Cosmic Gate talks Ultra 2016 and how trance music has changed over the years
This interview is a part of #KanvasLive, an interactive, cross-platform content series brought to life on the Kanvas app and AOL.com. See more on coverage here.
Cosmic Gate is no stranger to the world of trance music. The German duo, made up of Nic Chagall and DJ Bossi, have been dominating the electronic music scene since 1999. Since then, they've played at more than 1,300 gigs around the world, making their mark in the world of trance music.
AOL.com had the chance to sit down with the dynamic duo during Ultra Music Festival 2016 in Miami to talk about their plans for new music and how the landscape of trance music has changed since Cosmic Gate first began 17 years ago.
What do you guys like so much about performing in Miami?
It's basically a tradition we've had for over 15 years. Miami was our first show ever in the states about 15 or 16 years ago. So, Miami, for the business side and for the personal side, is special for us. It's got a good vibe.
Do you feel a different energy here than you do in other places or is it comparable to anywhere else?
You really can't compare it. That's what makes it so special. I mean, every place we go has some special attribute. It's the city that helps make the environment so unique.
You guys have been on the scene/at this show for over 15 years or so. How have you seen trance music or electronic music change? What are some of the biggest things you've seen?
Well, one big thing for us as DJs is how you are marketing yourself, from a technical side and a production side, and the move from vinyl to CD to digital. DJs now play with a whole sequence of programs. But it's okay, because we like change.
When you guys look at the entire landscape of dance music right now, which people do you see doing really exciting things or new things that you respect?
If you're in that electronic house scene, it's not that it's brand new but it's that people are always adding something different. What we don't like is the commercial side -- the EDM side. That's overwhelming, that's just annoying and doesn't have the best quality. What we do love is the range from the deepest, underground, kind of minimal scene, which is super strong right now, to that commercial side. Dance music has been changing the radio. Half a year ago, it was so different. But now this music is basically ruling the world. The whole spectrum is so big and that dance music could take over a little part of it is so awesome.
'am2pm' is your new song. Can you describe the inspiration behind it and how the sound fits into your overall group?
In general, to win that kind of old trance feeling that everyone loves so much, it's very emotional and melodic. But again, it's combined with a lot of new beats. It's slower, it's danceable, which is important to us.
Throughout your careers, what are some memorable gigs that you've had?
The state of trance these days is so big but the state of trance energy in Holland in the 90s and the early 2000s was huge. So we had a show there in 2002 and the reaction was so unexpected. This is a show we will never forget because it gave us a huge push on the international base.
What about interacting with your fans, especially with the ones who have been with you since the very beginning. How important is it to keep interacting with them and their support?
We would be nothing without our fans. Nowadays, it's more important than ever to interact with them.
Are you guys very active on social media or was it something you had to kind of force yourself to do because it wasn't around when it first started?
We do it, but we don't push it to much. We're not overly active. I mean, we don't share our every move, like when we take a shower (laughs), but we do when it's relevant. Social media is good because it gives people a glance into part of what you're doing, but not your every day life. For us, it's really important that we keep our music in the forefront.
What's next for you guys in 2016?
We have a mix compilation coming out next week! It's coming up so soon. We're also working on a new single and an album that's coming out at the end of the year. As for the rest of the year, we're just touring as always!
You guys have done a lot of remixing of other DJ's tracks, how do you guys decide what other tracks to take on and remix and make your own?
Basically, you have to like a song and you need to have and idea of what to add to it and how to transfer it into your style. We turn down a lot of good names or even good songs because we don't know what to do and it doesn't fit our sound. We wouldn't just do it because it's a big name. Really, we have to have a good idea and vision of what we could do with this song. We need to feel like we can add some value or something to it.
In your words, how would you describe your signature sound?
It's so hard. We used to say progressive trance, but I think we'd have to go way deeper. It's more about emotion than it is a signature sound. I don't think we would release a song if it doesn't touch us. It's always positive and uplifting, but it has a little bit of a melancholy touch. It's never too cheesy or too happy because that's not what life is. But to give four or five keywords to describe our sound, that's nearly impossible. If we could do that, then we would really be one-dimensional. Music is a feeling, so hopefully people feel -- that's the most important thing, that people somehow are touched by what we do.
There is so much collaboration that happens in this world and in this genre. Do you feel like you get inspired by other people through these collaborations? How do these collaborations help you as artists?
Other guys have different ways of working that you would never think about. So you can always pick things up from working with them, either from the technical or production side. Every new person can add something. We have a lot of new collaborations coming up. It's exciting. And another positive is that you reach a whole new fanbase -- you reach theirs, and they reach yours. There's always something new to explore. It definitely adds something.
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