Nic Chagall and Bossi, better known as Cosmic Gate, are an unparalleled DJing Duo who have completed 20 years of their incredible journey in 2019. Killing it at the biggest festivals and drawing the attention of a worldwide audience, Cosmic Gate is as dreamy a pair as their name suggests. In a candid and honest conversation with Smriti Raizada, they spilled some secrets behind their glorious success through Forward Ever Backward Never.
Ex: Let’s start with what I am most curious about. How did you decide on the name ‘Cosmic Gate’?
CG: Back in 1998, we were in need of a project name. Since our tracks had some spacey elements, we thought it’d be cool to come up with something along those lines. So after some brainstorming, we came up with the name ‘Cosmic Gate’, not thinking this would be a brand we are known for and would DJ under still many years after!
Ex: Your journey started back in ‘99. What were the challenges you faced starting back in the day when electronic music had not really caught on with the masses?
CG: Actually, in Europe, especially in the 90s, trance was one of the most dominating genres. Guys like Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk, FerryCorsten (who we all still count as great friends to this day) have been flying the flag and maintaining long careers by just playing what they believed in. Clubbing and electronic music as a culture has changed and evolved a hell of a lot in the past two decades, you have to adapt to grow as artists and grow with your audience.
Ex: From ‘99, let’s talk about 2019 and with that your latest album, 20 Years [Forward Ever Backward Never]. What’s been the most special experience through that?
CG: To be honest, we feel it was the looking back and compiling everything over our two decade career! When we first started going back and going over our old live sets, tracks that were left off albums and certain early productions in the studio, it was so nostalgic! I think we really wanted it to not just be packaged as a ‘Best Of’ in the sense that we always want to improve and deliver something fresh and exciting for our fans, but also nodding to where we came from and so, ‘Forward Ever, Backward Never’ was born.
Ex: I am sure you’ve seen some major music evolution since you started out. What role do you think technology has to play in that transition?
CG: I think technology has made everything, especially as a touring act, a lot easier. Gone are the days of carrying around heavy vinyl to and from the club and of course, developments in DAWs, various software and even just working “on the go” have been amazing. But we do miss the days when everything was “classically”, there felt like a lot more workmanship and like artists studied their craft more – but times change and we’re happy to still be here and embracing these changes.
Ex: How would you describe your sound? What’s unique about it?
CG: If we have to give it a label, we would say “progressive trance”. We always try to push boundaries, push things forward and develop our sound, but still stay original and loyal to our roots.
Ex: So, one song that I can not stop tapping my feet to is Be Your Sound which was also a track after which you got globally recognized. Can you take me through your creative process during this collaboration?
CG: Thank you! We still remember the moment Emma Hewitt sent us this amazing vocal, she wrote on our demo. We got goosebumps all over our bodies and had immediately the feeling that this will be something special. As you might know, we love long breaks (haha!), breaks that keep building and building before the big lead melody drops in. For the verses we felt, it needed a little bit darker feel, as her voice is deeper, which was actually perfect for us, as we love to have some punch beats in our tracks. In the studio we always let us guide by our feelings and experiences as DJs, we already imagine the track in a live setting at a club or a big festival.
Ex: Being in a creative field requires constantly looking for inspiration and new ideas. How do you overcome your creative block?
CG: After all these years we have learned one thing – you cannot “force it”. If we are in the studio and we are stuck, we either stop and go outside have a coffee, go to the gym, meet a friend or whatever helps to free our minds – or we just close that one track project and re-visit another project. We are also so lucky to have such a great team behind us that in the worst case if we don’t make deadlines, the team always makes it work!
Ex: Touring is part of the territory for music artists. What’s the best and worst thing about performing live for an audience?
CG: The best thing is seeing the joy you can bring an audience or crowd, no matter if in a tiny club or on a festival main stage. There is no feeling like it! The worst thing would be being away from family or jet lag from travelling, but that is part of the vocation and doing what we love, you know?
Ex: Playing a set as a DJ duo probably comes with conflicting opinions. How do you work through that?
CG: Haha, to be honest, we’re in a “musical marriage”. 99% of the time we have the same feelings and opinions about music. And if one of us is stuck, the other always comes up with a good idea. I guess that’s why we are still around, even after 20 years 😉
- What are you most looking forward to in 2020?
To release our new single “Your Mind”, coming March 20th and fourth edition of our mix series “Wake Your Mind Sessions” (release April 17th). And to play all these amazing events we are confirmed for this year, we have a huge festival run this summer. So bring it on! 😀
- Most expensive tech buy?
Our new fully loaded MacBook Pro 16inch as a mobile and stationary studio supercomputer.
- Car you own and the one you’d like to get?
We Uber, lol!
- Who’s owning the electronic music scene currently?
The scene is owned by Techno and Deephouse, Solomun, MaceoPlex, Adam Beyer etc.
- Your favorite female DJ in the industry?
Brazil’s Anna, she’s doing great stuff!
- A Cosmic Gate song you could listen to on a loop?
‘Lost in Music‘ from our first album – ‘Rhythm & Drums‘.