Cosmic Gate Talks the Trance Scene and 20 Years of Staying Power
Cosmic Gate has been around for almost 2 decades. They have created practically every type of electronic music and still claim to be learning more each day. We caught up with half of the duo, Stefan Bossems AKA Bossi at Spring Awakening Music Festival to chat.
Sensible Reason: Welcome back to Chicago! How many times have you played Spring Awakening at this point?
Cosmic Gate: Yeah, we’ve done…3 out of the last 4 years.
SR: What keeps you coming back?
CG: We have some history. We play our club shows and Spring Awakening seems to be our Chicago festival. It’s always a Friday, we were talking about that earlier. It’s always stressful for the extra amount of traffic, there are several sports games today as well. It’s our festival in Chicago.
SR: Have you had a chance to check out the festival yet?
CG: No, we just arrived.
SR: A lot of big artists don’t really have too much time to explore the environment in which they travel.
CG: Yes, unfortunately, that’s true.
SR: Is there any event you make sure to experience while you’re there?
CG: We always try to, because hanging out and exploring is important for our writing process. Just to see what the other DJs are doing, how the crowd is reacting, and not just only when we play. Tomorrowland when we play we’re for sure going to hang out. Two hours after our set we have to fly to London for another show. So yeah sometimes if you wish to hang you can make it happen, but we try to absorb as much as we can. We like going out still, we think it’s important not to get lost in our personal bubble many of us DJs live in.
SR: A lot of artists fade away, quit, or get too caught up in their own bubble. What has kept you guys going for long?
CG: I think we’re pretty much in our own bubble, but it’s the interest in other kinds of music. We’re big tech, house, progressive lovers of music, but the interest is there. We’re clubbers by heart.
SR: So you’re inspired by other people?
CG: Yeah, going out is important for us. If you’re constantly rushing to the next show, next show, next show, and you’re not looking what’s going on in other genres or the scene, in general, you might get lost. We try to free our minds a bit and get inspired.
SR: You’re playing the Trance Arena stage today. A lot of people who started as trance artists are still in the game such as Tiesto or ATB or Above & Beyond. They might be doing different things now, but there seems to be some staying power in the genre over others. Do you agree?
CG: There are a lot of techno artists like Dubfire for example that are just as prolific. EDM is a very fast-paced scene and with trance…we do it so long we’re at 20 years now. I don’t want to speak of a more healthy lifestyle, no. It’s just the scene, the fans, it’s the beauty of the scene. It’s not a super big high that builds for a year or two and crashes. The trance fans will still be there in 10 years, the other scenes…we’ll find out.
SR: What is trance to you?
CG: It’s one of the [genres] that touches you most. With trance, it’s like you have the kick and the bassline, but you also have these flying parts with strings, vocals. It can be in your face but also very touching, too. That’s what we always try to do with our music. It has to touch you somewhere which is sometimes missing for us in other genres.
SR: I like that term ‘flying.’ The emotions are there, the chords are there, it’s a great way to describe that emotional part of the genre. Describe the Trance Arena family in your own words.
CG: People who like trance are very easy going. The music is very uniting and you come to festivals and they follow the DJs more and longer than other genres. I can’t really pinpoint what separates trance fans from others, but the love and passion for the music are there.
SR: Love trumps all. You’ve been making music for 20 years. So you’ve been making music through the transition of magazines, to social media, to outlets like Spotify where you can directly release to your fans and speak to your fans. There’s been a shift from relying on people like me. Some would even go as far as saying music journalists are obsolete. Would you agree with that?
CG: No, as much as DJs are opinion leaders with the music they release and play, I think it’s very important to have people writing about it. Not everyone has the chance to go to festivals and so on. The change from analog to digital, from getting print information that an album is coming out to clicking on your social media button and everyone knows is there. But it’s still important to work with the press because there is a give and take. I think an independent press not only speaking about music is very important because “don’t believe the hype.” The press is important, free press is even more important.
SR: Speaking of press, shameless plug time. What do you have coming up?
CG: We’re super busy in the studio right now making new music. We’re going to play a couple new tracks. Next year in the spring, Cosmic Gate will be making music for 20 years so we’re going to do something big for the 20 years. You’ll hear about it after the summer.
CG: Yeah sure, collaborations, new tracks, a new spin on old ones. Twenty years there are so many options, it’s awesome. We always have updated mixes on tracks like “Exploration of Space.” We always play some classics as well. People ask if we’ll have classic parties or something but we always like looking to the future. We pick pieces of some of our older tracks from 8 or so years ago with Emma Hewitt which are new to some of the crowd and add a new spin on it. We wouldn’t do the same thing we did 20 years ago, but taking bits and combining them with new stuff, that’s what we are. Always moving forward.
SR: Maybe that’s where that staying power comes from.
The staying power of Cosmic Gate became very clear when they played their set at Spring Awakening. From their entrance to their last track, the Trance Arena stage was filled with people hugging, smiling, and of course, dancing. From the hardest of drops to those flying moments of emotion, Cosmic Gate took their audience on a ride. Twenty years of doing anything will make a master. Their ability to make such a roller coaster of a ride proves that they are truly club kids at heart that truly love what they do. We can’t wait to hear their new music, set to drop after the summer.