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Interview with Hernan Cattaneo
OD Magazine meets Hernan Cattaneo
In the last edition of the Dj Awards in Ibiza we were lucky enough to have with us one of the world's leading figures in electronic music, specifically in Progressive House and Deep melodic, Hernán Cattaneo. We were doing an interview with the Fiesta&Bullshit team and this is what it gave us. Great Hernán Cattaneo!
FB: First of all, pleased to have you with us. You are a legend that is still very much alive! You received a decoration in Buenos Aires. What was the reason for the recognition and what did it mean for you?
HC: Thank you very much for the interview. A few months ago the legislature of the city of Buenos Aires gave me an award and declared me: Outstanding Personality of the Culture of my country. Of course it was a great joy and pride, since it is the first time that not only a DJ is recognized, but someone from the world of electronic music. Beyond the fact that I have been chosen, I think it is a great achievement for all DJ´s in Argentina, a country where there are still many media and retrograde characters who doubt the seriousness or even the honesty of our profession.
FB: In Spain, we met a Hernan Cattaneo as a result of his appearances at festivals like Creamfields and some dates with the promoter Sinnamon. At that time, you became like a "demigod" for many people here, something similar to your country. What do you remember about those years (around 2008)?
HC: I have a very fond memory of those years when our sound started to sound in Spain and it was also when the big local stars like Henry Saiz or Marc Marzenit appeared.
FB: Tell us a bit about your label Sudbeat, have the established goals been fulfilled? Did you imagine that it was going to have the acceptance that it has?
HC: We started as a small label that would push producers from Argentina, and then we realized that we wanted a more global vision and to give visibility to music from all over the world, since the common denominator is the melodic sound and not the origin of who makes it. At the beginning everything was a little slow because I did the work between the tours, the family, the radio and so on... and I didn't have all the necessary time, but with the incorporation of Graziano Raffa, Sudbeat already took a much more intense dynamic and we've arrived until now, where we have more than 20 annual releases, and also the Showcrates that are Sudbeat's flagship compilations. Plus a very good number of followers and DJs supporting what we edit.
FB: There was a space of time, in which it wasn't the same... What happened? Was it the style that lost followers in our country? Was it Hernan?
HC: I always had the feeling that in Spain you enjoy a high energy sound more and that's not what it represents to me. So after the initial enthusiasm, the thing was diluted little by little and was always supported only by a small group of very loyal fans like Barrizal's band, but not big enough to maintain a musical style among the most popular as techno, tech house or deep house. I could not alter my sound to be more popular in Spain, this is not a contest of who has more followers, nor is my intention to convince anyone to like what I do. If they like my sound, very good, and if they don't like it, very good too.
Lately things have improved a bit because techno and melodic deep have put some sounds we have in common in more popular places, and that, somehow, brings us closer to the public in Spain, but as it's the result of a fashion, we can't take it as our conquest either. I always run away from fashions because they put you in a place that is not yours and many DJs are confused with all that. I've seen it a thousand times, and it happened to me too, the moment when a DJ is trendy and he's more popular, that's never his great artistic moment. I prefer to have 1000 real fans who know well why they like what they hear, than 100,000 of those who every 2 years change their taste behind what fashion dictates.
FB: A lot of people talk about your B2B with Nick Warren. Is he the person you connect with best? Do you rehearse something first? Do you send tracklist or do you just get carried away?
HC: Nick is the one I've done the most B2B with, and I always feel really good about him, we're great friends and we admire each other musically, so it really works very well everywhere. We've never talked about music before a set, the only thing we've always agreed on is that we play 3 tracks each to improve the flow. The best B2B come out with the DJs you admire and with whom you also get along well. It's never a competition between DJs, but a set built by two. We've done great events with our labels The Soundgarden and Sudbeat, and people have had a great time either in Miami, Barcelona or ADE.
FB: Let's talk about the incidents of Time Warp in Argentina, etc. Are the events still pursued? How is the situation of electronic music in Argentina and politics?
HC: Argentina has been going through a very complicated political moment for many years, and for different reasons and with different governments things have not gone well. The economy has had problems for a very long time, and unfortunately nobody seems to find a way to solve them and move the country forward, be it from one party or the other and, at the same time, society is so divided that this complicates things even more, since it is impossible to achieve any consensus to move forward in any direction. As a country, Argentina has one of the best crowds in the world, which with great enthusiasm generates really incredible atmospheres in each show and also has a large number of young producers who are delivered tracks of very good quality. On the other hand and since the tragedy of TW, there have not been big festivals again and the whole scene works between the clubs and some shows of no more than 8,000 people, which, although artistically not a problem, does not generate the impact that before achieved the good times of big events such as Creamfields, Ultra Music Festival or others. Now the biggest and strongest festival in these years in Buenos Aires has been Lolapalooza, which is really excellent, but is not focused on DJs or electronic music, but on rock, pop and indie bands.
FB: When you were 53, what was the last time you said: "And I thought I'd seen everything!
HC: That happens to me every end of August when I go to Burning Man. Despite losing a little of its original identity to clubbers and models who only go to party or take pictures (when BM is not a music festival) even so, it's still the most different and interesting festival I know and there I always see people and incredible things without exception, which can only be found there.
FB: Hernan, why Ibiza?
HC: Like Burning Man, a unique, magical and special place, which has also lost a lot of identity in the last 10 years in the wrong hands, but even so, Ibiza is a place with such a powerful energy that it remains and will continue to be one of the strongest focal points of the global scene.
FB: What did it mean to win the Dj Awards this year in Ibiza?
HC: As I said when I picked up the award: Having won the Best New Dj 18 years ago, it feels very gratifying to be relevant to the scene so many years later as to win the Best DJ award. We all know how extremely difficult it is to stay up there. These awards are always nice recognitions and it's very nice to win them.
FB: Have you ever said that the hard thing is not to get there, but to stay. How was the moment when you said: "I'm here now"? Because of what?
HC: That 2001, when I moved from Argentina to Europe and was a resident of Cream at Amnesia and Pacha. At the end of the season I won the Best new Dj and appeared on the cover of DJ MAG, I thought I had touched the sky with my hands. But then you realize that the industry moves all the time and if every year you don't stay up there, everyone can quickly forget about the awards and the covers. Look at how many good new djs there are every year, but how many are still strong 10 years later? Only those who have a great identity and musical personality, are those who have chances and of course, have talent, work hard, surround themselves with good people and have some luck here and there. As in football, the titles you win or the goals you score are only worth that year, next season to start from scratch again.
FB: If Hernán Cattaneo had to give an award to the career of an artist he admires, who would he give it to?
HC: To Danny Howells, my favourite DJ.
FB: Since we used to talk about awards, if we have to give the "Razzies, the anti-oscar" award in music, who would it be for?
HC: Would it be like a punishment? If so, to all those djs who play 90 minutes. It should be forbidden.
Thank you very much for everything!Read more Close