TF Archives

Madison Avenue's Andy Van: Don't Call Me…

Author: Skrufff
Sunday, August 19, 2001
Veteran Melbourne DJ Andy Van became globally famous last year, off the back of Madison Avenue's naggingly infectious disco hit Don't Call Me Baby'. Since then, he's transformed himself into a globe-trotting DJ and in many senses already outgrown the novelty pop persona that Madison Avenue briefly thrust his way. Self aware, driven and clearly conscious of the music business' machinations, he's one of many Australian producers increasingly taking on the British and Americans and winning, as dance culture continues to internationalise and grow. Skrufff's Angie Ng met up with him last week as he flew into Kuala Lumpur for a one off DJ gig in the Malaysian capital.

Skrufff: You've been DJing in Melbourne for over 12 years, how much of a step was it, going from Australian clubs worldwide-
Andy Van : Yes, I've been hired and fired from every club in Melbourne. I think Australia's changed, though; it used to be about resident DJs and about playing music that people wanted to hear but over the last few years, DJs started to develop their own identities and became more popular as themselves. So, people now come to hear what I want to play and what I've got to offer. I have no residencies anywhere, I just do guest spots around Australia and now around the globe which is great.

Skrufff: How big a step was it, going from Australian clubs to worldwide superclubs-
Andy Van: "Without sounding arrogant, I've always had the skills because I've been DJing for a long time so I've developed into being er,…what I would like to think, a pretty good DJ. I generally knock a lot on doors until people answer- I don't like to be pushed aside. I've made a lot of good contacts with record labels, and I happened to meet people like Danny Rampling who said, 'Hey, next time you're in the UK, just do a mix-up on my show". So I went there and did a live mix on Radio 1, to a couple of million listeners. Wow ! And straight away, people were talking about me on an international scale. So, I think once you've proved yourself, the doors start opening, one door here and another one there and another etc. I met the promoters from Creamfields and did the gig for 30,000 people then the Love Parade, where I DJed to 300,000 people. So, once you have those things on your resume, then people know that other people have seen you in a 'good light', so they'll view you in a good light as well."

Skrufff: Has being Australian helped or hindered-
Andy Van : It's actually helped and hindered because for one, it's hard to just get on a plane and go somewhere; you can't fly to France in an hour. It's more like 35 hours or 25 hours depending on what flight you take. But what's so good about Australia is that it is so close to Asia. so flying to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Tokyo is not too far. And because we're in the same time zone, there's not so much jet lag problem there, which is great."

Skrufff: Did you ever seriously consider relocating to England to improve your career-
Andy Van: "Maybe for a few months in a year but it's too cold for me. I might go in the summer months and quickly leave before November, do the Ibiza thing and then come back home.

Skrufff: Do you still drop 'Don't Call Me Baby' in your set-
Andy Van : No. Not anymore."
Skrufff: Are you expected to-
Andy Van : For the first year, yeah. After that I'd still play it quite a lot, the Discobabes mix, which was a tough driving house mix of "Don't Call Me Baby" that everybody liked. It was actually illegal at the start but we did all the necessary to make it legal. So I played thatversion for 6 months after I'd played the original version for the first six months. And after that, I played "Who The Hell Are You" and "Everything You Need" and there were some great remixes too. But not now; there's not much Madison Avenue in my set anymore."

Skrufff: Did you get fed up of it -
Andy Van : No, not really because it's been like a 'wonderful door' opening for us. It was something that Che