As evidenced by the success of their most recent album, Wake Your Mind, German duo Cosmic Gate (Nic Chagall and DJ Bossi) have established themselves as musical pioneers, pushing the boundaries of trance in every directions. They continue to display their virtuosity, not only in the studio, but in the DJ booth as well, captivating audiences worldwide with their perfect balance between beautiful melodies and pure, raw energy. If you haven't already, I would HIGHLY recommend seeing them perform, which shouldn't be too difficult as are on tour non-stop, year-round.
This year has been especially monumental for the duo, with an amazing festival circuit including Ultra Music Festival, EDC, and, most notably, hosting and headlining their own stage at Future Music Festival in Australia. Additionally, they are releasing the deluxe edition of Wake Your Mind TODAY; this release includes all of the original tracks, a plethora of remixes, and some extra special content. In honor of the upcoming release, Nic and Bossi gave us a great interview, discussing their creative process, extensive touring, and thoughts on the behemoth that is modern EDM. Read the full interview below, and don't forget to check out the album by clicking here!
DxE: This year has obviously been a big year for Cosmic Gate, especially with the success of Wake Your Mind. Can you tell me a little more about how the album came to be about and how you decided to go in that direction?
NC: It's always pretty similar when we produce an album. We try not to think about it too much, to be
honest. We just go into the studio and start our productions, and then all the traveling and touring
inﬂuences us without us realizing that it does. So we just go with the ﬂow; we don't do too much of the
"concept album thing.
DxE: So you just get in there and see where it goes?
DJB: Yeah, we just heard a big guy; I don't remember who it was, but he was giving an interview, and
saying "well the album was like this and that." We just went into the studio and tried to produce good
NC: Yeah, that's exactly how it goes.
DJB: If we feel it, if we both like it, then it gets on the album and we release it. And of course we hope
that people like it too and feel the same emotions, the same feelings about it. To talk music is always,
like, ﬁve people listen to the track and they have different opinions about it, maybe different feelings,
or put it into different genres, and that's not what it's about. For us it's not about if it's progressive,
trance, or house inﬂuenced, or even dub step, we want to do what we like to do, which is making
NC: That's the only concept that we have, and that's why we love doing albums. We don't want to be
too much into genres, we want to be free to produce whatever we want; that's the exciting thing about
an album, that you don't have to do just one club banger after another. So you can be very free and
open to just produce, and to an artist it's even more interesting.
DxE: Do you guys have a favorite track off the album?
NC: That's hard to say, because it keeps changing as our moods change.
DxE: FOr me I'd deﬁnitely have to say the opening track, Sometimes They Come Back For More.
NC: Yeah, we love that track, and of course we love Be Your Sound, and I remember when we did
DJB: Yeah we love Flying Blind, that's a great track.
NC: Wake Your Mind Too; They're all different vibes, so it's hard to tell.
DxE: I understand you guys are doing a re-release of the album with extra content. Can you elaborate
on that a little?
NC: Yeah, we're doing a deluxe version. It contains all of the original tracks, plus remixes for each
one. Also, some very new remixes of singles that we never released; and our favorite remixes of the
ones we really liked. So it's a 2-in-1, maybe for people who didn't buy the album but considered it;
they have a huge extra reason now.
DJB: Also, for fans that have it already, we have the best remixes and unreleased material; we think
that for a big fan, this is the best thing.
DxE: Yeah, I can't wait to hear it. The album was great and it's only going to get better. You guys have
been pretty much touring nonstop this past year.
NC: Well we talked about it, and for the last ten years, we've had between four and six weeks off a
year. If we take two weekends off in a row, it starts to feel weird; when we aren't playing shows, it
always feels like a very long time.
DJB: He's right, it deﬁnitely feels weird. After a week or ten days, I feel like I know nothing about music.
We're just so used to being on the road, and we love it; it's a huge part of our lives.
DxE: Do you guys have a favorite city to play in?
DJB: Well, every continent has its cities, clubs, special vibes, and things that make it so special. And
that's the beauty of the job, to see so much of the world and so many different cultures; a lot of
interesting people to meet, so we couldn't put out one that is really standing over the others.
DxE: Would you say that different cities/crowds react differently to certain tracks?
NC: INowadays, it's pretty global, and most of the scenes are somewhat similar. With the internet and
all, it's so global, and people all over the world are hearing the same songs.
DxE: It's great that dance music has become that.
