Inside look On Hernan Cattaneo, Nick Warren And Audiofly’s Event During ADE
In the lead-up to Free Your Mind’s bigger than life ADE label showcase we’ve decided to gather all the label honcho’s and have a chat. This event is already being called Amsterdance Dance Event’s biggest progressive house gathering, which looking at all the joining labels is right on point. There’s just a bit less then a month to go so let’s dive in!
Hello everyone, thanks for joining us today, how are you and what are you up to this week?
Nick: Hello! I am just back from a US tour including Burning Man which was epic, followed by some days decompressing at Lake Tahoe. Just catching up with some promos and things happening on my two labels, and tomorrow I’m heading to the north of Russia for a weeks fly-fishing in the middle of nowhere. No phone signal or wi-fi and I can’t wait.
Hernan: Hey there, all good . I’m in Ibiza for the DJ awards , last night got lucky to pick up one myself for best progressive DJ and one for Argentina’s dance scene.
Anthony: I’m just heading home, back to BCN after a couple of weeks of rest in Tulum. My better half and I, decided that it was a good year to skip the dessert and recharge on a beach instead. Had some FOMO though. Hehehe
Luca: I am very good but tired: I literally just got back home from Burning Man and I can’t even describe to you how good it feels that I was able to go again. I am so happy About the whole experience but also happy to be back home now. Loads to do:-)
This is quite the special gathering you guys have set up for ADE this year. Tell us about what you have planned and who we can expect to see on the line-up?
Nick: Thank you, we are so excited! Our festival at Thuishaven, together with The Soundgarden, Sudbeat and Flying Circus will be a whole heap of fun, with tons of our label artists from Ibiza, Argentina, the UK etc. On top of that, Flying Circus have put together a cracking line up for their stage.
Hernan: Well, I think we have a great program for this year, like the usual Sudbeat & Soungarden showcase artist and the great addition of flying circus. I’m sure all of our fans will have a great time with such amount of great DJ’s!
Audiofly: Actually, this is a very big one for us and it really was such a pleasure to be invited to such a beautiful gathering with some of the most iconic artists alongside ourselves. Blondish, Atish (for the afterparty section), Unders, Tal Ohana and a very special guest. We will have very special decorations and projections. We want to make the whole experience a memorable one and we are working round the clock to allow this happen.
The music industry can be a selfish place at times, certain parties may even view it as a competition in a way and yet three of the biggest brands in progressive music have come together for this event. How did the idea for such an event initially materialize and why does now feel like the right time to do it?
Nick: The Soundgarden and Sudbeat have had many brilliant years doing our showcases together at ADE and wanted to step it up this year and invite our friends from Flying Circus to join. In the previous years, our events have always sold out in advance, leaving many friends and fans without a ticket so we now have double the capacity and 3 stages of amazing music.
Hernan: Honestly i never (ever) thought of our scene as a competition. Maybe other scenes are, but not ours.. Actually it’s the contrary for me , and most of us contribute to each other and push each other. Probably the trendy scenes might be like that , but we are all very united. We interact a lot within the style and labels like Soundagrden, Lost & Found, Natura Sonoris, Plattenbank, etc just to name a few and of course all the DJs involved. In the end, we are all in the same boat, and we can only benefit from helping each other and pushing our sound since there is way more things in common than with any others.
Anthony: I think the key to a happy long life and career is to avoid selfish people (laughs). That kind of energy never leads to “life fulfilled” and the heart of the musician is essentially seeking collaboration at all times. We are pretty happy that gravity has brought this event together
Luca: Petra (the manager of Soundgarden and Nick’s wife) approached us with this idea a while ago and we really jumped at the chance to be part of it. We really don’t see it as a competition. More of union of likeminded brands that come together under one roof to be able to offer a unique experience both musically and visually. Both Nick and Hernan are huge legends and it’s really a pleasure to be able to do this all together.
