Cosmic Gate, dynamic trance duo consisting of Bossi & Nic, continues to push musical boundaries. It's quite an accomplishment to be around as a DJ for two decades and they have proved time and time again that their unique progressive, uplifting sound is here to stay. They are one of Germany's most consistently successful electronic music artists and even composed remix compositions for Hollywood's 'Avatar'. Wake Your Mind is their well known mantra that is the name of their radio show, coined after their fifth studio album. While the two are signed to Armada Music's roster, they have been touring all over the world playing some of the best trance tunes we hear today. We got a chance to follow up with Nic & Bossi about their latest album called Ch. 2 “Materia” and what's in store for 2018 before their performance at POPNYE at The Armory in San Francisco, CA.
Talk to us about your recent record with Emma Hewitt on “Tonight”.
Bossi: Well, first of all “Tonight” was the first single off Ch. 2 “Materia” album. We go back with Emma about eight years now around 2009. It's our fourth single together.
Nic: Emma's voice is amazing as everyone knows. She has an incredible and touching voice. She's also insanely cool. We've toured with her a few times and we really clicked. It's really a friendship. It's family now and of course because we love her voice so much and we are friends, we're like on this album we have to do a new track together. We were talking about it a lot and sending demos back and forth. Luckily, towards the end it seemed to be a theme with Emma.
Bossi: It's always the last track we work on with the album. We're laid back, she's laid back. When was the deadline? Oh, two weeks ago. Still, somehow we always get things to work and our sound with her voice goes down pretty well.
Nic: Sometimes when we write songs we have the music first and the lyrics comes after. With “Tonight”, she sent us the vocal with only the very basic piano lines. Then we built the whole track around it.
The remixes for the track are amazing. How did you decide who worked on it?
Stefan: In the end, we at least think it's a progressive/trance song now. We were like we don't need another progressive/trance mix. We wanted something deeper, more uplifting and faster. We were like who you think can do good stuff and who do you think can work with the theme? We came up with the guys. Now it's a perfect three track package now. For every DJ playing trance it has its mix.
Nic: Believe me, it doesn't always work that well as it does now. Sometimes, we have something in mind that we think is cool and it doesn't work at all.
Stefan: Sometimes mixes are quite successful but you don't feel like yourself. Because the harmonies are getting changed and you aren't getting used to it while other people are like hey I like it that's awesome. Sometimes it's awesome to hear a different approach, sometimes you don't get it and get stuck in our own way or own world.
What’s the story behind the music video for “Fall Into You” with JES?
Bossi: I think the video speaks for itself. What can you do with that title? Just the idea started. She came up with the idea.
Nic: At first we thought someone else should be falling in the video but at the very end we were like you know what it needs to be her. We all love that track so much and we were so happy to give this track one more moment of real attention a year later.
Bossi: Creativity doesn't just happen with a button. Sometimes it just takes. Now it has a second momentum now which is awesome because it's a very personal track. We think it's one of the best tracks we ever did.
Talk to us about your latest album Ch. 2 “Materia” .
Bossi: Chapter 1 was out end of January and Chapter 2 in September. In the end, it was basically having too much music that mattered to us to release it altogether at once. We wanted to meet the deadline and not want to force things. We also wanted to give fans a little more to listen to individual tracks on the album. So we split the album into the two parts. It's basically two albums, two extended EPs. In September, we released the physical edition with CD and everything.
You just dropped episode 194 on WYM Radio. How’s it been so far?
Bossi: We were discussing to make a show for like a few years. When we finally gave it a start it was a lot of work. Every DJ that's doing a weekly radio show knows this. Although it's a lot of work we felt that it was good to have. We play 100+ shows and for about 20 years and there's still a chance of someone not seeing us at a club or a show. The radio show gives listeners an idea of what we like, what we play, etc. It's broadcasted around the world at FM stations, podcasts, SoundCloud, etc. It's a good statement and unbelievable that 200 is around the corner.
Who are some of the new artists you recommend listening to?
Bossi: You know in our scene, people that we mention have been out there for a long time. But they're not even on top. There's a lot of guys that do more progressive, deeper kind of sound that is not necessarily called trance.
Nic: We produced two songs with Alastor on the album. He's doing great stuff and so talented.
Bossi: There's a lot guys around that maybe didn't really break through, which is kind of hard these days because there's so many artists. There's good music out and we always appreciate those who dive in a little bit deeper and not just necessarily go for the top artists, work there way in, etc.
Nic: There's so many artists that they all start sounding the same. It's really important to separate yourself from the masses.
Bossi: You have to do something different. Otherwise, what are you standing for? If you copy things, you are always following the trend. You got to somehow try to be the trend. This counts maybe even more for upcoming guys. If you're just suddenly out there because you made a copy of a big track. What's going to be the follow up single? Are you going to make a copy of your own copy? Be unique and always come from the heart and less from the head.
How has the touring been so far?
Nic: Like you said, we're always touring. I can't imagine myself differently than that. It's been amazing, it's always incredible to produce songs and play it to the the crowd seeing how they react. If they feel it the same way you imagined it in the studio then it's so much more intense.
Bossi: In the end it's dance music. We produce our music for the dance floors. That's how we feel music and that's where we're coming from. We feel like it's pretty arrogant to come up with a track and be like that sh*t is dope. You never can be sure of people sharing your opinions for the music. It's always a great, nerve-shaking moment to release a full album.
What is one achievement you’re most proud of this year?
Bossi: We feel like Ch. 2 “Materia” was our next step in our history. In eight months time, exactly 20 years ago we produced our first track together. When you're out there for about 20 years, maybe it's something to be proud about and still be relevant.
Nic: We're not doing the same thing over and over again. We're very proud that we constantly evolve and still be relevant. We're just following one recipe. We're always trying to push ourselves and push boundaries.
Bossi: That's what we like. This is just something that keeps us going. It was our hobby. We were these guys just sitting in the basement. We're lucky to be professional DJs from our hobby. You never go to work in the end. You're jet-lagged, you're tired and never have time for friends or family.
Nic: It wasn't a process. It was natural for us.
Bossi: When we started, no one wanted to be a DJ.
What do you have planned for 2018?
Nic: We're going to be working on a new mix compilation. A “Wake Your Mind” Sessions Volume 3. That's in store for end of January or February.
Bossi: We have new releases for mid March. We have collaborations, singles and new remixes. Club remixes and one or two new tracks that didn't even make it on Ch. 2 “Materia”.
Nic: When we have the mix compilation finished, we love playing long sets. Because not everyone has the chance to see us for an hour. With our mix compilation, we can show more of our progressive side and start slow.
Bossi: We're not going to bang it out immediately. We build it up from the first 20 or 30 minutes. You know when you're driving in the car and you're getting lost in the music. You don't need the track to finish in four minutes. That's when you succeed. That's when a DJ create the vibe with a slower build up. It's going to be two mixes of 70 minutes. You do have the time to start the story a little slower.
Nic: So that's in store for early 2018.
What is one thing you are currently obsessed with?
Bossi: It's so yesterday but my noise cancellation headphones, the battery went black on me today. I was sitting there, took the headphones off and I knew in that moment I f*cking love these headphones. When you have them on, the stress level goes drastically down. So I got to say, I'm obsessed with these. I only realized it today. When I'm traveling on my own, I always have these on and I don't hear all the shouting or noise.