NC: These days, you can release a track, you play it two weeks later in a different continent, and
everyone knows all the words. It's amazing.
DxE: I know you guys have worked with a bunch of different vocalists. Does any one singer stand out
DJB: Well, of course Emma Hewitt is very close, she's touring with us a lot. We've got a kind of small
family; JES is amazing too. Also Carey Brothers, he's an amazing guy every time; good to hang out
with. We like to have not only the business side, but the personal side too. When you work with
people that you sit with at night at the bar, that's what we prefer instead of just doing business.
Otherwise the vibes aren't as good as they should be, and the musical result isn't going to be very
DxE: Absolutely. Dance music is global now, and I hear it's always been big in Germany; especially
trance and techno. Is that accurate?
NC: It used to be big in Germany, but it died about ten years ago.
DJB: We haven't really been playing in Germany for the past ﬁve years or so. Techno is still there, but
only in small, intimate clubs. But in general, dance music is by far not as popular in Europe as it is
DxE: Well, it is growing exponentially in the USA now.
DJB: It's the new thing for the crowds here.
DxE: Now, there's a big debate between the purists, they either want only trance, or big room, or tech
house, or whatever they like.
NC: Europe is especially like that. If they like techno they only want to hear techno, and if they like
trance, they only want to hear trance.
DJB: We hear a lot of people saying, like, "yesterday I was at a Skrillex show, and tomorrow I'm going
to see cosmic gate." That would never happen in Europe. You're either a trance head, or a house guy,
or say a dubstep guy; whatever they prefer, they all hates on each other. We love the attitude in the
States, where everyone is so open-minded. That's a big part of our concept, just being open to
different things, different aspects, and different musics.
NC: That's how we are too; we listen to so many different genres.
DxE: Well, Miami seems like the melting pot where it all comes together. You guys are in high
demand these days, and a lot of artists are trying to remix your tracks. How do you go about selecting
artists to do the remixes?
NC: A lot of times its based on the tracks we play from different producers. When we play two or three
of someone's tracks in a set and we like their style, we approach them. We also try to ﬁnd up-and-
coming guys, because they have new, fresh sounds. It's more interesting, so we always watch what's
going on with these guys. On one side it's easy, but on the other hand it's hard. So many artists to
DJB: It's deﬁnitely a challenge because if we're just four weeks late to an artist, there's already been
about ten remixes released.
DxE: And since you guys are always on the road, do you normally produce tracks on a laptop, or in a
studio when you're back home?
NC: We used to do everything in the studio until a few years ago. But now that we travel more and
more, and aren't based in the same city all the time, we've started to produce on the road; we have
to. But we've already though about taking a couple weeks off to go in the studio and really focus.
Because otherwise, if you produce two days here and one day there, it's hard to really get into it.
DxE: Understandable. Do you have a speciﬁc DAW software or plugin you tend to use?
NC: We produce on Logic, and we do everything on Apple. And there's other software that people
use, but it's all 90% the same. It's what you do with it that makes you stand out. You have to work with
them and try to make your own sound.
DxE: And when you do get into the studio, still mostly computers, or more synths and gear.
NC: Mainly computers, especially with all the traveling. Back in the day, for our ﬁrst and second
albums, it was all hardware. HUge studio with a lot of analog gear.
DxE: Well, you can deﬁnitely feel that raw energy, especially on Exploration Of Space.
NC: It does sound nice, but nowadays it's pretty much just software, unfortunately. But it has its good
aspects too; you can recall a song and everything is there. I remember back then, it took us forever to
recreate the sounds.
DJB: And it was hard to recreate the same feel after every session. You always had the feeling it
sounded a little different the next day; it's just difﬁcult to capture the same moment a second time.
DxE: And who's your biggest inﬂuence outside of the EDM world?
DJB: We started listening to music before house was even invented. So everything had a big change
when house started, and then when it evolved into acid and then techno. There was no stopping it;
but we still like certain pop records.
NC: Also, a big inﬂuence from classical music, because my parents loved it; I really just grew up with
DxE: You can deﬁnitely hear the classical inﬂuence on the last album. It's a lot more complex
musically than a lot of other trance music these days.
NC: I did hear it every day in my house. And my family took me to operas, which was a big part of my
youth that inﬂuenced me for sure, maybe the most.
DxE: Do you play instruments as well?
NC: Yes, I play the piano.
DJB: Me? No, I actually don't.
