A party at Pestana CR7 Funchal wouldn’t be the same without DJ Hernandez. He sets the tone, he plans every music event of the Pestana Hotel Group in Madeira, he travels the world and he is a big fan of Cristiano Ronaldo. Now he is celebrating 30 years as a DJ. Can you hear the crowd? They are cheering you up. Hernandez.
How did you become a DJ?
I have chosen this job at 12 years-old at my friend’s birthday parties. They wanted to chase girls to kiss and tell, and I was like chasing their parents’ vinyl records collections. Then I had the idea of choosing music for the parties.
So it was a hobby that escalated into your profession.
It started to go so well that at 14, 15 years old, I had my first job in a hotel. It was a new year’s eve – this year I complete my 30th anniversary as a DJ. I love music, I love vinyl. This is what I always wanted to do.
I did play it and guess what? Ronaldo was on the other side of the crowd and he made a gesture at me, showing me that he liked that music.DJ Hernandez
And later you became a music planner for all Pestana Hotels in Madeira Island, right?
Yes, I coordinate the new hotels in Madeira, including Pestana CR7 Funchal. At 16 I have worked in Bacará, a disco of Casino Madeira, but I couldn´t stay because legally I was too young to work in a Casino. Then I worked in matinees, they were a huge thing in Funchal. And then the club owners heard about me and invited me. I have worked in Vespas, Molhe (the best spot back then). Meanwhile, I started working in Russia, Berlin, Paris, Spain, and the Asian market… In 2006, I played at a party in the Guggenheim Museum.
People heard your music and invited you to all those places?
Right. At the time, there was no Internet. People came on holiday or had a friend and they asked me to do a tape. From there, the invitations started popping.
After that, I had vinyl shops here in Madeira, I also have radio shows at Radio Clube do Funchal: Thank God It’s Friday on Fridays, with a disco sound and funk tone; and SAT 10 68 on Saturdays, a more experimental show, broadcasting new artists. And I have two music record labels, one more experimental, minimal and techno here in Madeira – Frequência – and one more wide-ranging and house music in Macau – Side FX Records.
Wait, how did the Asian market show up in the picture?
I lived in Macau – I was invited to stay for 3 months and ended up living there for 2 years. I worked at the Sky 21 Club and started working in the region: China, Thailand, Malaysia… we did big events in Casinos and Hotels. It was a really good experience. When I returned to Madeira, I opened a bar in Funchal. But then I was introduced to the Pestana CR7 project and I was astounded with the ambition and, of course, with Cristiano Ronaldo, who is an idol for all of us.
How do you define the public here in Funchal?
People here do not dance much. They leave home late and they are not very emotional. When we have a big event at the Hotel with guests, we quickly have a great atmosphere by 10 or 11 PM. But when we work with locals, the rhythm only starts much later. And it is remarkable, sometimes it´s hard to captivate them but when we succeed, it’s quite a party.
Parties here at Pestana CR7 are kind of a reference in Madeira’s nightlife, aren’t they?
Yes, we are a reference. Regarding logistics, we have an amazing space, parking and we are in Madeira’s best avenue. And we have had some good events like Friday Calling, giving a chance to Madeira new bands to be a part of a TV and Radio show.
Have you met Cristiano Ronaldo?
Yeah, many years ago. He has been an idol to me since a very young age. I remember picking him up at the door of Vespas because the doorman wouldn´t let him in, being so young. I had a very special moment at the Hotel’s opening. The rooftop was full of people and I was in doubt if I should play one of my favorite music because I didn´t know if it was suitable for that moment. But I did play it and guess what? Ronaldo was on the other side of the crowd and he made a gesture at me, showing me that he liked that music. I also remember that there was a woman in a wheelchair since the beginning of the party and that he, in the end, gave her a soccer ball and a t-shirt. She must have been super happy.
I lived in Macau for 2 years and I started working in the region: China, Thailand, Malaysia. It was a really good experience.DJ Hernandez
That was nice! Tell us, what do you usually ask at the Pestana CR7 Bar?
Our cocktails are pretty good! I really like our Negroni and Daiquiri. Unfortunately, I cannot drink while I am working!
Besides music, what is the one thing that makes you happy?
Swimming. As we live on an island, I swim every day. It inspires me.
How do you like spending your vacation?
I’m in love with Asia. I usually split my vacations in two: one to know the nightlife, the clubs, the record shops; and the other to disconnect, to go to bed at 8 PM and wake up at 5 AM so I can enjoy the travel, the food, the places.
And where do you imagine being 10 years from now?
10 years from now, I would like to play in Pestana CR7 New York on Mondays, Pestana CR7 Funchal on Wednesdays, Pestana CR7 Ibiza on Saturdays and Pestana CR7 Lisboa on Sundays.