Old Weller makes pure synth music. No "real" instruments, no sampled sounds, no vocals.
Each Old Weller song uses a unique collection of synth instruments created specifically for it.
Old Weller creates sounds and follows them to find their music. Some sounds are soft, some are harsh. Sometimes they fit together in strange ways...
Listen to what has been drawn from the Well!
Who are you and what's this all about?
I am Old Weller and this is all about music I create on my long work commutes. I didn't set out to make music - to keep me creative on the go I bought a tiny portable computer (PocketChip) which came with a program called SunVox preinstalled. I found myself spending hours just making fun sounds with it. Eventually those fun sounds became rythmic patterns, which turned into songs... sometimes. Over time I collected enough songs that I enjoyed enough to release and I have found the process so creatively satisfying that I'm still doing it.
How would you describe your music?
A few people have told me it sounds 'like old-school videogame music', which feels like both a compliment and a reasonable description. The music is entirely created with software so it sounds computer generated, but there is still so much room to explore. Oddly, the constraints of making music this way feels freeing because I don't have any preconceptions about what style of music it should become. I make sounds and let them grow.
What's your creation process like?
I start by selecting synth modules, linking different combinations together and playing with their settings until I find a sound I find interesting. Then I explore the range of that synth "instrument" to find the frequencies I think it sounds good at. From there, musical phrases and patterns develop which I start arranging. I have a working knowledge of music theory, but for creating my music it's almost all by ear. Once something starts sounding good to me, I listen to it repeatedly and when my brain stops trying to overlay more sounds, it's probably ready! And this doesn't even touch on coming up with beats to match...
Who are your musical influences?
I try not to consciously think about other people's music when I am making my own but I accept that there's no escaping being subconsciously influenced by what we take in. And I take in a lot!
Music has always been an important part of daily life. Records or the radio always seemed to be on when I was a child. I remember a lot of Beatles, Classic Rock and old Country, as well as a lot of Raffi and Fred Penner. As I grew up music became increasingly portable and accessible - Walkmans, discmans, MP3 players, streaming... I still listen to music every day and listen to just about every genre. Classical, Punk, Chiptunes, Reggae, EDM, Heavy Metal, Ambient, Brass House... The list goes on and there's so much to enjoy and music has never been more accessible. If it moves you, it moves you.
Who are some artists you particularly enjoy, then?
I'm sure I'll be forgetting more than I remember, but let's try. Start with Classical - Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Saint-Saëns, Wagner, Mozart, Bach... You know what? Nevermind trying to categorize, here's a bunch of artists I think are rad: Amon Tobin / Two Fingers, Aphex Twin, Lorn, Ivy Lab, Shades, Too Many Zooz, Tom Waits, King Diamond, Iron Maiden, Viagra Boys (Street Worms is probably my favourite release of 2019), Bad Religion, Cerebral Scrub?, Weedeater, Morbid Angel, Carcass, Dayglo Abortions, Royal Red Brigade, The Noble Savages, Primus, Ween, Beck, Johnny Cash, Mortiis, Ratatat, Heavy Lungs, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Chezidek, Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Culture Club, Squarepusher, Orbital, Vitalic, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Rob Hubbard, Jeroen Tel... I could do this all day. There's so much great music out there.
What are your plans for the future?
I am currently working on some visualizations of some of my songs - some computer graphics and animations that are driven in some ways by the music. I've also recently started building electonic circuits to play with light and sound, which is a lot of fun. I am heading in the direction of DIY synths. And of course, creating more music. The Well of Creativity is infinite and we should all draw deeply from it. And getting out to more shows! It's important to support your local music scene.
Old Weller has released six EPs since 2017:
See the music! Real time computer graphic visualizations of Old Weller songs so your eyes can experience the songs, too! Created by Old Weller using p5js.