German trance duo Cosmic Gate (Nic Chagall and Bossi) was in town recently, and we got to speak to Bossi, one half of the globetrotting musical geniuses. He takes us back to the time when they were here for ASOT600KL, and then further back to the glory days of trance. Is trance really gone? Will it come back? What does Bossi think of the state of electronic dance music (EDM) these days?
Find out in our exclusive interview:
Hi Bossi! Welcome back to Kuala Lumpur. The last time you were here, it was for ASOT600KL where Cosmic Gate played. How was that like for you? Epic or what?
“That was epic, it was. (laughs) It was super epic! We got off the airport and I was like..wow isn’t this the venue here on the right? I think you guys can be more than proud because it was the biggest ASOT600 compared to the ones held all around the world. Holland had more people but you guys had one stage – that’s 25,000 people for one stage. Plus, we’ve played at a lot of ASOTs and ASOT600KL was absolutely at the top level. It was Cosmic Gate’s first ever open air in Malaysia as well because the year before, we played at a tent at Future Music Festival Asia 2012.”
Would you say that ASOT600KL was one of Cosmic Gate’s most memorable gigs?
“It was one of the highlights for this year, that’s for sure. The sheer amount of people is like, 25,000! That’s like a big concert. We should never forget this. Even if EDM is getting bigger, we’re still kind of a subgenre so we should never forget where we came from. 10 years before, EDM was super, super small but now we have huge shows all around the world. It’s something fantastic. Definitely.”
So let’s talk about music for a bit. Pray tell, why is everyone all about “the drop” these days?
“It was always already about the drop but..you’re right. It’s all about that now – the drop. It’s one siren after another and someone needs to put a stop to this. The quality of the music definitely isn’t as good these days. A lot of these EDM tracks are beginning to sound the same and now is the time to stop it. I don’t want to say that everything is bad – there are a lot of good productions around but there’s also a huge amount of crap. People should adopt certain things but still be true to themselves, and have a real song. Tell a real story!”
Now, here’s something we’ve always wanted to know. What’s the production process like for both you and Nic?
“That’s something I never really knew how to answer. Every production starts differently like, when we’re at the studio, we throw these sounds about. Sometimes we start with a bassline, other times we start with a melody and then throw in the bassline later. Or you could have a vocal first like..Be Your Sound..how we did it was, see we always tend to send vocalists the melody first and then they sing over it, but for Be Your Sound, Emma (Hewitt) wrote the chords. We changed the chords totally and produced it from scratch. It was completely different from what she initially wrote. So maybe, what’s fitting a production process, to say it in simpler terms is that it’s not like cooking. Cooking..you follow a recipe all the time. You start with boiling the water then you put in this..and that. Production, on the other hand, it’s music, it’s art, and therefore it’s different. None of our productions ever started the same way and it needs to be that way to keep it unique.”
And while we’re still on the topic of music, where do you think the glory days of trance have gone? Do you think it’ll come back?
“I think trance is..like, when you really listen to Swedish House Mafia, I think they have a lot of trance influence. It’s of course not trance per se. It’s..I don’t think trance in its glory days, in its 1999 way is going to come back. But that’s good though. Because to have something sound the same 15 years later, it’s not sexy. These big string sounds..they’re never really gone. Just the beats that are different and stuff. We think that trance is still there. Eric Prydz, for us, has a lot of trance in some things that he’s doing. He would refuse to use the word but for us, it’s clear. He has got trance in his productions. So, trance is still there. It just sounds different. As for the pure just trance..no. There are some DJs who still do it and we have respect for them because they kinda went underground for doing it. 1999 was a good time but we’re in 2013 now.”
Are there any DJs/producers that you could be working with in the near future, that you haven’t worked with previously? What are some of the Cosmic Gate surprises that you have in store for us?
“Yes, but I’m not telling you who (cheeky smile). But yes, absolutely. We’re also going to be working with Emma Hewitt again and it’s going to be something a little different. Or maybe it’s good to keep it the way it has always been because the fans wouldn’t like it too much we if changed things up drastically. We’ve been talking about it for a long time already so it’s only a matter of the first good idea and when.”
Last question for the road – what words of wisdom would you impart to aspiring DJs/producers of Malaysia? What would you tell a noob?
“Get into the scene for the right reason..which should be for the love of music. If you’re going to do it for the fame, girls, and free drinks or whatever, then those are the wrong reasons. You know, when Cosmic Gate started, we were the nerds. The DJs were the nerds! At private parties, I’d be in a dark corner somewhere and my friends would be like..come to the bar! We have free drinks! There are girls! And I’d just be like, let me be here, let me just do the music. And they’d be like, you suck, you’re an idiot. See, if you don’t have the passion for music, if you don’t think that you’re the one who can play the right music for the parties, if you don’t have that kind of love for music or think that music is above everything, then don’t do it. But if you decide yes, that’s me, I have that kind of passion and love for music then as a DJ/producer, you need your own style, your own handwriting. Innovate. Don’t copy. Be yourself and don’t follow trance blindly. Oh, also, good luck!”
Thank you for speaking to us, Bossi. Do us a favour and come back soon – don’t be a stranger now.