What can you tell us about Thuishaven, it’s quite a unique location is it not?
Nick: I’ve had the pleasure to play at Thuishaven a few times and it’s truly a unique location, like a festival ground but within the city limits.
Hernan: We’ve been doing great shows at Panama for many years, but lately it started to run a bit small for our fans, then Nick came telling me last year about there was an interest to have our ADE show there and then Guy J also did an event and came super happy so we moved forward with Jeroen and his crew.
Anthony: It’s perfect for this event
Luca: Thuishaven it’s definitely one of the best venues in Amsterdam and one that reflects our brand Flying Circus perfectly. It’s no coincidence that we’re taking the Circus stage on that day to create something truly spectacular. Some venues match a certain music philosophy to the dot and Thuishaven is the perfect spot for us to host Flying Circus.
You’ve all played in Amsterdam numerous times. How has the Dutch crowd been for you in the past?
Nick: The Dutch are always a great crowd to play for but of course the ADE week is full of all nationalities and loads of friends from all over the globe.
Hernan: Everyone knows that i love Dutch club scene and their clubbers and i have some of my best shows every year in this country. From Woodstock 69, to Loveland, the ADE Showcase , or Markantine, no show ever fails to deliver- Its definitely in my top 5 cities in the world to play. The Dutch are super cool clubbers with a great mix of ages and knowledge of music and they perfectly know how to have fun.
Anthony: Amsterdam has always been kind to us, as has the Dutch crew. It’s always a pleasure to return. Particularly I remember a couple of Dutch “beach” moments… Amazing parties indeed!
Luca: Simply one of the best! We have worked in the city for as long as we can remember and the crowd reaction to our music has always left us with a huge smile on our faces. It’s difficult to describe but the Dutch really have a love for dance music that is totally unmatched anywhere else and for that reason it gives us huge pleasure to perform for them.
When you do visit Amsterdam, is there a certain place, perhaps a restaurant that you try and visit? What are a few of your favourite spots in the city?
Nick: If I am awake on time, I love to head to the Noordermarkt Saturday market to browse the stalls of all kinds of delicacies, art and vintage stuff, followed by apple cake and coffee at De Winkel. The parks are amazing too, and there are too many good restaurants to mention!
Hernan: I have my great friend Pablo , and Argie living in Amsterdam, he is a real foodie and always take me to great restaurants , many of them Japanese including Kaiko and Yamazato. I really like this city and the people here. When I come with my family, we go a lot to the parks, last summer we did a lot around. My wife is half Dutch and so our 3 daughters are all Dutch nationals, my brother in law lives in Amsterdam too, so we could live here easily. The weather is the only thing that would put me off to move here one day.
Anthony: We really don’t get to spend much leisure time in the city. Sadly it’s just in and out, often. I do really like Dutch vegan food – They are very creative! In Particular The golden Temple vegetarian restaurant (which looks like a dream I keep having) and Waaghals. It’s hard to find good veggie food sometimes.
Luca: I really Love going for a walk around the Canals, both during the day and a night. It’s both relaxing and entertaining as there are numerous spots to stop at to eat, take pictures or just really taking it all in. Amsterdam is just a great city and I’d love to spend more time there in the future and get to know more of it.
What are your thoughts on the progressive house and melodic techno music that’s being released at the moment? And where do you see the sound going in the next year?
Nick: There are lots of blurred lines between the two and I generally try to not focus on genres anyway. Some of the melodic techno lacks the soul I look for in tracks but it’s great that the more melodic side is proving so popular in 2018.
Hernan: Well, I never think a lot on music styles but the way of play the tracks and of course mine is definitely progressive. I understand trendy DJs want to have their style names but its all really the same once you played with sense, style and coherence.
As for where is going, lately there been tons of tracks from those “styles” you mention that became really formulaic and boring – they sound good, but they lack of really attractive grooves and melodies, so I guess ( and hope) all this new young producers start making less amount of tracks but better ones musically- Many times the same guy sent me too many average tracks instead of one really good one, and that is a waste of everyone’s time.
