My talk with Cosmic Gate about Wake Your Mind Sessions 001 (Interview)

2014 was a busy year for Cosmic Gate. They released "Start To Feel", a 17 track studio album just before summer festival season, they started their own record label and radio show, and went on their first North American bus tour.

Never known to stop being creative and pushing the boundaries, Cosmic Gate started off 2015 with a bang by releasing an ambitious 2 CD mix compilation called "Wake Your Mind Sessions 001". It's a 150 minute mix that starts off on the deeper side and slowly builds up momentum until you hear Cosmic Gate's biggest dancefloor hits including their hugely popular Club Mix of "Going Home" featuring Emma Hewitt. 

EDM Canada recently had the chance to talk to Bossi from Cosmic Gate to chat about their latest CD release and to get a sense on how he views the current scene today. So sit back and enjoy reading this extensive interview with a true trance legend. 

EDM Canada: Can you tell the readers a little about your recent final show at the Guvernment? That must have been a special experience for Cosmic Gate and your Toronto fans.

Bossi (Cosmic Gate): Every DJ we talk to are sad to hear that the Guvernment in Toronto has closed. We played there for nearly 10 years and every show we've done there was good to super good. The last show we've done there was legendary and one of the best shows. The Toronto crowd once again showed why the Guvernment went so strong over the years because they raged, partied, and followed the DJ from A to Z. It's a shame and hopefully the new venue will come close to the vibe felt at Guvernment.

Yeah, hopefully.

You can only hope, you can't plan it. A vibe is something a club has and you only know it once the people are in there to find out if it's there or not. Money can't buy a vibe. So let's hope for the best.

Last year has been very busy for Cosmic Gate with your new label, radio show, album, and more. Can you reflect on your huge 2014?

It was certainly a lot of work. We released our album and went on our first bus tour, we started a new radio show which was a big extra from us. But we simply like it maybe because we're typical Germans and we gotta work and move things forward. We don't look back and we're so used to being on the road. We're out every weekend as we only take 3-4 weekends off a year. We're travelling, touring, and playing our music. So last year didn't feel that different but to release an album was something very special for us.

When it's a studio album you don't know how people will react because we put new influences into our production. But the album was received so well from fans and critics, so we were super happy.

You also recently released the club mix of “Going Home” featuring Emma Hewitt.

We released the down tempo version of “Going Home” on the album, but actually we originally started the club mix before the album version. But after talking to her people we realized we couldn't release it as one of the first singles. So we decided to create the down tempo version for the album knowing that the club mix will be released half a year later. We have a super good Gareth Emery remix of the track coming out soon and we're excited about that.

Now you're coming out with a new Wake Your Mind Sessions 001 compilation double album – can you tell me a bit about it?

It's a mix album for people that do not have the chance to see us at the club or they do see us and like what we do and want to hear more. For the 1st CD we started off things a little slower like what we do on our radio show with our “private playlist”. The 1st CD is more deep, progressive, while slow building things up. CD 2 is more our set when we party with the crowd with more energy. We have a lot of new music in there including our club mix of “Going Home” with Emma Hewitt and it's great listening to at home or on a road trip. It's a Cosmic Gate set brought to you in a CD mix.

You included a few chilled out tracks in the beginning of the album from the likes of 16 Bit Lolitas, Gus Gus, and Fehrplay – is this type of music becoming a major influence on Cosmic Gate?

We grew up with house, techno, and trance since day 1. So when people ask us if it's a new influence that we're now playing Maceo Plex, 16-bit Lolitas – we say no. We've always listened to this type of music. When designing this double CD, we knew we had 150 minutes so we went a little bit old school by building up progression into the mix with a proper build up. And how can you not have a proper build up if you're not starting with a lower BPM with a slower kind of mood? So the first CD is more is more housey, vibey while still having our touch on it. The first CD still has our sound that we stand for. But these type of tracks is definitely not a new sound for us and it's only becoming known now because of our promotion of the “private playlist” selection every week for our radio show.

Are you finding the crowd that you play for more than ready for this type of stuff mixed in in 2015?

It's not that we play this type of music in our sets because we only have an hour and a half to two hours. We also usually don't start that deep because we have opening DJs that end a little hotter in their sound. You probably won't hear us play Maceo Plex unless it's at the Space Terrace in Miami.

You just came back from the ASOT 700 massive in the Netherlands. Can you tell me your opinion on the current trance scene?

We felt based on the reaction from the crowd that it was the best ASOT in years. Sometimes as a DJ you have to push the crowd because sometimes they can be a bit flat. But at this year's ASOT the crowd was very energetic, they started clapping by themselves without having us to start it so it was super good.

After the show we talked to a few colleagues and they all felt the same. We don't see trance as this one thing as we see artists like Eric Prydz using trance influences in their tracks. It's not pure trance of course but we play it and fits into our sets. His tracks have a trancey vibe and for us it's all about the vibe and the feel of the track. We're unique in our sound and feel that trance music is anything from 138 BPM to elements of what Eric Prydz is doing at the moment. There are so many good producers making trance including Ilan Bluestone and Andrew Bayer – who are killing it at the moment. It's melodic and not cheesy.

Are genres becoming less important now? Do you think artists such as yourselves are more free to experiment with influences outside of the trance scene?

It's about being free and playing tracks that you like. That's how we started and that's how we are more and more are. Of course we don't add tracks that people won't understand but it has to fit our style. There is really good music coming out like “We Got The Power” by Alex Di Stefano, which has an old school techno beat and break while still sounding very modern. It reached top 10 at Beatport and it shows that people are little more open minded in their style beyond sticking to only one genre. Sticking to only one genre is how the European scene was and we never really liked that. “Wake Your Mind” and “Start To Feel” was a statement telling people that we didn't want to limit ourselves.

And your latest “Wake Your Mind Sessions 001” is a continuation of that theme?

Yes of course. Why create a 150 double mix CD catering to only one sound? After half an hour it gets boring. So we started slower and built it up by layering in deeper beats that is still in the context of our music. We believe that's what DJ'ing is about.

What can fans look forward to in 2015 from Cosmic Gate?

Our “Wake Your Mind Sessions 001” is out, along with new singles like the club mix version with Emma Hewitt and our track with JES. We will be touring at all of the major summer festivals and we are slowly putting together another album that should be ready by Spring of next year.

So Cosmic Gate is continuing on the album release schedule rather than EP releases.

We are fans of albums but maybe we won't do another one with 17 tracks because that was too much. We released our last album in June and by August people were asking us when new music was coming out. We worked on “Wake Your Mind” for one year and 6 weeks later people were asking us about new music.

People don't understand how much work an album is because we write the music, and go beyond just creating the instrumentals of a track that is done within 3-4 hours. We are fans of albums because we can show our production skills and variety as producers. We can do singles and EPs but tracks like “No One Can Touch You Now” would never see release. Singles are more and less made for the dancefloor so an album gives us more artistic freedom. We get to try out different things and we feel the results are better. We also get to do more surprising things when we create music for an album.

My special thanks to Bossi from Cosmic Gate for taking the time for this informative interview. If you happen to live in Ottawa, Cosmic Gate will be coming this Saturday to Barrymore's, for ticket information, click the link below: 

Saturday, March 21st - Cosmic Gate @ Barrymore's

To buy Wake Your Mind Sessions 001 from Beatport - click here