Teacher Jack Madin was as surprised as anyone when a track he recorded with friends was adopted as Europe’s post-lockdown re-opening anthem, but he has no intention of giving up the day job.
It’s not every day that a school music teacher wakes up to an email from a megastar of the international DJ scene. But that’s exactly what happened to AEU rep Jack Madin when French super-producer David Guetta reached out to him and his sometime bandmate Ed Service, asking if he could remix their song, ‘Love Tonight’.
“That was insane,” the Brunswick North West Primary performing arts teacher recalls of the bolt from the blue. It all started a few years back, while Jack was still enrolled in teacher training at uni. He and Ed recruited a bunch of mates also working Melbourne’s live music scene and recorded the upbeat track in a warehouse.
The tune was released in 2017, and then nothing much happened. “It was a lovely moment,” Jack recalls. “We really enjoyed making it, and we never intended it to be a mainstream thing. It was just for our mates and it kind of faded away.”
Flash forward a few years, and Jack has hung up his gigging shoes in favour of full-time teaching, imparting his passion for music on enthusiastic students. Until he and Ed started noticing mentions of the track popping up on social media.
“We think a DJ played it at a big festival in Lithuania, but we’re not really sure,” he says of its sudden resurgence. The banger started to catch on in the European club scene and beyond. Then, last year, when the pandemic crashed into all of our lives, it took hold as an anthem for post-COVID (or at least mid-COVID) reopening and became turbo-boosted.
“People were appreciating the kind of community, and frankly the cheesiness of the song, which seemed to somehow resonate,” Jack says. “And it’s gone to another level this European summer.”
“I can definitely use this with the kids. I’m able to show them that music is a part of our lives.”
Guetta played it at a big gig in Miami earlier this year, with communities slowly emerging out of lockdown in the US. It went off, leading to the email request and subsequent remix that has seen the track go even more bananas, racking up number ones across the globe. “It’s out of this world,” Jack says. “It’s been an incredible trip.”
There’s no chance of Jack getting too carried away with his five minutes of fame, though. While some of the kids have asked for his autograph following an appearance on popular TV panel show The Project, he’s under no illusions that the current buzz is anything more than the initial explosion following a one-hit-wonder.
“I don’t really seem like a pop star, so it’s come as something of a shock,” he says. “It’s really lovely, because the kids are in that generation where they get a big song on Spotify – but, you know, I think they’ll forget all about it in a couple of hours.”
It’s undoubtedly a good teaching opportunity for budding young musicians, instilling the message that you should never give up on your dreams. You just never know; you could become the next big thing. “I can definitely use this with the kids,” Jack says. “They’re really excited by it. I’m able to show them that music is a part of our lives. The pop world can seem so distant, so it’s nice to have this weird little anecdotal experience of being able to touch it – sort of.”
And what do his colleagues make of this sudden touch of stardom, beyond the fact his principal is “really happy” there are no swear words in the song? “They think it’s very funny,” Jack says. “They see the ridiculousness.”
And it is ridiculously good news in times that can be all too focused on doom and gloom. Though don’t expect any big moves from Jack. While he dreams of someday travelling overseas to play ‘Love Tonight’ in front of thronging crowds – when such things are allowed again – there’s no chance of him chucking in the day job he loves.
“I’ve been at Brunswick North for three years now and it’s a great school,” he says. “I’m pretty committed as the union rep, and I’m really into school life. I’ve left the music scene behind. It’s been such a wonderful change. Being in school every day is just so grounding and fulfilling.”