In the recent explosion of talent and DJs that the music industry has witnessed in the past few years, there are very few who can show the long-spanning career Hernan Cattaneo has cultivated throughout his over three decade span as an underground artist. Furthermore, there are few DJs can truly attest to the kind of dedication to a quality, underground sound that Hernan has uncompromisingly championed.
Your label Sudbeat, now that it’s nearly a decade in existence, how have you found your approach to A&R? Do you still have the same drive to discover new music that you did when you started?
You know, DJs always do A&R work. You are always checking new stuff, and that can be for your sets, the podcast, the charts, and, (in this case) the label. I spent 4/5 hrs every day working with music and trying to find the special stuff. We also have Graziano Raffa that works along on every aspect as well.
What do you have coming up on Sudbeat?
We have some new amazing stuff coming out from guys like Tone Depth, Mariano Mellino, Jos & Eli and then the special release Sudbeat 100.
How does the satisfaction of discovering quality new music compare to the satisfaction of playing a quality DJ set?
I see it as part of the same thing. To play a quality set, you always want to surprise the crowd, so 90% of the music you play is new and mostly unreleased. Finding the new stuff is always exciting and getting a good reaction when playing it, it’s the most rewarding thing a DJ can ever have.
What aspect/s of your sound make you (and the likes of John Digweed, Sasha, Nick Warren) as popular today as at the start of the Renaissance/Global Underground era?
I think there are many musical common denominators within our sound and you can hear that at any set. If you have a strong musical personality and you stick to that, there is no trend that will beat you on the long term. So even after many years, we are as much in demand as we have ever been.
How do you manage the rigours of touring, especially during the summer season? Do you have any specific practices to maintain health and mindfulness?
First of all, I really love what I do. Since I was a kid, I always wanted to share the music I like with other people and this is what I’ve been doing in the last 30 years, only now at a larger scale, but you can never get tired of that. Of course flying 200 planes a year is not fun, but there is no room for complaints. I try to eat good stuff, no smoke or drugs and of course that helps a lot.
How do you cope with the separation from your family?
That´s the most difficult part for a touring DJ. I make a big effort by going in and out from home and spent as much time as I can with my wife & daughters. Also take weekends off here and there and give them quality time when we are together. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
Where do you see progressive house and techno heading in the next 10 years?
Progressive is more a way of playing music than a music style. I’ve always been called a prog DJ and I’ve always played a big spectrum of sounds, I don’t mind being called it in any way, but branding things only limits the size of your music imagination. For me, progressive djs always play fresh, melodic, groovy and hypnotic stuff, and that always changes, and that is what makes it interesting all the time.
What was the biggest turning point of your career?
I had many at different levels
– My first ever residencies at Filia, Sabash and Cinema in Argentina were crucial to became the DJ I am today.
– The clubland residency at Pacha Buenos Aires was my highest point in the Argentinian scene and a great window to the DJ world.
– Going on tour worldwide with Oakenfold in ’99 was the start of my global career, then i moved to Europe signed to Perfecto/Cream and Renaissance and you know the rest …
– Starting my own label Sudbeat.
What advice would you give to an up in coming inspiring DJ / artist?
Music personality is crucial, it is like your last name, people should hear it and know how you sound. You need to be known by that musical identity. Learn from the pro´s, but never copy them. Be patient, good things to those who wait. Overnight DJ success doesn’t last long.