DxE: So how did Cosmic Gate form? Were you guys doing your own thing before and then started
DJB: That's exactly how it happened.
NC: We met through mutual friends in '97 or '98, and decided to go into the studio together with three
other guys. When they left, we stayed together in the studio and just made music. We didm't even
know each other too well, but we just had a fun session.
DJB: We made one track and sent it out, and then things just picked up from there. It was a chance
thing, not planned at all, and we were wondering, are we going to leave now? We were talking a bit,
and decided to just feed our sampler; in three or four hours we had ﬁnished the track. It was The
Drums, our ﬁrst single.
DxE: Well it's been a great run since that day. What can we look forward to this year, other than the
NC: Certainly a lot of touring, and we have a nice festival summer ahead of us. We Tomorrowland,
Global Gathering, Ibiza, EDC here in the States, and we just did Ultra. We also recently hosted our
own stage at Future Music Festival.
DJB: So there's a lot of big things coming; plus we go back to the studio in April as Nic mentioned.
NC: That's the main thing we want to do right now, to get some fresh sounds to play and maybe even
DxE: That'd be great to hear a new album. Do you prefer playing at festivals or nightclubs?
DJB: We really can't say, you need both. Clubs are more intimate, you're closer to the crowd. You can
play a longer set which we like. At a festival, the music is very short and a lot DJ's only play for an
hour, maybe and hour and a half if they're lucky.
NC: And in that short set, they're playing maybe 20 or more songs, so they're just banging through
transitions. But on the other hand, you have a huge crowd in from tot you, and they all have their
hands in the air. It's an amazing feeling.
DJB: But in the club you're sweating with the people, and the energy is transferred back and forth.
Both experiences are simply fantastic and we wouldn't want to do just one and not the other.
DxE: With a longer set, you obviously have more of an opportunity to read and react to the crowd.
DJB: That's one of the most important things to do as a DJ, to set the feeling, and to bring them into
your productions. It's important as a producer of electronic music, especially trance, to be a DJ as
well, and incorporate the club sounds into your productions. Also, it really helps to feel what's going
on, and to be on top of the game.
DxE: And these days, there aren't very many artists who are just DJ's or just producers; everyone is
expected to do both.
DJB: That's how it is; and a lot of "DJ's" are playing pre-recorded sets. They're producers and not
really DJ's but they have to perform. But if it's an amazing prepared set, then what can you say?
DxE: This issue of pre-recorded sets has been very controversial, and a lot of famous DJ's have been
DJB: That's right, but the people usually can't tell the difference.
NC: I guess their talent then is in preparing the set. But we are not fans of that.
DJB: And how would you know what the vibe is at the event? Like what tracks the DJ before you is
playing, so that would be very tricky in our opinion.
NC: And even when we DJ at festivals, like Ultra or something, we never prepare at all. Of course we
listen to new songs, maybe do an edit or two, but we never prepare a set list.
DxE: So you just improvise?
NC: Yeah, because we have no idea what the other DJ's are going to play.
DJB: We choose the ﬁrst song and, on some occasions, a good song to transition out of that intro, but
once it's time for track three, we ask ourselves how we feel and what the vibe is. It wouldn't make
sense for us, it would be against whatever we feel to prepare a set from A-Z.
DxE: A lot of fans feel insulted when they pay good money to see artists that aren't even working,
they're just sitting there with their hands up. Personally, that upsets me because these people all
know how to DJ but choose not to. At the end of the day, if you mess up once or twice it isn't the end
of the world.
NC: Yeah, exactly. Who cares if one transition is off?
DJB: If I hear that the DJ is really mixing, and he's correcting a little, then that's great! He's actually
DJ'ing. Nobody's perfect, and if you play two or three hours, it simply happens. Some tracks don't
perfectly ﬁt together, and even if they're on beat, you still hear it because they all have different
grooves, and maybe don't quite ﬁt.
NC: Exactly. If a song ﬁts in our set and sounds good, we don't care if it's in a different key. We've
done it for so long that our mixing isn't really a problem. But we still think it's about the music
DxE: We're running out of time, so I'll just throw you a curveball for this next question. What's
your favorite ﬂavor of ice cream?
DJB: My favorite ice cream is, uh, Amarena cherry.
DxE: I'd say cookies n cream myself!
DJB: That's good as well. Rum raisin from Haggen Daaz is great too.
DxE: Well thanks so much for your time. Can't wait for the party at spin agency!
NC: No problem.