“I have dreams about working with people from the 70s. You kind of look at the photos and you think, ‘that would have been just an amazing time’.” Andy and Cassie Van find themselves with a serious case of being born too late. Their joyous blend of disco, funk and soul have seen the duo leap onto the scene earlier this year with single ‘We Are One’. As the first snippet of their joint talents, ‘We Are One’ celebrates their love of 70s and 80s disco paired with a fist-pumping beat to match – remixed from Lime’s ‘Babe, We’re Gonna Love Tonight’. Joining from their self-titled ‘TikTok studio’ in Melbourne, Australia, Super Disco Club are ready to become your new favourite disco artist.
Their home ‘TikTok studio’ has become a place of creativity for the duo – consisting of Andy Van on DJ and producer duties with wife Cassie Van, a professional dancer and the singer and songwriter for the outfit. As Melbourne “has now set the world record for the most amount of days in lockdown,” Andy tells me, it hasn’t stopped them from creating. “But it has just meant that we’ve had so much time to develop music and we have a lot of music we want to do. Also, we’ve been able to do remixes: we’ve done a remix for Soul Central, we’ve done a remix for an artist called Double Drop and we’ve got a lot more coming out. It’s very exciting for us, we’re finally getting to the end of this lockdown shenanigans.” The studio saw them not only develop new music but entertain fans with Instagram Live performances and TikTok videos of them spinning some of their favourite tracks from the bygone disco era. “It’s a way to show who we are as an artist so people connect,” Andy says. “It’s been really positive [especially] on TikTok. We’ve been really, really lucky that our videos have done so well and some of our videos have 150,000 views. It really connects and has hundreds of positive comments. As an artist that’s new, essentially it’s really amazing that people connect and find out about the message we want to send.”
Their studio consists of thousands of 12” vinyl lining the walls, with added decks, ghettoblasters and drum machines. The duo jumps onto social media to delve into their large catalogue whilst grooving to the tracks in disco gear. Cassie explains, “it’s natural for us because we’re natural performers. I grew up with a dance background so I’ve always been on stage and Andy has DJ’d too. We can’t perform at the moment live, so for us, it’s such a creative outlet. It also shows what we do live as well.” Andy was notably the DJ, producer and writer behind successful pop outfit Madison Avenue, whilst being in a separate act ‘Vandalism’ with Cassie on singing duties. “Both Cassie and I love classic disco and the energy and the vibe of that time,” Andy adds, “so live instruments, funky basslines – just the whole disco element of the era. Obviously, people don’t live in a disco-era now so it’s trying to deliver part of that energy and that message into our newer productions for 2021 I think is an aim. And part of what the brand represents is connecting that classic stuff, that classic sound to our current sound.” Cassie continues, “also being inspired by the samples from those, all that vinyl, you know. Sometimes we’ll just be going through it even to do a TikTok and on one of those older records we’ll find some inspiration and we’ll go, “what about if we do a sample of that track?” Even artwork from those days, you know – there’s so much.”
Connecting with that huge pool of inspiration paired with their mutual love of the era, their new single ‘Happiness’ looks to bring an element of authenticity to a much-loved track from 42 years ago. “There’s something about disco-house that feels like fun,” Andy says. “[It] makes you smile, makes you feel happy and that’s obviously what we connected with, with this song. Connecting with Sadako from the Pointer Sisters who delivered a great vocal – it just feels great. We’ve got people sending us videos of five year old kids jumping around dancing to it, having a great time as well as DJs playing it – your Carl Cox, Mark Knight. They’re all playing it as well so it’s connecting on a lot of levels, which we love.” Sampled from the track of the same name by the Pointer Sisters released back in 1979, Sadako Pointer, the granddaughter of original Pointer sister Ruth is on vocal duties. Joining forces with Sadako was a complete surprise, Andy retells. “This is such a strange coincidence – we were working on the track as a bootleg and then we thought, ‘no, let’s develop this into a release.’ And then we put it into a song that we were ready to start working on the vocals on. I happened to be speaking to a DJ friend of mine who books DJ’s and he said, ‘you do know that I’m managing Sadako?’ I went, ‘who’s Sadako?’ and he said, ‘she’s the new member of the Pointer Sisters’ and I said, ‘I’ve got a bootleg of a song and I’ve known you for years and you’ve never mentioned the fact that you manage Sadako Pointer?’ and he goes, ‘no, no, it was just recently – less than two years ago.’ But I’ve seen him a hundred times in the last two years so it was really, really strange. He said he’d connect with her to see if she wants to do something and she said yes. We were stoked, absolutely stoked.”
