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Vandalism - Acts Of Vandalism

Author: Jane Stabler
Wednesday, 16 January 2008
Depending on from which era you hail, Vandalism is either the conspicuous defacement or destruction of a structure, or it’s an indie electro house act from Melbourne. If you tend towards the latter, you’ll know that the trio are still responsible for public defacement, just in the musical sense. Words by 3D’s Jane Stabler (from this era).

Their upcoming single release Smash Disco continues the theme, but Andy Van of the band admits that vandalism on the decks is the only kind they commit.

“The initial name came from where we cut other people’s tunes,” he explains, “so we were vandalising music. We just liked the word – we aren’t that rebellious! When electro started a few years ago it was a good name, it was edgy but now it’s not!”

Regardless of a name that may have been considered riskier in a period passed, Vandalism’s music is far from being bereft of edginess. The band’s massive exposure in Europe has likely contributed to the development of what is an instantly recognisable and quite Euro electro sound. Having worked with some of today’s most coveted names in dance, the Vandalism fan base has become as varied as the countries to which they have toured.

“We’ve been quite lucky with the artists we’ve hooked up with, so we’re getting some main-room tune type people coming to our gigs who are expecting anthem type tracks, and then we have the indie kids coming who want to hear a bit of guitar. It’s a mixed bag,” Andy Van says of the eclectic crowds they pull. “But Australia is so up there with the rest of the world. The events are sometimes bigger in Europe, but possibly because we have such a wonderful climate it’s a very outdoorsy feel [in Australia] so you’re getting a good vibe.”

It’s a good vibe that has led to lots of good vibe clothing – ie fluoro – but clearly fans of the trend themselves, Vandalism are digging the bright audiences as much as they are playing to a home crowd.

“A lot of people are bagging the fluoro,” Andy Van laughs, “but I like it because it makes you feel free. I mean the movement, not the actual fluoroness! It’s about the creative colourness.”

Associated with the new, equally colourful, Pacha release, Vandalism’s increasing commercial recognition shows similar parallels to what also used to be a less mainstream name in the dance scene. In an industry that thrives on underground status and association, Vandalism are aware that there comes the risk that too much exposure may lead to loss of cool.

“You never know the answer,” he considers. “You can still retain cool and be commercial, you can still be a bit of both. The people who are the underground heads and never go out to clubs and bag people for being successful get up me a bit. I think sometimes we like to tear the successful people down and that’s a really poor approach. Look at Ministry of Sound. They introduce kids to songs that are big, whereas two years ago [those kids had] never heard of those artists. I’d rather they be educated by something slightly commercial. I’d rather have Ministry as a teacher than Austereo.”

WHO: Vandalism
WHAT: Play OzFest at the Greenwood Hotel / Pacha through Central Station/MRA
WHEN: Saturday 26 January / Out now