The perfect union of musical minds, one karmic meeting in a recording studio resulted in Cosmic Gate’s Big Bang moment. It set brothers-in-sound Nic Chagall and Bossi on a rapidly expanding path – one that’s seen them evolve into Germany’s most consistently successful electronic music duo. It’s catapulted their Cosmological productions to the highest reaches of the official sales charts and seen them remix the compositions of revered Hollywood composers such as ‘Avatar’s James Horner. Through their atomic on-stage synergy, Nic & Bossi have created countless unforgettable dance floor nights. They’ve sold out arenas & festival halls, conquered EDM capitals, hosted their own stages at major festivals and 10 years into their career became the highest climbers on DJ Mag’s Top 100 chart. Driven by their hugely received albums, club-busting singles (incl. ‘Not Enough Time’, ‘Body of Conflict’ and ‘Over The Rainbow’) and scene-defining classics ‘Be Your Sound’, ‘Fire Wire’ and ‘Exploration of Space’, their place in EDM’s hall of fame has long since been secured.
What inspired you to start producing trance music?
Trance vibes are just what happens mainly when we write music, what can we say…Trance is the music that simply touches us the most, but in all honesty, we do see Trance a bit differently to most people, that would maybe see or describe it more like a certain kind of genre, which today is mainly the 138 sound…For us Trance is more of a feeling though, it’s less genre-bound, Trance is something a track does to us, a feeling it creates in us…some of Eric Prydz’s music for example, sure no Trance in a common way, we feel it and play it though, really dig it, it tickles our spine, and that’s how we produce our music, we want the music to touch us and hopefully our listener, our goal is not to satisfy certain genres, it’s to write hopefully good music that touches us first, and our fans and every new listener hopefully as well.
Throughout the years, you guys have made a lot of hits and a lot of singles. When you typically play a show, you do you guys mediate a ratio between classics and lesser known tracks?
That’s a good question. “Hey why didn’t you play this track or that track?” We wrote hundreds of tracks and we can play thirty in 2 hours max. How can we not miss out playing some tracks? We try to do our best to play the tracks that right now are the biggest for the majority of the tracks and our own feel and then some track that we haven’t played for a while, maybe we put it back in our set but then another falls out. It’s a bit of a curse to have a big catalog of tracks and remixes. You disappoint some fans by not playing some tracks or remixes but you have to. We can play maybe two hours and play just songs of ours which is great but a curse when It comes to short sets.
When you guys initially started your career, you guys started remixing a lot of artists that you wouldn’t normally expect Cosmic Gate to remix. Recently, it’s come out that you have an eclectic amount of remixes from guys like Alex Di Stefano, to Sunny Lax. Do you guys approve the remixers?
Actually, for 90%, when we ask guys to remix our songs, it’s mainly guys that we think would just do a good job in their specific kind of style. Alex Di Stefano, when we picked him he was just somewhere in the middle of trance, tech trance and he had his own style. We digged it. By that time it was just on point and what he did was a fantastic remix for us. Now he plays faster and very techy and right now we probably wouldn’t have picked him. What we play in our sets. We want a remix to work in our sets. We want to present something fresh, and not something totally obvious. Alex Di Stefano, yes. We like to get the fresh kids. Just do a good job. And they did fortunately.
If you were given an opportunity to collaborate with any of the guys you ended up working alongside in the 90’s, for instance, I know you collaborated with Ferry Corsten recently, and even Markus Schulz, who is in the building somewhere too. Who would you exactly chose?
In the end, collaborations sometimes one is two but sometimes you feel like you work with someone and it’s very easy and it never happens and then other people come and ask you “how is this gonna sound?’ but then its “hey I like you!”. Basically all of the people we work with we have a bit of a personal relationship with. It’s easier working when its someone coming with a big name, but you don’t know that person. Same with our management or our booking agents, we like to have a bit of a familiar kind of working atmosphere. We just click better with something. Ferry, Markus, all these guys, we’re always hanging out on tour. Who’s gonna be added to that group in the future? Let’s find out. We never like to talk about it before it’s really confirmed. There’s something in the making.