Anthony: I’m very into the music that’s being released in these genres right now. It’s almost like it’s come full circle again and everyone is enjoying the melodic spectrum. The thing to watch out for is of course the monotony that can follow in the footsteps of any fashion. Repetition always leads to stagnation so we should all stay focused on releasing solid original material …. as always
Luca: Actually I remember like it was yesterday when the word progressive used to be considered a “dirty” word, but as everything in life this has a phase, as now it’s back in vogue. The truth is, the major exponents of the scene have been supporting this style for ages and it has always had huge support in the background. When we first appeared in the scene, people used to label us progressive, then tech house or this and that. The truth is, labels only exist to make it easier for people to put you into a box. For us the most important things when we hear a track is how good it sounds and what sort of reaction they will get on the floor. And if it fits with our musical philosophy. We don’t care much for labels really. Good music is where we are at.
I think you are all known for playing music that would be considered timeless so what elements do you feel are most crucial in creating it?
Nick: It’s that magic groove I’m always looking for, it’s hard to explain which tracks tick the box but when you hear them you just know.
Hernan: Absolutely. As I said before, it’s a way of playing music. If you check the names in one of my sets you will find a big variety of so called styles from deep house, tech house, prog, techno, trance, etc but in the end , its a long mix of groovy melodic music.
Anthony: I think that the most important thing is good musicality. Even if you end up burying a “hook” in effects or so low in the mix that it’s hardly audible. It’s still there doing it’s work subtly. Space and Breath are also undervalued in creating music that stands the test of time.
Luca: For me it’s how much music manages to touch you on an emotional level. I personally never go to the studio unless I have a certain feeling or an idea that allows me to produce it. I always say this: music creates itself. We are just the messengers in charge to put this out to a wide range of people. What makes music timeless is how one specific piece manages to put people all in the same mood. That’s why, ultimately is one of the strongest forms of communication we have as human beings.
Would you consider yourselves DJs first and then a producer? and do you think it’s difficult to make it as a DJ today without releasing your own music?
Nick: Always been a DJ first although I’m constantly producing as well, both under Way Out West with Jody and on my own. I think for any upcoming DJ to become better-known, it definitely does help to release tracks.
Hernan: I’m a DJ and sometimes co producer, I never make music alone , I’m not a musician. When I made it to the international DJ scene it was all about your DJing but now since there is so many DJs and producers all over the world, the best and faster way to get yourself known is to make great tracks .
For example , if you only DJ, it will take you more than a year to play all the key markets and make people be exposed to your sound , while if you produce a standout track , many DJs will be playing it and in 3/4 months you will be worldwide known by the key people of the scene.
Anthony: I don’t think we should be splitting the two up. They are two sides of the same thing. There used to be a difference but now it’s all or nothing mostly. (Secretly I’m a producer first and foremost!!)
Luca: Personally yes! For me producing came always as a way to enhance my DJ sets and I don’t really spend that much time in a studio to be able to call myself a producer. On the other side, I spend countless hours a week looking for music that will make my DJ sets that much better every time. It’s almost like an addiction. I cannot stop and it’s what drives me every week to perform in front of our audiences.
You are all extremely successful in your respective careers, how has your perception of success changed over the course of reaching the level you’ve achieved now?
Nick: Thank you! If I’m honest I’m never really thinking about it, I’m just concentrating on the music but I am extremely grateful for having had such an amazing career on doing the thing I love.
