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Friday 26th, October 2007
Cosmic Gate Interview

German duo Cosmic Gate have been key figures in the tougher end of trance music for many years now. Last year’s critically acclaimed ‘Earthmover’ album kick-started a new direction for their sound, and that has carried on to massive remixes like Tenisha – Outsiders and Vincent de Moor – Fly Away, plus their new single ‘Body Of Conflict’. With a new mix album released today on Black Hole Recordings, we caught up with the guys for a chat about their current sound, and the demise of hard trance...

Hi guys, I’m looking out the window, it’s grey, wet and miserable, the leaves are falling off the trees – same story where you are?

We just went upstairs from the studio to be sitting in the living room to do this interview, and believe it or not, the sun is shining, only the temperature is pretty low already here in Krefeld, Germany. So actually no complaints bout the weather from our side…

Sorry for the weather question, us British people love talking about it. Anyway, music. The latest track to emerge from the Cosmic Gate studios is ‘Body Of Conflict’, essentially a vocal version of ‘Element Of Life’ from your Earthmover album. What made you decide to add a vocal to that track and how did it develop into ‘Body Of Conflict’?

Element of Life actually is one of our favourite tracks on the album, but we had the feeling that it could even be stronger adding some vocals on top. We hooked up with the songwriter duo Raz Nitzan and Sir Adrian again, (they had already written the lyrics for the Earth Mover album tracks “A Day That Fades” and “Mile In My Shoes”) and they introduced Denise Rivera’s vocals to us. We liked her voice a lot, so they recorded the vocals with her, and sent it to us. We finally added the vocals on “Element of Life”, only giving some small changes to the base line, created also a dub version, and finally produced a complete new club mix, to have a bit more of a pounding mix as well.

You also have a brand new mix album coming out, “Back 2 Back 3”. Tell us a bit more about that, what sounds and styles we can expect to hear. Is it a fair reflection of a Cosmic Gate set?

Yes, you are absolutely right, that is what we actually want to show on Back 2 Back 3, a true reflection of the styles we play in our sets! Of course every set is different and a one hour show you can not compare to an “all nighter” set, but Back 2 Back 3 for sure gives a good idea of the style we play these days!

Were there any arguments between you two over the tracklisting?

The good thing is, that actually our opinions about tracks most of the time are very similar, it kind of never happens that one of us loves a track and the other one says its total crap or so. That’s why there were no arguments at all, the only thing we sometimes do, is to ask the other one, to listen to a track again. Cause if you listen to new music for hours and hours, it can happen that even good tracks are not getting recognized as these, because the concentration is getting lower…

You’ve done a new mix of “Fire Wire” on the album. Why did you think the time was right to re-visit that track? Did you ever get sick of fans asking for it?

We had the feeling that with the beats we do these days, especially the main “stab sound” of Fire Wire could fit quiet well. The second idea behind this, was to have a new version of Fire Wire for some of our DJ sets, as “older” recordings in general start sounding to different to the standard of 2007, which in our eyes is also a reason for all these new “bootleg” versions of old tracks. DJs just make them to sound more up to date!

Tying up with Black Hole Recordings must be good for you, do you think that reflects your more mature sound and do you think it will open you up to new fans?

We have been releasing for two years on Black Hole already now, and yes it’s true, we think that the sound we create these days fits better with a label like Black Hole, then it would have done with maybe staying at a major company like EMI, where we released our tracks for the first years. And of course a good label like Black Hole helps getting attention, but in the end it is only the music that counts helping to find new fans, and we hope we did well in that!

You live near the Dutch border and you seem to be becoming more aligned with the Dutch trance scene now, does this reflect the strength of the Dutch scene or the failings of the German one?

Maybe a little bit of both, even as we have to say that the “German Trance” scene in our eyes is doing pretty good again, thinking of some very strong producers coming out of Germany these days. We actually always had good contacts to the Dutch scene already, also many of our DJ gigs happened in Holland, and that’s why for us it is also kind of logic to release our tracks there. Also do not forget, all major cities in Holland are less then half way drive comparing going to Berlin, the only thing we actually do not like about driving in the Netherlands is the annoying speed limit they have..!

Why do you think the once great German hard trance sound has gone down the toilet?

