Artist Spotlight – Cosmic Gate
Where were you when you first heard Exploration of Space?
Where were you when you first heard Fire Wire? You can go on for days naming out Cosmic Gate‘s discography and if you are a fan of trance or electronic music, you must know their music. From the supposed golden era of the 90’s to present day, Nic and Bossi, better known as Cosmic Gate, have been steamrolling forward leaving their mark for the world. Two decades are a long time especially with the same partner in today’s climate which is rare, but two decades in the same genre is even more impressive.
Cosmic Gate is the best of both worlds, the new and old. I was lucky enough to sit with them both to get a better glimpse into these master duos mindset and after staying together for 20 years, their chemistry was locked in as they would finish each other’s sentences and at times respond in unison.
I thanked them for the past 20 years of amazing music and cannot wait to see what the future holds because with Cosmic Gate it is forward ever, backwards never.
First of all congratulation on 20 years! That is a huge milestone. When you both started did you think you would make it to this point Your new album, and name sake of the tour, Forward Ever, Backward Never is due out this season. Any surprises fans can expect from the album?
Nic: First of all, when we started this 20 years ago, we had no clue what was going to happen. At that point it was just a fun track that we did. We thought this is just another project and then luckily we could get EMI, a really big label back then, to sign it. Then the track went off and request came in. So it was ‘no what’, ‘no intention’.
Bossi: No intention, no plans behind it. It just happened and that is the beauty of it
Nic: We didn’t force anything it just happened.
Danielle: How long have you guys been friends?
Nic: 20 1/2 years.
Bossi: Yeah, maybe like half way through the 20 years
(The laughing was too loud to pick up any audio)
In a recent interview you did with Insomniac, you mentioned that the tour and album name ‘Forward Ever Backward Never’ was a true reflection of your new music and attitude towards Cosmic Gate. However in the last 20 years, you two have produced some of the most iconic tracks to the trance genre. How do you find balance in your sets to play your newer tracks and still play homage to the tracks fans grew up on? Do you ever get tired of playing some of your classic tracks?
Nic: Well I don’t think we would ever get tired of them, because we always try to make some updates like “Exploration of Space” the concert mix that we play right now. It is the 3rd remix we have done since the original, plus we made a nice bootleg of it. To have hits is not a curse, it is a blessing. They are a big reason, our history, for people to come. We wouldn’t have that demand.
Bossi: You have a point, especially when we play festivals and we have shorter sets. It is really is a challenge to play the track that we know people want to hear for sure, and also to play a new track that satisfy us and also people that want to [hear something new]. But somehow, as he says we make updates, and we manage to have both.
Forward Ever Backward Never, the song that they might know about maybe in a new update version. And also you don’t get really tired of it because obviously you always get different reactions. I don’t know. It’s like when I play, or when we play, it feels good in that moment even if it is a song that…
Danielle: Do you ever listen to your own tracks at home?
Nic: You might not personally listen that track at home again. [Because] basically it is always just new music we are working on.
Bossi: I don’t think we will ever listen at home. It would be too much, like maybe sometimes…
Nic: Like to get nostalgic bu not like, listening to our own music, like you listen to as a fan to Coldplay or something. That is something different.
Bossi: I mean obviously, because we hear that on weekends, every weekend we hear our own songs. And during the week we spend all of our time to create new music, or update to those songs. So there is not that much time to sit down and listen to all my own stuff.
1999 to some is considered the “Golden Years” of trance, as this was around the first boom of the genre globally. In the past 20 years what are your feelings toward the current state of trance? What has kept you two innovated and dedicated to sticking to trance, when many other duos and producers left to chase other genres?
Bossi: Well for us it was it was never about what the mainstream was doing or it just happened to somehow go with that. “The Drums” was a super-hot track and so it made it in the sales charts. So as “Fire wire”, there were some were saying, “Oh my God, like they are playing in commercial big clubs, I love these tracks, but I can’t play them”. So they were somehow successful commercial [track] and on the other hand super clubby.
