He’s one of Australia’s most respected dance music identities; the man behind Vandalism, Vicious Vinyl and, of course, Madison Avenue. He is Andy Van.
With a 2017 reworking of the latter’s mammoth noughties chart monster ‘Who The Hell Are You’ doing big business, we sent through a Q&A to Andy to find out about Madison Avenue’s heady days, who he’s rating now and what’s coming next.
Q. Congratulations first and foremost on the success of ‘Who The Hell Are You 2017’… You must be chuffed?
A. Yeah totally chuffed, we released ‘Who The Hell Are You’ in 2000 and all these years later having it in the ARIA Club Chart top five is amazing.
Q. Why was it Madison Avenue hit in the way it did back in the 2000s?
A. I often get asked this. Disco house was very big and we had some killer catchy vocals… and worked super hard on two strong videoclips. So I think it all combined together amazingly well…
Q. What are some of your favourite memories of those heady days of the early noughties when you were conquering charts across the world?
A. Had some amazing times then, we did six tours in two years, including me DJing to 300,000 people at the UK’s only ever Love Parade, then DJing with Armand van Helden in Ibiza.
Q. Was there a particular moment during that time where you thought to yourself… “alright… we’ve made it.”?
A. Yeah definitely in 2000 at ARIA Awards when we won five ARIAs including ‘Song Of The Year’.
Q. ‘Don’t Call Me Baby’ was such a monster breakout singleback in the day. Were you worried about replicating its success at the time?
A. Yeah, we we’re worried, so we worked super hard on the follow up single ‘Who The Hell’, and it debuted at No.1 in Australia and Top 10 in the UK, so we were totally stoked at that achievement.
Q. What’s your standout memory of ‘Who The Hell Are You’ on its original release?
A. For me it was when we were at ‘Top Of The Pops’ in the UK & were told we were No.1 in the UK and this was reported on a lot of major newspapers and media in Australia. And ‘Who The Hell’ was released the same week in Australia and debuted at No.1 here too, so this was an amazing week!
Q. And, we guess, further to that… how did you approach giving the song a 2017 update?
A. We started about six months ago, pitching out to remixers, and working out the best possible package with a bunch of different remixers covering a lot of genres. And I think we really nailed this.
Q. Given the success of this refresh, what are the chances you’re already at work on an update of another of your back catalogue releases?
A. We definitely thought hard about what Madison Avenue back catalogue tracks to work on and ‘WTHAY’ was the strongest option. We may look at ‘Everything You Need’ in the future.
Q. You still command an incredible amount of respect within the dance music fraternity in Australia. What do you put your longevity down to?
A. Thanks for that. I think it’s because I live, eat, sleep and literally breathe dance music every day. And I think everyone knows that.
Q. How much has the scene changed in the past 20 years? What have been the biggest changes?
A. Super hard question, but the biggest change is Spotify. It’s an amazing platform that has a really great library of playlists for users to discover new music.
Q. To that end, what are some of the biggest challenges facing Australian dance music artists today?
A. I think Australian radio is great, but it plays a lot of overseas pop artists and it’s super hard for Australian artists to achieve good results on radio and, therefore, on charts.
Q. Given your position in the industry, who are some of the newer dance acts you’re rating in Australia of late?
A. There are always hot new artists, but also great releases from artists that have worked super hard for the last few years trying to break through.