It is not only the German hard trance sound that got down the drain, hard trance in general is dead these days… why it happened we do not know, maybe there were too many bad productions, maybe some producers developed the hard trance sound into hardstyle and some moved into more deeper and trancier sounds, no idea… some people still produce tracks like in these “hard trance days” but for us this would not be interesting anymore to create the same kinda music, we feel it is important to work on different sounds, cause we would just feel bored to produce exactly the same kind of music for years and years.

How come you two have managed to maintain your production partnership while so many of your contempories are going their own way?

Well, we have always been doing other things near Cosmic Gate, that’s why it actually never got boring or so, and what is also important, we always had, and still have the same idea about what Cosmic Gate is, either in production and also in our DJ sets. Like in real life, it can happen also in the music business that people start developing in different directions, but we fortunately have not, and we are pretty sure that it will stay like this!

Claus, you have your Nic Chagall solo project. Did you expect it to take off in the way it has and what new releases can we expect from Nic Chagall?

No, I’ve never expected this and am really flattered by all these great reactions I’ve got. It’s so much fun, to do solo-work beside Cosmic Gate and the cooperation with Dick de Groot from Be Yourself Music/High Contrast Records, who is releasing my solo singles, is absolutely enriching for me. In the last few weeks I did some new remixes for the new singles of Marcel Woods and Markus Schulz. Next will be finally to start with the production of a new single.

Stefan, do you have any plans to push your own solo career in the way Claus has?

There are no real plans for it at the moment, but I also would not say that there is no solo singles of mine at all in the future, we see what time will bring here. What most people do not know, beside Cosmic Gate I have quiet some work to do with the label “Phunkwerk”, that I run together with DJ Delicious. I’m also involved in some of the productions there, for example last year’s big hit “Same Man” from DJ Delicious & Till West, so enough work besides Cosmic Gate indeed.

Can you see you both having solo careers pulling Cosmic Gate apart?

Actually we do not think so, as Cosmic Gate has a very high priority for us, and for people that might worry, when we play solo sets the sound is still the same, only difference is that there is one guy mixing behind the decks, and not two!

Although many fans love your new sound, a lot miss the old hard trance Cosmic Gate. Do you get many messages from fans who want the old ‘Gate back and what do you say to them?

Of course there are fans that let us know that they miss the old Cosmic Gate sound, but on the other side, like you said, there is even more people saying that they love the sound we do these days. We only can say, that the times we live in now are just different then few years back, and during these years, also music has to develop in a certain way, and as artists we just would not feel comfortable producing the same music over and over again. We are sorry that some people do not like our current sound as they liked the old sound, but at first we have to produce what we feel comfortable with, cause only then we have the feeling that we do our best!

How does the Cosmic Gate sound develop from here?

That’s a good question, but hard to answer. Our tracks now might be slower then years ago, but in our eyes they are still pounding and bouncy, even while using more vocals and atmospheric pads on top… and that’s how it also is going to be in the future, you will always feel the Cosmic Gate punch, no matter in which direction things will turn…

How do you create that ‘Cosmic Gate punch’? There’s nothing quite like it...

Well, we always spend some time on the bass section of our club tracks, that’s actually all we can say. Bass and kick have to support each other in general, but there is no secret “bass machine” or something that we use different to other producers.

Can we expect a follow up to the Earth Mover album in the near future?

Yes, we just started building the first beats for a new album to be released next year. We are thinking about, to go even one step further with the new album comparing to Earth Mover. This means, that we want to have even more tracks on it, which you even can listen to while relaxing at home for example. In other words, we want to show an even wider range of styles, starting from chill and finally ending up on pumping club tracks, let’s see where our inspiration will lead us from here.

You will be playing B2B with Ferry Corsten at the Full On Ferry event on 27th October – three of you in the DJ box – it’s going to be quite a squeeze!

Maybe we are going to tell a secret here, but there will be three DJ boxes on stage, so we will take Ferry in the middle, and play a blasting one-hour back-to-back set, we are really looking forward to it!

Finally health freak or tasty sweets? Which one would each of you go for?

Bossi: Sometimes health freak, but also quiet often sweets, especially chocolate is a must!
Nic: Definitely tasty sweets!!!

Many thanks for your time and best of luck for the future!

Cosmic Gate’s brand new single ‘Body of Conflict’ feat. Denise Rivera is out in November in the UK on Maelstrom Records: www.maelstromrecords.com and out now on Black Hole Recordings. Back 2 Back 3 is out today on Black Hole Recordings!

For more info on Cosmic Gate head to www.cosmicgate.de and www.myspace.com/cosmicgate

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