Bringing her unique soulful talents to the track, Sadako transports us to the heights of the Pointer Sisters’ authentic sound whilst injecting a youthful, modern edge to the track for 2021. “For anyone who knows the 80s, [they] were extremely successful with their track ‘Jump’ and with ‘Automatic’. There were so many tracks that had multi, multi-platinum albums,” Andy says. “The most disco song that they ever released was ‘Happiness’ and it’s an amazing record for anyone who wants to listen to the original – it’s got this amazing intro from Bonnie Pointer where she just sings over a piano, and it’s just fantastic. There was Mr K – a DJ from the UK, and he did a DJ edit of it which was quite a slow tempo and I always loved it but could never really play a version of it and I thought, ‘let’s try and do something with that’ because it was such a great record. Fast forward to now, we’ve reinterpreted it, we’ve got Sadako on it and the original Pointer Sisters love it. It’s been a fantastic journey I’ve got to say.” Sampling the track for 2021 saw the duo bring the best elements from the core track to their mix, Andy explains. “I think let’s call it ‘the younger generation of today’ – it’s more about having a little grab of a moment. Generally, dance tracks and pop tracks are more than two and a half minutes to three minutes long. That’s the reason for keeping it short and sharp because we just wanted to get the best elements of the track into that. If anyone wants to revisit the original, look it up on YouTube from 1979, it is an amazing track but it’s a very long track.”
Reaching into an era jam-packed full of multi-platinum musicians and artists, Super Disco Club looks to harness the power of disco and bring it to a new audience. “To just walk into a studio – a Motown studio, and there’s some of the best guitarists in the world, some of the best vocalists in the world. In Motown studios, you would’ve had Diana Ross in one studio, Donna Summer in another studio [and] the Pointer Sisters in another studio. That’s a pretty amazing place to be,” Andy says. “And it’s actually not a bad idea for a movie. It would be an amazing thing because you would just literally say, ‘hey, can you jam on my track?’ Nile Rodgers worked on some tracks with Dua Lipa and I was like, ‘what an amazing thing to have people with such high skill levels.’ He’s a great guitarist, a great drummer, a great backing singer, a great lead singer, a great saxophone player – it would be amazing. That type of world I would love to be a part of – I’m not a great musician, I’m a DJ producer so production is my world and working with computers. But to sit in awe of those great musicians would be amazing. There’s something about that era – late 70s and early 80s that I don’t know, some sort of magic.”
Super Disco Club hopes to bring some stage magic to the road soon, as soon as it’s safe to do so. Andy tells me, “we’d love to have something that could bring live guitarists, live musicians, dancers, some sort of new disco show if you will. To connect those live events because I don’t think it’s appropriate to sample something that’s live, but then not have some sort of live element on stage as well. That’s our plan but we haven’t quite worked it out yet.” Cassie adds, “I must admit I do love being on stage and I’m very comfortable on there, but the biggest thing I love the most is that energy exchange between the audience. For me to go home at night and for the both of us to go home at night, to think that we’ve given people so much happiness, that’s the most important thing for us.” Cassie also explains the importance of visuals when performing, similarly to the single video for ‘Happiness’ itself. “For me, and I know for Andy, the visuals are so important. We grew up in the era of MTV and things like that when video clips were a huge thing. Like Madonna, Michael Jackson – it was a huge event when they released a video clip. You’d wait for it to come on TV rather than YouTube. [Laughs] It’s a little bit different but music videos are still important, but there’s just so many now. Some of them can get really lost.” The video for new single ‘Happiness’ saw Cassie’s love of dance and performance art combine into a ball of 80s energy that bursts out in the rural streets of Canada in an epic dance-off. “It’s just something that we need right now – a bit of fun, a bit of frivolity and there’s a lot of seriousness going on in the world so we’re happy to contribute a little bit of joy to the world.”