Gabry Ponte Uses Cubase with Great Gusto
Gabry Ponte, long-time Cubase user, is one of Italy’s finest DJs and a former member of the Italian eurodance trio Eiffel 65, best known for their international hit single "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" back in the ’90s. While continuing to work on projects as remixer and producer for his record label Worldbus Records, Ponte still can’t quite get enough of spinning those decks, jet-setting around the globe to perform in front of reveling crowds. Meanwhile, Ponte has released three albums under his own name, all with smashing hits for scene lovers, bringing together individuals who share the same passion as he does for music. Since 2007, Ponte has also turned to radio, broadcasting his week-day show Gabry2o, which attracts a rapidly growing audience throughout Italy.
Do you remember the moment when you realized you wanted to dedicate your life to music?
I was 15, and my friends used to meet up in a club on Sunday afternoons. The first time I went along with them I realized I wasn’t really interested in the dancing. Instead, the DJ booth caught my immediate attention. I spent the whole afternoon watching the DJ spin the turntables, trying to understand what he was doing — I was hooked and if I should pin it down to a particular instant in time, I guess this was the moment when I decided to devote my time and energy to music.
What style of music represents you?
I believe it doesn’t make much sense to categorize music into different genres. Of course, my sound is electronic, but occasionally I also like to use acoustic instruments, especially guitars and strings.
What was your most memorable live appearance?
I was on tour with Eiffel 65, the band I was playing with a few years ago. We were in L.A., California, playing at the Dodger Stadium, and… wow! … the crowd and the atmosphere were amazing — truly an experience I will never forget.
How do you realize your musical ideas?
It really depends on where they’re coming from. Sometimes I have a melody on my mind, sometimes it’s a harmony I’ve heard some place before. Then I play around with the idea I have by simply grabbing my guitar. As soon as the idea has taken form, I feed it into my computer running Cubase and begin with the arrangement.
Do the possibilities that Cubase offers affect your music in any way?
Actually, yes… it’s not easy to explain… I guess it’s like learning to play a musical instrument. When you start off, you don’t really think about the sound quality, but are more interested in mastering the instrument. However, as soon as you’ve worked it all out, you start to focus on the sound. When I discover new functions or I update to a new version of Cubase, I also improve the quality of my sound.
Which functions of the program do you work with the most?
I work a lot with the equalizers, filters and effects, especially compressors, limiters and stuff like that which give the sound more punch.
When, from whom, and how did you hear about Cubase for the first time?
Cubase was the first program I used. A friend of mine showed it to me and taught me how to use it almost 20 years ago. Of course, it was a very rudimentary version when compared with what we have nowadays. But at 15, I didn’t consider it to be the “instrument for the job” — it was more like the perfect “video game”. When I started to produce music, I also tried out other music software applications… but as we all know, you never forget your first love.
What kind of music do you listen to other than your own?
I listen to a lot of music, from classical to hip hop, from reggae to chill-out music. For example, I always keep a CD of Beethoven in my car, and when I drive back home after a show, it soothes my ears and relaxes my mind. I also get my inspiration from other styles of music: a catchy melody, a sample or an arrangement I hear.
What do you think about music on the internet and the internet as a medium for publishing music? What about online sample libraries?
No doubt, the internet has opened up amazing new possibilities for music, connecting people and producers from all over the world and allowing access to loads of libraries simply by clicking the mouse. The internet also facilitates the exchange of files and allows music to spread worldwide in seconds. The internet may have “killed” the market in many ways, but now it’s becoming a powerful instrument which provides many ways to sell music and make business. It’s been an out-and-out revolution we’ve been through the past ten years and now we’re living in a new era.
Future plans? New projects? Next record?
I don’t plan my future much in advance. I work on my projects day by day, and, most of the time, when I start something new I don’t even know where it’ll take me. At the moment I’m working on several new productions, new tracks — nothing specific — as well as experimenting with sounds and new gear.