TF Archives

Hernan Cattaneo: Renaissance Master

Author: Cameron Adams
Friday, January 21, 2005
Paul Oakenfold might have discovered Hernan Cattaneo in 1997, but he was entertaining the masses long before then. Since the late '80s Hernan has been developing the flowing, progressive groove which has become synonymous with his name - a sound that has allowed him to release material for Bedrock, Perfecto and Renaissance and play at festivals around the world. This month he's flying into Australia to promote his latest mix CD, and Cameron Adams managed to interview Renaissance's South American superstar before he hits our shores.

CA: The name Hernan Cattaneo is probably most associated with two things: deep, funky progressive sounds, and South America. Would you say that your sound is distinctively South American, or does it tap into a more global influence-

H: I would say it's a more global one. I was born in Argentina which is a really European country full of different cultures, and then I have been traveling the world big time, so my influences are really wide.

CA: Your impressive 6th place in the DJ Mag top 100, events such as the South American music conference, and the popularity of other DJs such as DJ Marky highlights a burgeoning interest in the South American dance scene. Would you say this is a sign that it's just spreading its wings, or just that the World is finally catching up-

H: I think it's both really. We've been working on the scene for years but it wasn't until 5 years ago that it started to become a proper one. Promoters have been doing events like Creamfields that went from 15,000 to 60,000 in only four years. At the same time, the whole global dance scene exploded and gave a lot of interest to what was happening around the world.

CA: You've just finished putting together your second compilation for Renaissance's "Masters Series" and after having listened to it, I must say it's an impressively woven journey through all of your musical tastes. You've done quite a few CDs for different labels now, are they merely snapshots of what you're playing in the clubs at that time, or do you try and achieve something different with each one-

H: I try to reflect who I am as a DJ at the time I'm doing the CD. That means I'll use the stuff I find interesting at the moment, and that is always a big variety of sounds and producers from around the world.

CA: I remember first hearing the deep grooves you put together on "Perfecto Presents ... Hernan Cattaneo", and while the first disc of your new compilation retains some of those progressive roots, the second disc is highly breakbeat oriented. Has this been a conscious shift in your sound of late-

H: As I've said before, it depends on what I'm more into at a given moment. I really like breaks or records that aren't breaks but have some kind of influence from them.

CA: One of the standout tracks of the mix for me is your collaboration with John Tonks on "Warsaw". Have you always been involved in production, or would you say that you're a DJ first and foremost-

H: Glad you say that! I've been DJing for a long time and started production like 4 years ago, so its not the same thing. As a producer I'm on a learning curve and I'm enjoying it a lot.

CA: What was the inspiration behind that track-

H: John and I got together in his studio in south London to work on a few remixes and we wanted to do something on our own. He's had this bassline on the computer and I suggested to add some more stuff, and make a track that ended up being "Warsaw".

CA: You have in fact included quite a few of your own remixes and edits in this mix. Do you think this underlines a greater demand for DJs to represent themselves as artists and expose more of their own ideas to the audience; not just on recordings, but at live performances- In particular I'm thinking of the renown that James Zabiela has garnered for his DJ-cum-performance acts, and the increasing freedom that technologies such as Ableton and Final Scratch<