Trance interviews have been on a kick lately, and the next is Cosmic Gate! We caught up with the German duo — who just hit their 20 year anniversary — at Royale Boston where we covered travel, changes in their sound, and working with others.
You’ve been in the US for a little bit now, and were back in Germany recently?
■ We’ve actually lived in the US for 10 years. We were both in Germany for Christmas seeing family and then took the first few weekends in January off. Thats alway’s special when you’re not in the routine. When you don’t play for a weekend or two, you feel like everything changes.
You have a crazy tour schedule though. How do you stay healthy?
■ A lot of alcohol [laughs]. No, it’s a difficult thing. We try to eat healthy, work out, sleep whenever there’s time for it. Not too many afterhours, we did a lot of those.
What’s the longest set you’ve played?
■ The whole night, as Cosmic Gate probably seven hours in LA, London six hours. We really enjoy that because you can really build it, take a break, and bring it up; not just two hours in your face.
Given your time here in the US, where have been some of your favorite places to go? What about internationally?
■ The usual suspects, we think New York is basically worldwide music mecca #1. What’s been going on in Brooklyn the last few years is unreal — every weekend the biggest DJs play door-to-door with three to four parties around and everyone is busy. LA is of course one of our favorites, we love to play there. Singapore is awesome just as a place and is always consistently 32 degrees (celsius) when you land. Australia has always treated us great.
Is there anywhere you haven gone you’re dying to go?
■ It was funny, the other day I was at a private party and a friend of a friend was like, “Where have you been recently that you’re so excited about that you’ve never been before?” and it was hard to answer. We’ve played all around South and Central America and had never been to El Salvador, and we had an awesome show there in our 20th year. There are still places to go.
You’ve been doing this 20 years, so obviously your sound has changed a bit…
■ That’s very true.
With all of those changes, have you considered releasing under other monikers?
■ We used to do it a lot. I think now it’s coming back again but we kind of have a variety under our Cosmic Gate name in sounds already. Basically as Cosmic Gate, we’re now in a lucky position where we can play progressive and we can play trance and we don’t need a moniker. Our sound is very wide. In all honesty, the intensity these days to do a project like Cosmic Gate is is our life; this is everything. If we had time to do something else — meaning we wouldn’t do something Cosmic Gate for two or three years — it would be too long. When we’re on tour constantly, we have to focus on what’s important which is Cosmic Gate and we’d rather try and bring it into Cosmic Gate rather than do a separate thing, as long as it’s electronic music.
When you’re touring, do you make music while traveling?
■ Writing music is in the studio at home. Arrangements can be done on tour. The majority is in the studio because when we write music, we use a real keyboard. We can’t sit on a laptop and draw it, though some people can. That’s good for them because they can work on the plane, but that’s not the case with us. We actually have to play it on the keyboard, very old school.
What’s the hardest part about working as a duo rather than solo?
■ Most guys we speak to who are on their own actually remind us how we always have someone else to underline what we eventually like or do not. When there are doubts, when you’re on your own you’re on your own. If you have doubts and you’re two people, you both have these doubts but in a way if one has doubts, the other eventually pushes it forward or not so you always have someone you’ve known for many years that you trust to give you an input. It’s priceless. It’s so important that we trust each other’s tastes and opinions and it really matters.
If you could collab with an artist you haven’t worked with on a new track, who would it be?
■ That’s one of those things you never know beforehand. You have an idea in your head, but it doesn’t always work out. Then there are other people you’re unsure about and suddenly you put something together and it’s magic.
On that topic, do you usually reach out to people or do they reach out to you? Or is it something the managers coordinate?
■ All of that. It helps to meet someone on the road when you have a good connection and chemistry with someone. There are producers we meet on tour and we have a laugh and vibe. There are the singers with a voice we heard somewhere else and we reach out.
That’s really exciting to have the freedom to do that.
■ That’s how we found Emma [Hewitt] many years ago. She was not into dance music and only had one house track. We found her and said she could really fit great if she gets what we wanted and she did. We’re always trying to find new talents, which is not that easy because there’s a lot out there. You can’t just google “singer.”
What’s coming up for 2020 that you’re most excited about?
■ A new single and we have a mix compilation on the way. Last year we celebrated 20 years with a few remixes of older tracks and now it’s new material we’re very excited to share. We feel things are going a little clubbier again. The last person on this planet knows EDM vibes and stuff are playing club music again but we always did and it feels good and we’re looking forward to release these new demos we have ready.