While he’s crafted a successful career as a DJ, producer and businessman, nothing compares to the magic dance veteran Andy Van creates when teamed with attitude-filled female vocalists.
It was a combination that made his collaboration with Cheyne Coates, Madison Avenue, the first Australian dance outfit to top the singles chart. And it’s what makes his current band, Vandalism, such an energetic live prospect — his wife and musical partner Cassie Van comes across like some high-octane mix of music’s most magnetic female stars.
“She gets inspiration from Peaches, Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani … she goes hard. Running, jumping, throwing water, pulling people on stage. Security freak out, but we don’t care,” Van told the Star Observer. “99 percent of clubbers are just awesome people who want to have fun, so she loves to get involved and touch the crowd.”
He contributes to the on-stage spectacle too, using an iPad to trigger different samples, working the crowd into a frenzy.
“It’s like a rock concert really, people jump a foot in the air. It’s such a buzz.”
The pair have just finished touring the country in support of their latest release, the spiky single Vegas. The track, a collaboration with American DJ Static Revenger, started life as a ‘bleepy, electro’ Vandalism original before Revenger gave it a radio-ready polish.
“We went and stayed at his house in the US, and he’s such a nice guy, so positive and vibey,” Van said. “We played him our song, and he loved it so much he wanted to work on it. It turned into a real collaboration. We loved what he created; he turned it into this great, hooky anthem.”
When time came to shoot a video, the three knew there was only one place to head: Vegas.
“We shot it guerilla-style. We didn’t really ask anyone, we just got out there and started shooting and hoped no-one would tell us off.
“It’s funny, Cassie sings about the Palms in Vegas in the song, and we’ve just been booked to play there in March!”
The upcoming US tour is part of a concerted stateside push for the duo, thanks to some recent high-profile remix work.
“I can’t mention them yet, but there are some very big US names — like, top five artists — who are asking us to remix their work. Our Katy Perry remix (for Teenage Dream) really opened a few doors for us over there. Now, I feel like we have a chance in America.”
But while things might be heating up for the pair, Van said he had no desire to replicate the mainstream success he enjoyed as an accidental popstar in Madison Avenue.
“It was actually a little bit too much for me. Cheyne and I would walk around Sydney together and have 20 or 30 kids following us,” he said.
“It was fun, but I got a little glimpse of what the world must be like for Britney or Lady Gaga: it’s raining people and you haven’t got an umbrella. The popstar life is not for me; I’m much happier being a DJ.”
info: Vegas out now via iTunes. www.myspace.com/vandalismgroup