Hernan: I was never really an ambitious person, so I get where I am because I’m very passionate about sharing the music I like and very stubborn too. At many moments I thought WOW , look where I am or what I achieved, but then you quickly realize that is the day to day what makes you successful. When i was younger I was thinking being on the cover of a mag could mean you made it, but then you realize that this is short term success and the really important one is the long term one. As many said before me, its not that difficult to reach a peak, but its hard to stay there
Anthony: I am extremely lucky in that I’m not a career driven person. I’m in it for the music all the way. I mean, in the early stages there always that need to find stability, economically and in lifestyle but soon after that it becomes a question of how much art can be done (enjoyed, lived and breathed) as that’s the driving force in my life….creativity. I love performance side too but there’s gotta be a balance and I’d hate to think that our careers will become based on our social media feeds – that, for me, would be failure! Looking into the future, my evaluation of success will depend on “the art” and how happy it makes me.
Luca: Success is only relative to your own perception of it. It’s a very personal thing. I always strive to better myself in line of what I believe in and success around it. Throughout the years, success never came in the form of huge financial rewards or fame to us. It kept is grounded and humble. On a career level success means to be able to perform every weekend to a different audience and never have to compromise on your art. On a personal level it means being able to accept your limitations and feeling satisfied with everything that we have achieved through the years.
Our readers are always on the hunt for fresh new talents, who are some up and coming artists to look out for?
Nick: Nicolas Rada, Stillhead, Steppenwolf, Erdi Imak for example.
Hernan: There are many ones to watch luckily! I will mention some Argentineans like Kevin Di Serna, Ditian, Memory Ezequiel Arias, Antrim and many more.
Audiofly: Through both of our labels we are lucky enough to get exposed to a wide array of artists that truly deserve to be discovered. To mention but a few: Fluida is a double act from UK that performs live and makes very organic music. Timujin is originally Russian but now lives in London and his making some of the most inventive music out there. His latest EP on Flying Circus has been a staple of our sets for months and he’s definitely got the style. Brian Cid lives in NYC but jails from Latin America and you can definitely tell through his original productions. Unique editing and a clever use of samples make this producer one to watch for in the next coming months. Fluida and Brian Cid were the catalyst for us getting motivated to re-launch the Supernature Label and definitely deserve the accolade of being the first acts in over 2 years to be featured on the label.
What have been some of your biggest tracks to play in 2018 so far?
Nick: Black 8 “Sandwaves” on The Soundgarden and Davi’s remix of Hernan’s recent release with Soundexile.
Hernan: too many to mention, but to say a variety of sounds, stuff from Patrice Baumel, Sebastien Leger or Tripswitch been constantly really good.
Anthony: Probably Santiago García – Monday Morning and I’m not gonna stop playing it cause you all know it now! (laughs)
Luca: Without a doubt Martin Waslewski & Ole Biege – Railstreet and our own Timujin Katana. Both tracks have been constantly played by us and have destroyed dance floors everywhere.
The sun is setting on another amazing summer season, what have been some of season’s highlights for you guys? Were any of you at Burning Man this year?
Nick: Festivals are always great fun, like the Chill O’posite on the mountains in Egypt. The Soundgarden had some amazing events in Ibiza and a cool rooftop party in Bristol etc, and Burning Man was absolutely brilliant.
Luca: There have been so many: the opening of black coffee at Hï was insane, Sunwaves festival a couple of weeks back, playing extrema festival under torrential rain was quite the experience too. As I mentioned before, I just came back from Burning Man and once again it was one of those experiences that you wish it would never end. Is that special !!!
What was the last physical release you purchased? And can you remember the first?
Nick: A rare 12 inch remix of Wings “Let Em In” on vinyl. The first one
Hernan: First was Chic – Cast Chic, last one was Sasha´s Refracted.
Anthony: Just got the new LUM album… it’s a good ride!! A fantastic World influenced journey. As for the first, can you believe my first ever vinyl purchase was an audiobook called Jonathan a Livingston seagull… yeah. Not so cool. (laughs). Actually it’s a beautiful story narrated by Sir Richard Attenborough. Blew my mind as a child…
Luca: The last physical release was LUM’s album. The very first one? In absolute was Guns N’ Roses Appetite For Destruction when I was 13 years old. My first vinyl ever was probably MAW to be in love.
