HigherFrequency  DJ Interview


Hernan Cattaneo Interview

South America's Hernan Cattaneo, grew up in Buenos Aires. In 1987 a friend visited Vinylmania in New York City and brought back Chicago house and Detroit Techno. They blew his mind because of the combined energy of Europe's electronic music with the soul of American music.

He then began DJing throughout South America. Hernan developed eclectic deep house, tribal and progressive sets, went on to win Best DJ Award in 1996 and 1997, countless magazine covers, high numbers on the DJ mag charts and the rest is history. We eagerly await the 'Vol.2' follow-up to his Masters that is scheduled for release in February.

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> Interview : Laura Brown (ArcTokyo) / Photo : Mark Oxley (HigherFrequency)


HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : First of all, please let us say "Congratulations" on your No.6 at DJ Mag's Top 100, as well as the release of Renaissance The Masters Series Vol.2 ! How do you feel now?

Hernan Cattaneo (Hernan) : I feel great. Every kind of recognition that you get from what you do is really nice. After so much traveling and hard work, and seeing that people like what you do is very rewarding. Still it's a chart, so you don't need to feel like you are better or worse because of the charts. I know a lot of really good DJs who are not part of that, so it's not that because I'm number 6 that I'm better than the ones on the bottom.

But of course it feels great. One thing though is that in the last few years, the chart became really commercial-music dominated and I am not, so it's good that in the top 10, there is one more who is not playing that. And there is a lack of house DJs within the top 10, so now I'm there and it's a really good thing.

HRFQ : Can you tell us a bit about the concept of Renaissance CD?

Hernan : Every time I do a compilation, I try to reflect who I am at the moment as a DJ. So, I try to show how it would be a DJ set for me. Usually they are much longer than what I can put on a CD, because I like to play for 4, 6, 8 hours. But still whether I play 2 or 6 hours, I always like to start deep and really slow and then build things towards the set and I try to do the same with the compilations. If you hear CD 1, it's more deep and slow and housy. And CD2 is the more club stuff. There are a lot of melodics within the CD and it's never really aggressive, so it really reflects who I am as a DJ.

HRFQ : This compilation has one track from Japanese new comer, Bionic Rockers. Besides them, there are so many great talents in Japan. Do you have any specific plans to pick more up?

Hernan : Yeah. DJs, we are A & Rs. We don't work for a label, but we do the job every day. I get sent loads of music every week, at least 100-150 tracks a week. So I am constantly hearing those - checking which ones you like and which you don't. Maybe you think this is good for me, or good for this other DJ or label. I've been doing that already. I've been giving stuff to other labels, so I've been working as an A & R just for them, because they are my friends or the producers are my friends.

HRFQ : I heard you would be setting up your own label sometime this year. When will it be? What will it be like?

Hernan : It will be soon. I really need time and I'm busy touring. But by the second part of this year, I'm going to start my own label. The original idea was to push the sound of S. American producers, but since then, I think that is selfish. I get the chance to hear so many great producers all around the world and if I can help them as well, why not. Of course it will be more S. American-orientated, but just because I'm more in touch with those producers. But if I hear good music, I'm going to put it out as well.

Hernan Cattaneo Interview

HRFQ : You have an incredibly busy schedule. It's really amazing that you, produce your own tracks, listen to all the demo tapes, and even host a weekly radio show like Metro 95.1. How do you manage your schedule?

Hernan : I think it's just because I love it, you know what I mean? It takes almost all your time. Some people see from the outside and think that DJs have a great life and party all the time, but it's not like that. We do have a great life, but it's not party 24/7. I work as a DJ almost every day - the traveling, the planning, everything has to be double-checked, spending hours and hours hearing the new stuff, doing a radio show every week. No matter where you are in the world, you have to deliver one radio show every week. And it's not just that, you are a guest DJ in many other radio shows or many places. And deliver exclusive mixes. So it takes time. And preparing the sets, you have to know your records properly. If you don't know exactly how it is, then you're never going to take the best from it when you play.

HRFQ : As one of the leaders in the scene, how would you describe the future of house music?

Hernan : I think one of the most interesting things about dance music is the dynamics. It changes almost every day in different directions. You hear new producers that make new music and mix it with the older stuff, and creates new stuff. It varies and it changes constantly. So you're never know how it's going to be next year. Of course house music has been for me, the style that dominates all dance music. I think it is the godfather of dance music. And since then you have many other styles -- progressive, breakbeat, tech-house, techno, drum & bass, but they are all getting together all the time. Like 2 or 3 years ago, progressive was one thing, for a while it wasn't interesting, but then it was mixed with house, and now it's getting more interesting again. So it changes all the time. The big changes are going to be from new technology. New technology gives so many possibilities to the producers and the DJs and stuff. Before everybody was only playing records and now 60% of the DJs only play with CDs and soon it will only be with computers, so that makes a big change already. I believe that things will go that way. Adding new technology to the set-ups will make it a more creative process. Some people don't like seeing a computer for the DJ, but what matters mainly is what comes from the speakers - the medium isn't important.

HRFQ : What are you using tonight for your set?

Hernan : CDs. I don't have a computer yet in my set, but I've been getting loads of support from Live and have been messing around with some in my house. I haven't gotten it exactly right yet, but soon I'd like to add it to my set. I want to add more things to make the experience more complete.

Hernan Cattaneo Interview

HRFQ : One of your enthusiastic fans said to me, "When I hear Hernan's set, it always give me feelings like pleasure, happiness, and sometimes even sorrow and loneliness". Do you always reflect these life emotions in your sets?

Hernan : I think so. Completely. I wouldn't say all, but most DJs reflect who they are, because you are playing the records that you like. Honest DJs. I mean there are DJs who play records that they know will make people dance and they're going to make more money. The DJs that play from the heart, they are going to reflect who they are. So there are always going to be some melodic sides to my music because I like it and it's going to be deep and not really aggressive because I'm not that kind of person. There will be some melancholy because I am a melancholy person and emotional. Yes. That's who I am and that's always reflected in the music. If you're honest and play what you like, that will transpire.

End of the interview

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