Life & Style Weekend - - RELAX - — Nick Bond

THE turn of the 21st cen­tury was a mag­i­cal time for Aus­tralian pop, as any Rumba Fes­ti­val at­tendee will at­test.

Vanessa Amorosi, Bar­dot, Scan­dal’Us, Nikki Web­ster – but among all this man­u­fac­tured home-grown pop an un­der­ground dance act man­aged to sneak in the back door and be­come as big as Brit­ney, if only ever so briefly.

Dance duo Madi­son Av­enue (DJ Andy Van and vocalist Cheyne Coates) scored a run­away in­ter­na­tional hit with Don’t Call Me Baby in late 1999. Three more hits, an al­bum – and an in­fa­mous ARIAs per­for­mance – fol­lowed, be­fore Madi­son Av­enue qui­etly dis­banded just a cou­ple of years later.

Van is set to per­form at the Cen­tral Sta­tion Records 40 Years Party in Sydney next month – spin­ning a spe­cial Madi­son Av­enue DJ set, no less.

The now-veteran DJ re­vealed that the ver­sion of Don’t Call Me Baby you heard on the ra­dio is the orig­i­nal warts-and-all demo.

“It was sung on an $80 mi­cro­phone with (DJ and pro­ducer) John Course on the phone in the back­ground and the door open in the stu­dio,” he says. “In the a cap­pella, you can ac­tu­ally hear John talk­ing in the back­ground.”

The overnight suc­cess put a strain on their re­la­tion­ship. “Burn­ing out is a good term. Cheyne and I pre­vi­ously went out for a lit­tle while be­fore Don’t Call Me Baby, and we were mates af­ter that. It was al­most like a brother-sis­ter, Se­in­feld and Elaine re­la­tion­ship. But then a lot of pres­sures come on board – we were do­ing 20 flights a month around the world. It’s a lot of pres­sure, and you’re ex­hausted. We once went to Poland for six hours, did 27 in­ter­views, then left. It was too much, too quickly.”

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