Music History

Hernán Cattáneo Is Coming From Around the Globe to It'll Do Club

Argentinian DJ Hernán Cattáneo will be rocking the dance floor at It'll Do on Feb.12.
Argentinian DJ Hernán Cattáneo will be rocking the dance floor at It'll Do on Feb.12. Juan Pablo Soler
Hopping between the northern and southern hemispheres is a good life if you can swing it — galivanting Argentinians hit Uruguay beaches in January when it’s summer and the Colorado Rockies in February in the thick of winter. While Hernán Cattáneo’s wife and daughters are shredding black diamond runs in Aspen, the padrino of Latin America DJs is fireside working on his weekly podcast.

The pride of Buenos Aires debuts 10 new tracks every week for the podcast he calls Resident, and he never plays a track twice.
“My podcast gives me new chance to promote new producers from all over the world — South America, Sri Lanka, Australia, everywhere. It gives me a chance to show the world new music,” says Cattáneo from the warmth of his Colorado cabin.

He's not as great a skier as his wife and daughters, but he is the best DJ in the family. Even with competition such as Ricardo Villalobos, Luciano and DJ Marky, Cattáneo’s still the most celebrated South American DJ to date. He was the resident DJ at the legendary Pachá nightclub in Buenos Aires in the late '90s when headliner Paul Oakenfold came to town. “Oakie” appreciated Cattáneo’s command of the controls so much that he asked him to join his world tour as an opener — just as Oakenfold had toured the world as U2's opener in 1992 on their Zoo TV Tour, Cattáneo took off by opening for the OG superstar DJ.

“I kindly told Pachá  ownership that I was leaving for three months to play on Oakenfold’s world tour," Cattáneo recalls with a laugh. "I was respectful because I wanted to have my residency when I returned, but I didn’t come back for 15 years."

Oakenfold discovered what everyone in Buenos Aires already knew — Cattáneo is an elite-level DJ with an incredible ability to manage energy, tell stories and set moods. His sound leans melodic, but he uses nuance to create big moments. Once the global tour ended, the word was out on Cattáneo’s ability and then it was 200-plus international gigs a year for 20 years.

"I was respectful because I wanted to have my residency when I returned, but I didn’t come back for 15 years." – DJ Hernán Cattáneo

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For the DJ, one of the lucky few to have lapped the globe a few dozen times, it’s the unique, different and unexpected places that leave an impression. Texas is that for Cattáneo because he initially gave little thought to places not named New York, Miami or Los Angeles. But once he got his boots dirty in the Lone Star State with gigs in El Paso, Austin and Dallas he gained a greater appreciation for North America’s diversity.

“A DJ friend of mine [Sasha] told me about It’ll Do Club before I played there for the first time," Cattáneo says ahead of his Feb. 12 gig at the Dallas club. "He said good things and then I got there and I could see that the people who built it knew what they’re doing,”

The Cattáneo Family’s Aspen winter getaway is almost over. Then it’s a Friday gig at Sound in Los Angeles and Saturday at It’ll Do Club, which breaks a four-year Dallas drought for Cattáneo.

“I always give my best when I perform and that’s what I’m chasing," he says. "Some people will fall in love on the dance floor and others will break up, which means some people will have amazing nights and others not so much, but my 100-percent effort is always there.”
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Elvis Anderson has written for the Observer since 2016. A music fan, he's an advocate for The Woody Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that improves the lives of the paralyzed.
Contact: Elvis Anderson