Benztown’s Andy Sannemann in conversation with Dubai producer Vish B

I already had the pleasure to interview Vish for the Benztown Blog some years ago! He’s seriously one of the most profound imaging heads and one of the best in the game. Check out how he’s handled the COVID-19 crisis by expanding his home setup and his latest findings. Enter Vish!

Andreas Sanneman: How has COVID-19 changed the work situation for you? New workflows?

Vish B: To be honest, not surprisingly, work has really dried up, but the good thing is it’s forcing me to diversify my skill set. It’s definitely led me on the path of more experimentation. I’ve been dabbling with sound design in particular and also trying to improve my music production chops as well. I enjoy producing beats and playing around with samples because a lot of my imaging ideas come from music itself. I try to add some of that musical experimentation workflow into imaging as well. It’s been a lot of fun! I’ve spent loads of time learning new software while also getting a deeper understanding of some of the existing tools I have, like my NI Maschine and Komplete controllers. Plus some synths and plugins.

AS: What’s new since we talked last time? What stations are you currently working on?

VB: COVID has dried up a lot of the work, so it’s been fairly quiet. I’ve worked on some Top of the Hour and Alexa IDs for a station in the Cayman Islands called Z99. It was hard to find some apt Alexa drops because there isn’t a text-to-speech emulation I could find. So I went with a generic one just to add some color to the IDs in the hope that listeners won’t be able to tell the difference

AS: Any new findings in terms of workflow, software, plugins, techniques? This is a loaded question, get into the weeds here.

VB: Yes! I’ve been experimenting with some stuff. I got my hands on a lot of new gear, too (I’m such a gear nut)! Apart from Pro Tools, I’ve been a longtime Logic user as well and I absolutely love it for its programming options and with the recent update they released, it’s even better. There’s an amazing new sampler in there and it’s such a cool feature, especially if you’re making beat mixes and cutting up samples of music. You can then convert those samples into loops, which you can trigger into your session using the iPad app. It gives the whole production a very live and human feel, kind of improvised, so it’s great. I guess some Ableton users will find it familiar, but since I’m comfortable with Logic I really dig it and going forward you can expect some deeper integration into my broader Pro Tools workflow. I also jumped onto the Universal Audio bandwagon and I really love the sound. Plugin wise, I’ve been playing a lot with synths like Serum, Sonic Academy Kick, and Ana 2. I love the Pure Plate reverb from UAD and the Manley Voxbox Channel strip, instant results!

AS: How is the UAE dealing with the crisis? Do you see changes in the media landscape already?

VB: UAE’s been amazing at dealing with the situation really. They’ve built pop hospitals and testing centers in record time and provided a lot of flexible options for people who’ve been hit hard with the crisis economically. There are certainly changes in the media landscape given its a fairly small market with few players. I think once the situation improves, there might be a spike in freelance requirements (hopefully) and limited full-time. I just have to be ready for that. It’s a matter of time until we ride through this, as is the case everywhere. More than anything it’s important to stay positive and stay creative. Maybe use the time to broaden your skill set, too.

AS: What is the first thing you are gonna do after COVID?

VB: I’m going to go see my parents and friends in Mumbai and spend as much time with them as I can. Despite us being on chat everyday, and Mumbai not being too far a destination, the COVID situation has made it feel overwhelmingly far away, so that’s definitely the first thing I will do when it opens up.

AS: What’s the best purchase you’ve made in the last couple of months?

VB: I’ll start with what I have purchased – I’ve got new monitors – Presonus Eris E5XTs. They’re really nice, perfect for my home setup, have a good frequency range, and are very flat for the size. Most of all I like the stereo image, it sounds really good. The next thing I got is a Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol 32 key Midi keyboard. Compact, great keys, and great set of features. And lastly, I’ve got the UAD Apollo Twin X (Duo). I love all of them, but if I had to pick one – it’d be the Apollo. I feel like I’m forgetting something. Oh yeah, got a new shaver too. I almost like that as much as the UAD.

AS: How do you get creative these days?

VB: I spend a lot of time writing down ideas as they come, or recording them into a voice note on my phone. If it’s good enough, I just record it straight into Pro tools. Funnily enough, I’ve realised that I can create a bit of character for myself, so I’ll just turn on the mic and start speaking and hit the record button. I’ve recorded vowels, words, phrases, bad singing, and full speeches at times. It’s great how you can mess around with recorded audio so much. Plus, my teenage daughter sings and writes her own music, so she’s been pretty inspiring creatively. I’ll be sharing her first single soon which is nearly done.

Andreas Sannemann
Andreas Sannemann
Andreas Sannemann is a leading international audio imaging specialist, composer and Stuttgart-based entrepreneur who joined forces with Dave “Chachi” Denes and Oliver Klenk in 2008 to form Benztown. Together, they built a network of partners in the United States, Germany, England, Australia, and New Zealand delivering distinctive audio branding, imaging and programming to over 2,300 affiliates on six continents.

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