We never had the intention to be or to get successful in the sales charts … but still what we did back then we doing it today. We can just produce music that we that we like. It’s at first most important to satisfy our own taste and we hope that our fans follow.
Nic: Again the tour and album Forward Ever Backward Never, comes back in here too because we always try to push the drama, push the limits and create something new. Because over the years, a lot of times we got, “Oh, so why did you guys change? When did you decide to change?” We never changed! That was just the natural continuous progression and process. And we didn’t even think about it and that’s why we are still in love with the music. And even now and we just love that feeling that is such deep emotions when you listen to that. That I don’t have for my other [genres]. I mean, I love a lot of different genres, but [trance] is really touching me.
Bossi: In general, asking about the genre 20 years ago, it was considered to be the big time but now I think trance it’s like there’s the very deep trance, progressive, and Anjunabeats somewhere in there. There is tech-trance, and the faster 138 psy-trance, EDM kinda styles, it is such a huge genre. So of course it is not the number 1 genre around, but it never was. Even in the golden 1999, it wasn’t the number one genre.
Danielle: It’s number 1 in my heart.
Bossi: It is about the heart, it is about the feeling that trance gives, and trance gives just a great feeling.
You two have been together for 20 years now and do not seem to be letting up any time soon. What is your secret for maintaining your working partnership? How have you two managed to stay together when so many other duos have not been so successful?
Bossi: We might have touched this subject before, but others start out as friends, and we grew into friends [while] working and partnership around the whole Cosmic Gate [concept]. Unfortunately, that chemistry that we have, the music, and the idea of music in general is even more about how Cosmic Gate should sound, will sound. That is very unique.
Nic: We really understand each other when it comes to Cosmic Gate. We have egos, but not like crazy. So if one of us doesn’t really agree with the track or something like, “Okay. No” and then be like “I have something else”.
Mental and physical health is very important, especially with the crazy schedules that you guys have. How do you both stay mentally and physically healthy these 20 years? Have you two faced any struggles? Why do you think so many younger DJs and fans suffer from anxiety, depression, and many other mental illnesses in today’s world? What would your advice be to someone struggling right now?
Nic: That is something that we talk about. Obviously, you have to have the right people around. You have to have a good background of friends and family that are there and can show you it’s not only about that and don’t take yourself too serious. That is very important also.
Bossi: We weren’t 19 years old when we started this. We weren’t that young as many other guys are these days. Maybe that helps…
Nic: Because we have been around the block before…
Bossi: A lot of things come together…
Nic: Make sure you spend a lot of time with family and friends…
Bossi & Nic: Don’t get lost in the scene
Nic: Stay outside of the scene
Bossi: The real life, the outside, what is happening on a Saturday night all the party, this is not a real life what you have up there. There’s more important things. And it is hard to take the fun route forever, but those down times are so important, with so much touring, we always try to get a glimpse here and there.
Nic: We will party on a week here and there, but we don’t go full force day and night. So advice, would be to give your body a break.
You two have accomplished so much in 20 years. What does the next 20 years look like?
Bossi & Nic: Forward ever, backward never!
Bossi: we will find out!
Nic: No really! We just go with what we feel in that moment and…
Bossi: And then the album is released and the tour has ended, and from there it is like, “So, how’s the new album?”
Nic: No that is how it is. You have to close your eyes and center yourself, and see how you feel in that moment what you want to do in the future.
Bossi: We are in the middle of it right now, we are too busy to have a 5-year plan of where we wanna play, what we wanna reach. The music business changes so quick, you don’t even know.
Nic: But also because it was a hobby that turned into a job and we are still in-between both worlds. That makes it fun still, and why I still love it.
Finally, if you could only live by one motto, what would it be?
Bossi: Forward ever, backward never.
Nic: I like that.
Bossi: It is a good motto, it is the idea behind our music. And a little bit behind our personalities. We turn around and don’t forget what happened but always seeing what’s next. That is a big part of it.