about this…it’s the first foray in Disco House music for me since Madison Avenue. It’s a project with Cassie Van (singer and songwriter) and my partner in crime. We’ve been putting it together for over a year, we have a bunch of super strong tracks, concepts and plans for the logo, videos, look and design of what to have on stage. The music angle is quality disco house tracks with catchy vocals and classic disco samples and even some Italo disco riffs in there as well. Look out for our debut release early 2020.
5 big tunes you will be spinning this weekend…
Don’t Call Me Baby (Super Disco Club Remix / Mousse T Remix) – Madison Avenue
Move Your Body – Marshall Jefferson, Solardo
We Are One – Super Disco Club
San Frandisco (Walker & Royce Remix) – Dom Dolla
Shined on Me – Cassim
Australia has remained a constant source of amazing producers, DJs, clubs and festivals over the decades. You have seen music genres come and go, what are your thoughts on the electronic scene in your home country and also around the world today? Are we in a good spot?
We had a great period of amazing House music from like 1990 to 2005, then Electro into EDM from approx 2005 to 2015, now House music has reclaimed it’s Number 1 spot. And I’m absolutely loving it. Everything from Deep house to Disco House to Tech House….it’s a great time for House & to be a DJ.
And finally Christmas is around the corner, what would be the perfect musical gift Santa could bring down the chimney for you this year?
I’d say good times with family and friends – and success with DCMB 20th anniversary package!!
Nice one fella. Peace. Thanks Dan for the great interview!
Madison Avenue ‘Don’t Call Me Baby’ – 20th anniversary edition is out 15 November