Following the well received Wake Your Mind album released last year, Cosmic Gate is about to release their sixth studio album Start To Feel on June 27th. I recently had a chance to talk to Bossi from Cosmic Gate in depth about their eagerly anticipated new album, an LP filled with 15 brand new tracks that aim to be this summer's anthems. If you want to know more about one of Cosmic Gate's most ambitious album to date, then you've come to the right place!
Tell me about your sixth studio album “Start To Feel”
Cosmic Gate: We worked on it for a year and with the tour schedule we had, it's not easy to do an album. We've been premiering tracks to the public through taste-makers like Armin Van Buuren ASOT show, Markus Schulz GDJB, and Above & Beyond's Group Therapy radio show. Our new single “Falling Back” had just hit #1 on the Beatport chart so things are starting pretty well.
Why did you name it “Start To Feel”?
Cosmic Gate: When we first started on the album a year before we were a bit tired with the kind of music that was played in a lot of clubs. A lot of the music was just preparing for that one drop, get the hands in the air, and that was it. Our goal with “Start To Feel” is to do something different, and write music with more emotion, hopefully with a little more meaning. We hope that this music will be listened to in 10 to 15 years. We want fans to listen back to it, and have them still sounding good with a sort of timelessness to it.
When I listen back to your last album, “Wake Your Mind”, I get a sense of timelessness to it, like you want to create tracks that have lasting appeal.
Cosmic Gate: Yeah that's what we're to do with “Start To Feel” and it should feel like a complete album.
With "Start To Feel being" 18 tracks long, mostly originals - How long did it take you to put the final tracklisting together?
Cosmic Gate: It's really hard to find the right tracklist that gives the best flow for the album. I think we found a tracklist that works and that it's worth listening to from track 1 to 18. It's a lot of music, 15 of them brand new tracks that until “Falling Back”, which was released a few weeks ago, no one has heard before. It took a while to get them in the right order.
Was there a date this year that you finally said to yourselves that you had a finished album?
Cosmic Gate: We had a deadline and no DJ ever holds to that deadline. We were a few weeks over it which meant that we had to delay the album release from May to June 27th. Which is still good because it's still in time for the hot times of the summer. Hopefully our tracks will be the soundtrack for many people for the summer of 2014.
"We start every track differently. Sometimes there's a new bass sound that we like and we create a track around it. The next time could be building a track around a melody."
How does Cosmic Gate produce tracks in 2014? What's the workflow like these days?
Cosmic Gate: We start every track differently. Sometimes there's a new bass sound that we like and we create a track around it. The next time could be building a track around a melody. We also get vocal demos and start playing around with harmonies that fit these vocals. Everytime it's different.
For the album we wrote 3-4 instrumental demos that we sent out to some singers, songwriters, and we invited them to put their ideas on them and we sent it back and forth. So for an album it's total chaos of sending music and ideas back and forth between Nic and myself. We had a few weeks together in the studio and just tried to bring everything together. You get to a certain point where you get into a flow, creating a structure, and generally know where we'll be taking certain tracks. We've been working very very hard touring and spending every minute in the studio in March to get it done. We got everything together during the Miami Winter Music Conference. By mid-March we had the final tracklisting.
Was Start To Feel done mostly in the studio, or due to your hectic tour, did you do it on the road?
Cosmic Gate: 99% of the writing was done in the studio. Nic is a fantastic piano player and to be writing a good melody on a keyboard of a macbook is not really good. But the producing, finishing up tracks, bringing in FX stuff, is often getting done on the road.
So far we've heard a few different themes from this album, from the more melodic, to the more accessible “Falling Back”, to the darker sounding “Yai” and “Tormenta”, and the made for festival tracks like “Crushed” and “So Get Up”. Will the rest of the album fall under these themes or are there more surprises on the way?
Cosmic Gate: There are more surprises on it. There is another club thumper called “Fair Game”, our collaboration with Orjan Nilsen. It's like a happy club stumper that is also progressive. The track with Emma Hewitt might be a bit of a surprise as its not even a dance track, at least not in the original album version. The album is going to follow the road that you mentioned before but there will be definitely surprises in there as well.
Speaking of “Tormenta”, your collab with KhoMha - how did this collaboration with one of Coldharbour's finest come about?
Cosmic Gate: We met him two years before and he's simply a super talented guy. We play his stuff and he plays ours, and one day we told him that we're working on a new album and asked to do a track together. A week later he sent over some beats and bassline, then we added to it, sending it back and forth. And you heard the end result.
"Some of them think we were saving trance with our latest album “Wake Your Mind” because we brought it into new directions. There are others that say that we should have stuck to our 1999 sound..."
With a such a long career under your belts already, do you ever feel pressure from trance fans to stick to a specific sound?
Cosmic Gate: There are very different reactions among trance fans. Some of them think we were saving trance with our latest album “Wake Your Mind” because we brought it into new directions. There are others that say that we should have stuck to our 1999 sound, these people always live in the old school style of trance. We don't care as we just write music that we do like. Of course we hope that people do follow us and have the same emotions as we do but you cannot please everyone. We can't have the whole trance scene agreeing saying that “this is great”, or “this is not good”, there will always be people that will love it or hate it. We just do our thing and give our best in what we do. If people love it, then we're very happy about it, and if there are people that don't like it, then we hope our next release will get them on the train again.
Is there a specific track that you are most excited about on “Start To Feel”?
Cosmic Gate: (Laughs) We are basically excited about every single track. Every track is different and telling its own story. They are like our children, and every track is like 15 babies of ours, and we won't put one over the other. But every single baby has its own personality, and on certain days you'll love it, on other days you'll be more neutral to it because you felt that you could have changed something. But overall we are super happy with the album and we've never been as satisfied with the final product as we are now with “Start To Feel”.
Will there be a remix compilation of “Start To Feel” just like you did with your last album “Wake Your Mind”?
Cosmic Gate: This is not for sure yet. Most of the tracks will get a remix treatment or two, but we feel that the original songs are standing well by themselves. So we're not going to do 4 or 5 remixes per track. There will be remixes, but it's not sure whether we'll release a “Start To Feel” remix compilation yet because we haven't talked about it.
As you might already know, the Guvernment club is closing in January 2015.
Cosmic Gate: Is it really?!
Yep. You've played so many headlining shows at this famous club, do you have any thoughts or favourite memories you'd like to share?
Cosmic Gate: First of all I heard rumours about the closing about a year before and until now people have said that it was bullshit, so I'm a little bit shocked now because it's one of the best venues in North America. I remember when we were playing there and it was so busy and the energy was unbelievable, that the water was dripping from the ceiling. This is bad news for the whole dance scene in Canada and I hope they find a venue to replace it so we can create more memories in the future.
You're going to be doing a special “Sunset Yacht Party” in Vancouver on July 5th, what can fans expect from a Cosmic Gate boat cruise versus a typical club gig?
Cosmic Gate: Maybe the easiest way is to go online and check for the videos we did on our Miami boat cruises. It's even more intimate sometimes than a club gig because everyone is very close together. It's a very unique place for a party and this makes people even party harder, enjoy it more. Best is to come out, not to miss it, and have a good time with us.
What's next for Cosmic Gate for the rest of the year?
Cosmic Gate: After writing an album we always need a bit of a break to come up with something different. There is a big bus tour coming in August that will bring us to many places in the U.S. We are constantly touring and our radio show “Wake Your Mind” is available on Soundcloud, Sirius, and DI.FM.
My special thanks to Bossi for this interview. If you want to see this duo live, Cosmic Gate will be coming to North America for their Start To Feel tour that includes stops in Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto.
For more ticket information on the Canadian dates, click below: