Interview with Hernán Cattáneo

We had the privilege of talking to Hernán Cattáneo: a name that has been synonymous with quality music for more than a quarter of a century. Have a look at the interview and you will see that Hernán answers questions as multi-faceted as playing and producing music.

The above-posted set is very much recommended to listen to while reading and beyond.

Woodstock pioneer, music lover or simply the dream of every dance-obsessive person, who wants to get to the point of a short-term amnesia, while moving to the unmistakeable sound of Argentina’s most beloved DJ and producer – Hernán Cattáneo. It is nearly that time again. The 10th of July. You know exactly that this day has to be reserved in your calendar for that very special extended 6 hours set at the beach. To get you prepared on that day and première set, we asked Hernán some questions about this and that, which he answered in the same way as he performs: honest, passionate and experienced.

We caught Hernán a bit outside of Buenos Aires, taking a few days off, enjoying some family time – a lovely and peaceful atmosphere-combination to balance the hectic dj life. Well-deserved, when having started 2016 with touring in Australia, Southeast Asia & Japan, a mini stop for his birthday gig in Argentina, US, Canada and Mexico, so almost half of the world covered in the first 3 months of the year.

Any highlights you would like to tell us about?

My very first time at Rainbow Serpent, a very special festival outside Melbourne, Bali was also great, Japan is always a favourite and of course playing at home in Buenos Aires was superb. Then, I did some top b2b sets with Danny Howells in California, in Miami with Nick Warren and a rare private one with Paul Oakenfold which was so much fun. Another one would be this years’ 11hours set at Stereo in Montreal, probably my fav’ club in the past years. Now, it is time for Europe and the really hot gigs that are coming.

Can we say that your six-hour adventure at Woodstock fits into those hot gigs?

Well, it is a very special place, not only for me, for everybody that has been or played there. Woodstock is one of those that always makes a highlight of the season – as I already said: a very, very special place. You play there once a year, and it is in the Netherlands, and at the beach. Definitely way too many reasons that makes it so unique, so you MUST play a long and memorable set every time.

Thank you for these kind words, Hernán. How do you prepare yourself for these long sets?

The most important thing for me is to have some good rest before the show. I only play very long sets when I know it’s for a crowd that will appreciate it, and the set up and sound system is comfortable. So, once you are on, you always want to play more and more and always enjoy the ride. I really love to dj and I kind of struggle with playing two-hour sets. With so many great tracks to play, two hours seem way too short.

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We couldn’t agree more on this; we share the same beliefs when it comes to extended sets. Is it still correct, if we call it ‘progressive house music’ what you are playing?

I guess the most appropriate way to say it is progressive djing not progressive music. I play music in a progressive way: long mixes, slow transitions between tracks & grooves, starting slow then building along the night. Within my sets you find many styles – from deep to tech, mostly melodic, never too hard. That is the progressive way, not whatever the market may call music to sell EDM tracks.

You mentioned the crowd earlier. We noticed a change in the audience in the last few years – younger people come and discover the progressive scene. Do you see the same change within your audience when playing various continents?

Yes. The same has been happening all over the world. Regardless all the bad opinions we may have about EDM, there is one thing that is very positive about it and is the fact that it expanded the scene big time at all levels (mainstream & underground) and now every genre and every dj has much more followers than 6 or 8 years ago. Young kids that entered the scene with those sounds they now grow up and look for something a bit more elaborated and special.

You see a change within the electronic music culture. Do you think that there is also a difference from djing in the past and now?

All changed and nothing changed – it really depends on the way you see it. 35 years ago, I found out that djing is the way to share the music I love with other people and make them having a good time. It is the most important thing and it didn’t change at all. I’m still doing exactly the same. The only thing that changed is the way djs do it, from vinyl to computers and everything in between, djs became entertainers and for many, the only important thing is how much they make people have fun. I still like djs that play music (whatever way possible) and not djs that throw cakes to the crowd, jump on dj tables, or show off in private planes. I really feel uncomfortable with that side of our scene, but try not to pay much attention to them.

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That certainly is not the vibe we are looking for as well. A little flashback would be great right now. Could you share some memories with us when you started playing around the 90s?

It was way different back then in Argentina. No info, no internet, very few record stores, but A LOT of love and enthusiasm for the music and that was what pushed us to change the scene. As I said before, we were a bunch of amateur djs trying to take the club life to another level and we finally did! My manager, Martin Gontad, brought all the professional visions and started working with top level international djs, so many of us interacted with them and learned a lot.

It is great to hear that it was love and enthusiasm, which helped you push the scene. These two qualities should be present everywhere – without any doubts.

With his statements Hernán proves his calm, thoughtful and fresh perspectives concerning the electronic music scene. That is the reason why he absolutely fits into Woodstocks philosophy. He communicates with his music and performance, what we have set as a goal: electrifying sensuality, a big portion of hedonism and unique emotions.

Thanks for your time, Hernán.

Woodstock69