08-Feb-14, 08:04am #2051
Great Interview except for the part where the interviewer subtracts a daughter. It is 3 not 2
Interview: Hernan Cattaneo Reflects on DJ Career Thus Far
By Mateo A. @MateoJAV · On February 6, 2014
Hernan Cattaneo, Toronto, Interview, 2014, Progressive, Dance Music, PRess
The year is 1998, the city, Buenos Aires. You are a local DJ who has been asked to play a set between two of the biggest names in dance music. The Chemical Brothers have just come off a super high-energy set and it’s your turn on the decks before DJ Mag’s #1 DJ, Paul Oakenfold, takes the closing slot. What do you do? Do you take this opportunity to show the world all the tricks hiding up your sleeve, and continue to bring up the energy? Or instead, do you do what Hernan Cattaneo did when faced with this scenario; sacrifice your shot at fame, bring the vibe down a notch and build up the anticipation for the headliner to follow?
It is his crowd-reading ability, professionalism and obsession with perfection that has kept Hernan Cattaneo at the top of the music game over the last two decades. The Argentine DJ not only continues to tour rigorously year round but he has also taken up the roles of label-owner, producer, husband and father. With a very distinct progressive/deep sound that has persisted over the 25 years of his career, Cattaneo has some of the most devoted followers out there, and continues to amaze the masses weekend after weekend with his perfectly built sets, hand-picked melodies and bone-shaking bass lines.
In anticipation for his arrival in Canada (Montreal on February 7 and Toronto on February Hernan Cattaneo gives us some insight into his mind, his music and his label.
BTD: You got your break as a DJ opening for a man who was, at the time, the greatest in the world. What do you have to say regarding the importance of the opening and closing DJs at parties?
HC: Opening the show can be critical for the rest of the event, or at least is a big part of it. A good warm-up DJ will put everyone in the right mood for the guest DJ coming later. A bad one will get the crowd excited way before the right time, and will spoil the night. In most cases, it’s a personality thing – if you know who you are, you will play deep and slow and leave the hot moments for the star DJ. If you have a big ego, you will not wait and will want to show everyone that you are capable of, and by that, ironically, you will loose any respect from the crowd and the rest of the DJs around you.
Hernan Cattaneo, Toronto, Interview, 2014, Progressive, Dance Music, PRessBTD: Do you ever wish some of your openers had done what you did at the party in ’98 where you met Paul Oakenfold?
HC: Sure. Luckily DJs these days know what to do, but even now sometimes you hear the opening and think “there it goes, half of my deepest side of the set.”
BTD: When you are DJing, what is your favourite part of a set? The beginning, where you’re creating the vibe, the middle, where you are twisting people’s heads, or the end, where the melodies really come out?
HC: I like to play long sets and every part is enjoyable to me. Creating some tension is always fun, especially because you know what is coming. I always try to build and then bring things down in a subtle way by mixing, very carefully, different styles and grooves. The crowds are also in a big part responsible for how much I enjoy the set. In some places people are very patient and that gives me total freedom. In places like festivals, where you play a shorter set, it’s more in-your-face energy all the way.
BTD: Having DJ’d professionally for nearly three decades, you have seen some significant changes in the scene all over the world – new technologies, new ideas, new music. From the time you landed your first residency at Pacha until today, what has been your favourite era (approximately 5 years) and why?
HC: Well probably 2000-2005 becaues these were the first five years I was doing well internationally, and travelling the world non-stop. Every moment has been interesting for different reasons – now I have more experience than ever and that helps guide me a lot on doing the right things.
BTD: You are one of the few DJ/Producers around who have stuck to their genre through their career, while others have twisted their sound to fit what’s popular, and others have simply chosen to follow a different path. What guides your sound? Has your source of inspiration always been constant, or has it changed over the years?
HC: I know, it’s been very disappointing to hear that some DJs, that used to be idols to many, are now playing trendy techno just because it’s the sound of the moment. I couldn’t change styles because I have never been into any specific one. I’ve always been into certain deep atmospheres, grooves, and musical textures and that go along many different kinds of music like deep house, tech, prog and techno. I try to choose all the tracks I like and then play them with certain sense and coherence.
BTD: Of all the underground dance music, the progressive genre seems to have of the smallest followings world-wide. In what part of the world is the (progressive) scene most alive today and why? What makes it so special?
HC: If you mean “progressive” by things melodic, deep and sometimes dark, then it’s just because it’s not the trendy thing at the moment. For me, that makes it even more interesting and challenging. What is more boring than playing the trendy sounds everybody likes? Anyone can do that!
BTD: In a recent interview wit Perros De La Calle you mentioned that the USA created the term “EDM” and is the biggest producer and consumer of it. By default, this popularization of dance music in general has led to an increased following in the underground genres. How do you feel about this popularization? Do you view it as something positive or as something harming the true spirit of the dance music scene today?
HC: A positive or negative view will depend on each DJ’s approach to the situation. For me, I see it as a good thing – as more people consume club music, even when it may not be the style I like, when they grow up, I”m sure they will look into better quality stuff. It’s like a teenager who likes Hardwell someday will grow up and will probably end up hearing Michael Mayer or Guy Gerber. EDM is the big gate for young kids to enter the electronic music world. Not a bad thing. It used to be commercial trance, then cheap electro, now EDM.
BTD: After nearly a decade in Europe, you and your wife have returned to Argentina permanently to raise your two daughters. What goals do you have for your career and your music with this move? Will we see more production and less touring?
HC: The place where we are based has nothing to do with my career. We will be living in Argentina, but most of my shows are around the world, so it’s more of a change for my flying schedule, really. I just played in Brazil, now will do Montreal and Toronto and then go to Europe for four or five shows then back to North America for New York, Boston, San Francisco, LA and two more shows for the Winter Music Conference, then some South American gigs and back to Europe again. So DJ-wise, nothing will change. It’s the typical touring schedules I had while living in London or Barcelona, just more miles on my frequent flyer account!
BTD: You’ve been DJing long enough to know that Toronto was once a powerhouse in the dance music scene. To some degree this relevance has returned in recent years, maybe even stronger than before. What is your connection with Toronto? Any memories stand out in your mind?
HC: Yes, I know. I’ve been in Toronto many times before and had great shows at The Guvernment and some other clubs. Last year I enjoyed the show at Footwork a lot, so I’m really looking forward to coming back on Saturday.
Sudbeat, Hernan Cattaneo, Progressive, Record Label
BTD: Your record label, Sudbeat, has done a great job exposing new underground artists who would otherwise have slipped under the radar. Who should we look out for in 2014 and what releases can we get excited for?
HC: That was always the idea with the label, so I am happy to read that you see it that way. We have upcoming, the Sudbeats Vol. 2 compilation. It’s full of great tracks mostly from up-and-coming artists, many from Israel. We just had Guy Mantzur‘s first artist album out with rave reviews and we are also preparing a long list of releases for 2014 including new singles from myself, Soundexile, and a few more hot collaborations you will hear soon.
BTD: That’s great – we’ll keep our eyes and ears open for those! Thank you for your time – we look forward to seeing you back in Toronto.
HC: Thank you, see you this weekend!
Originally Posted by Blinky-Live-
BAHAHA, you sir - are a twit, have you ever met Di? She celebrated the invention of the wheel by going clubbing
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