For the latest installment to the vaunted Masters Series, Renaissance once again called on Hernan Cattaneo, and he responded by delivering his finest mix compilation to date. Data Transmission connected with Hernan to dig deeper into his creative process as well as discuss the forecast for his Sudbeat label, B2B gigs with Nick Warren, New Year’s gig plans and also who he believes is worthy of continuing the Renaissance Masters legacy.
Renaissance celebrated its twentieth anniversary this year. How has your partnership with the label evolved over the years, and what are the label’s strengths?
I think the best thing about them is that they’ve kept quality as the common denominator in all their releases over such a long period of time- maybe longer than anyone else. I’ve been working with them for a decade now, and it always felt like it was the right place for the music I like to play and produce.
Was this time around much different compared to compiling and arranging your previous Renaissance mixes? Were there any obstacles?
Not really. The bigger downside has always been to make the final list when you need to leave many tracks out that you like a lot. I’ve been very lucky to work with great producers and labels, and they’ve all been very supportive of my compilations over the years.
For the first disc of your latest Masters Series compilation, you revisit a technique you first explored on your 2010 Parallel release where you converted club tracks into more chilled pieces by slowing the tempo from the original speed of 125-128 bpm to 103-105 bpm. Was this a challenging process?
I’ve always liked the slower stuff and thought that some club tracks would work perfectly at that tempo. Luckily, these days technology allows you to manipulate things in such a way that you can do almost anything without compromising sound quality like never before. The only challenge is to fit all those great tracks into 78 minutes without making something that sounds like a mash-up, since that’s not the idea. It’s very exciting to work with producers when you are allowed to ask them to adjust their tracks to fit your own ideas.
For this compilation, you edited and remixed a total of eight tracks- mostly with Argentinian production duo Soundexile. Can you give a little insight into your creative dynamic in the studio?
Well, I live in Europe and they’re in Argentina so we don´t spend as much time together as we would like. However, since we know each other very well we are able to work perfectly long-distance with a little help from iChat. Normally the process starts with me throwing out some ideas and they create some demos to start the back and forth until we find the right path of sounds and arrangements.
Have you ever considered presenting this downtempo side of your sound at a gig- perhaps in a daytime setting?
Sure, I actually played a couple of gigs this year where the approach was that. Cafe Mambo in Ibiza for example is a place where slower beats work amazingly well.
Looking ahead to 2013, are there plans to incorporate more of this chugging downtempo sound into your productions and remixes?
It really depends on each case. It’s not that I plan to do it or not do it. If something comes along that we think will work better at that tempo, we’ll definitely consider it that way. As I’ve said, I really like the way things sound at 100 bpm, and the more atmospheric or cinematic and hypnotic sounds are just perfect for that approach.
In addition to your edits on the downtempo disc, you contributed three original tracks ‘Infoxication,’ ‘Citycism’ and ‘Altair’ to the more driving club disc. Are there plans for a proper release for any of these?
Yes, they’re all coming soon on Sudbeat. We have some awesome remixes to go along with each of them, and we are very excited about those releases in the first quarter 2013.
I remember when Parallel came out you said you were getting ‘closer’ to a time when an artist album was a real possibility for you. Considering the volume of original tracks you’ve produced for this Masters Series in a fairly short time, how far away is an artist album for you at this point in your career?
You are right. I said that, and it’s still true. We could have done that now, but Renaissance called first. :) Sooner or later that album will show up. The music is constantly in the making, and I´m working on many different collaborations so at some point it will go all together in one package.
The next Masters Series installment will be mixed by Nick Warren. You two have developed a real synergy- particularly this year- with your B2B gigs including ADE as well as the Ministry of Sound, London gigs. Have you made any plans to play together or perhaps even tour together in 2013?
There are already many bookings together for 2013. The energy and atmosphere of the shows have been formidable, and since we’ve known each other for a long time and we are good friends things come very easily and naturally. Everybody seems to enjoy those B2B shows a lot, and the shows in Ibiza, London and ADE were magnificent.
You and Nick seem to be in a very similar place musically- being able to express ideas through downtempo music in addition to your respective deep, melodic club sounds. Have you ever discussed collaborating on new music?
That is something that can happen anytime. We are friends and both like a lot of sounds in common. He did a track for Sudbeat and will do a follow up soon.
Your Sudbeat label has just released Eelke Klein’s “Rauwdouwer” track backed with a punishing Christian Smith remix. What can we expect from the label to finish off 2012 and beyond?
2012 has been the best year so far for us. We’ve been getting extraordinary reactions, and the number of sales and supporters in the international DJ community is growing non-stop. Our final single this year will be out for Christmas and comes from Japan´s Taisuke Chiba along with a super cool remix from Vincenzo that I´m sure all of our followers will love.
What are your New Year’s plans?
End on the year will be spent at the extraordinary Warung Beach Club in Brazil (12/28) and Playa del Carmen in Mexico at the Blue Parrot (12/31), where two years ago I played one of my best gigs in ages. I really cannot wait to be there again!
Of the up-and-coming talent you’ve worked with, who do you feel would be worthy of a future Masters Series compilation down the road?
Guy Gerber, Guy J and Henry Saiz
Keep up to date with Hernan Cattaneo via his official website.
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