I listened to Materia Chapter One and Two back-to-back and every single track is impressive and it’s all cohesive. Was that the plan?
Yeah, we knew we had too many songs for one single album and when we decided to make it into two albums we knew they had to be tied together. We also like a wide range of music when it comes to trance. On every album, we have songs that are harder, like our track with Markus Schulz, and songs that are more mellow. That’s always a good way to build a journey and a vibe on an album.
What’s the fan reaction been to breaking this down into two separate albums?
Fan reaction has been great so far. I’m sure people appreciate that we’re not giving them sixteen tracks at once and are able to give them time to enjoy each track separately. Yeah, if you give them so many songs at once they might miss out on some songs that they otherwise may not have discovered.
I wanted to congratulate you guys on your over 2.5 million streams on Spotify with two tracks from Chapter.One, “am2pm” and “Fall Into You” with JES.
Thank you. It feels good because it’s not the average kind of sound that would get those kinds of streams. Those numbers show us that its right to do what we feel is good. “Fall Into You” is one of those songs that we feel people are still discovering and loving it. Usually, songs have about a 3-4 week lifespan and we have seen that this is one that keeps growing.
There has also been an extended mix release of both chapters. This gives these songs a breath of fresh air and really lets the listener understand the production of each track. Why did you release extended mixes?
It’s interesting that you say that because when we did the radio edit to “Fall Into You” we really struggled a little bit. We knew we had that amazing bassline and we didn’t know where to fit it. Sometimes it’s tough to make dance music radio friendly. That was one of the reasons we decided to release an extended mix of all the tracks.
What’s the most exciting thing about the upcoming release of your new album ‘Materia Chapter.Two’?
It’s a bit like an athlete that has trained for a special event for so long and can’t wait for it to start . . . that’s how we feel! We are excited for things to happen and finally fully share what we basically have been working on for the last year, which even after seven albums is still a very exciting moment for us. The album will be out September 1 and Australia will be first to celebrate this release with us!
What was the original idea that started Materia? Where did you draw inspiration from for the second chapter of Materia?
Materia is the Latin term for matter, so basically the substance that all things are made of, and in the end, the basics of everything around us and even ourselves as human beings. When we started the first songs and demos for the album we got a feeling that even with pushing our musical boundaries, the music felt very fundamentally Cosmic Gate. The sound is very much us if we can say that, a lot of modern bits and pieces from today with elements from around 5 to 7 years ago, but also reminiscent of some of our early Cosmic Gate sounds. Basically the best of our works form throughout the years brought together! Musically, it’s essential Cosmic Gate if we can call it that. That’s why we felt Materia was a great working title, and after a while we were like, hey . . . actually it’s better than just a working title, lets go for it! It’s different and simply reflects the music and our feel for what we were doing, and here we are. We get inspired by so many things. It can be a gig we play, a country we travelled to, an experience we make, a song we hear on the radio or in a DJ set of another artist. Last week for example, we heard an old classic track and fell in love again with the vocal and thought maybe we should play around with that vocal.
You’ve also collaborated with other amazing artists on the album including JES, Super8 & Tab and Eric Lumiere, just to name a few. When selecting either a vocalist or a featuring artist, how do you decide who you will work with?
At first there is always the musical aspect, the idea and creativity when working with another producer or singer. We simply have to all agree to head into the same direction – two visions in the end have to end up in a result that all sides are happy with. This is what we do like about working with other producers or singers, fresh inspiration and ideas from outside can be really refreshing and of course, add up to the variety we offer on our album. The second aspect is more personal, we do like to collaborate with people that we love hanging out with on tour. A good personal relationship does not guarantee success, but it sure makes working easier and more enjoyable too!
Before we go, is there anything you would like to talk about the future of Cosmic Gate? Any exclusives?
Well for the future, 20 years of Cosmic Gate are pretty much ahead, so something is gonna happen there. Not mentioning anything yet. Of course we’re gonna celebrate 20 years. We’ll speak about it pretty soon.