What do you love most about the industry as it sits today and what would you say it’s lacking?
Nick: A lot of the industry is like a big family and great to work with. I think there’s a lack of financial investment in upcoming producers and DJ’s.
Hernan: Its very big and democratic , anyone can make a good track and be exposed. More quality is always something we all should aim for. Then some quality big live acts would help too, like you had Underworld , Chemical Brothers or Faithless back in the day –
Luca: love how this scene has been able to evolve from illegal rave parties 30 years ago to the multimillion dollars industry that it is today. I love that when I go to any party around world, I can watch multiple nationalities and people of various sexual orientation able to coexist amongst each other. I love that this industry gives chance to unknown artists on a regular basis as long as you’re talented and unique. You can watch new names come up almost weekly. I love that I was able to live the life I live thanks to this scene. I will leave the discussion about what’s lacking to Anthony (laughs)
Anthony:: What I love Most About this industry is that one day I realized it’s a job for life if you want. Let’s be honest, none of the first wave actually thought they’d still be doing this after we reached a certain age….I definitely thought it was something for my youth. I didn’t realize how long youth lasted! Still going young here. What’s lacking is more women in the industry. The scene needs that feminine energy … especially on the set production side. But just in general really!
What person from your daily life is your greatest source of inspiration and why?
Nick: My partner Petra is such a huge support of everything I do and her work with The Soundgarden
Hernan: My family
Anthony:: My father and my girlfriend both inspire me equally. My father is the man I want to become (when I grow up). Gentle, kind, non judgmental…so zen and my girl, Chanel, she shows me how to get there! (laughs)
Luca: They actually change daily (laughs) but my parents, my partner Anthony and my girlfriend Bianca are the people I draw most of my inspiration from as they always give me unconditional love no matter what I do.
What are the biggest challenges you face as top tier touring DJs?
Nick: Keeping your head clear and not getting carried away with any fame that comes your way and realizing its all about the music.
Hernan: Being away from wife and kids – the only one I can think of
Anthony:: Staying healthy and writing enough music are the only real worries. Eating healthy (which can get difficult if you have specific dietary requirements like being Vegan or vegetarian) travelling as well, sleeping in good beds and being in good condition when we get back so we can continue to produce good music. That’s it!
Luca: there are countless occupational hazards we face daily but traveling Constantly has to be the one thing that ultimately takes it all out of you. It’s exhausting.
Looking back on your long storied careers, what do you know now that you wish you’d known at the beginning?
Nick: To relax and trust the path.
Hernan: No hurries, no stress , its not about instant success. Its a long career and its about being relevant for many many years .
Anthony: It’s highly likely that the best music you ever produce will be at the beginning of ones career. It may not be the best produced but it will be the most sincere and non-strategic, no holds- barred art you ever make. The more you tour and the more you generally have to think about it, the less headspace and heart space there is left in you for music. And with the arrival of the third leg; social media… there’s even less time or focus on the important stuff. So make hay while the sun shines.
Luca: Don’t look at other people’s career and wish that you could do the same. Biggest mistake of humans is to wish what other people have.
What can you tell us about what’s coming up on your respective labels for the remainder of the year?
Nick: The Soundgarden will release an ADE compilation in October and continue to have 2 releases a month going into 2019, next up being Steppenwolf and Stillhead. On the events side, we will do our first-ever event in Egypt and then head to Argentina, which is probably our favourite country and also the fresh winner of Dance Nation of the year Award.
Hernan: We have the Showcrates compilation ADE edition full of really good tracks plus singles from Alex O’Rion, Nick Varon, James Gill and John Cosani all this year.
Audiofly: We are reopening Supernature with a full schedule with some of the above mentioned artists. There will be a various artist compilation coming on Flying Circus called Across Borders that will definitely blow your mind. Watch this space for it.
Source: PROGRESSIVE ASTRONAOUT