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Javier Weyler
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Javier Weyler

Multi-instrumentalist, producer, engineer and founder of the Breaking Waves Agency
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Javier Weyler

Javier Weyler spent many years playing drums in bands in South America before relocating to London to start a journey that would take him from college at SAE to running his own sound design business, playing drums in Stereophonics for eight years along the way. Now he's on the crest of a wave with Aston…

Stereophonics, Phil Manzanera, Bent, Breaking Waves Agency, Zak Starkey
Javier uses...
Starlight
Eye of the storm

I was born in Argentina but grew up in Venezuela. My father was a musician, not professionally, but he played for fun. I started drumming because his drummer had part of a drum kit spare and he gave it to me. That was when I was 13. I started lessons with this legendary Venezuelan drummer – every drummer in the country went to his place in downtown Caracas to learn.

Drumming is not a common thing in Venezuela though. They like baseball and basketball, not rock music so much. But there were a few people into it, so I started my own band called Claroscuro which went for 11 years, and by the age of 15 I was playing professionally. We had a few albums and one of the songs was on MTV, and for a Venezuelan band it was quite a big thing. We were just kids doing anything that we wanted to do basically, and it was great.

Even though I always love music and am a musician, I knew if wanted to be more articulate in sound I would have to do it properly, so I decided to come to London to study at the School of Audio Engineering. For me, influence wise, the music I always listened to – from The Cure to Depeche Mode – it was always British. There was always something more artistic about the British sound so I wanted to move to the eye of the storm.

I can play that

We used to do classes in the day and practicals at night at SAE. I was with a mate of mine called Carlos and we thought 'we are South American, there are no Neves or SSLs back home, so we have to use all of this stuff as much as we can!' So we literally lived there and I think we slept on average about three or four hours a day! 

At that stage of my life I just wanted to do sound engineering or become a producer, and as soon as I finished I worked at a post production house in Covent Garden called Punk, Junk & Genius and my first job was assisting on a live recording of The Pretenders.

I then worked on the You Gotta Go There To Come Back album with Stereophonics and became quite good mates with the producer Jim Lowe. I assisted on that recording and played percussion. Kelly [Jones, founder Stereophonics] had done all the recording and it was just me and Jim in the studio and he needed some percussion so I did it. Then when they came back to the studio to do the demos for the next album, they didn't have a drummer. I was practically living in that studio – I had all my drums there and everything. I remember they were programming some drums and I was like 'hey guys if you want I can play that exactly!'

Watched by Manchester Utd

I was in Stereophonics for eight and a half years. It was amazing – there are loads of highlights. The first ever recording we did as a trio was for The Long Way Down documentary with Ewan Macgregor. That was the ice-breaker and we had an amazing time doing that record. I also remember we did a show in Manchester and the whole of the Manchester United football team came. I was like 'are you fucking kidding me!' Then you just fall into the rhythm of things. I was lucky that it came at a point in my life where I was ready for it, mature and having fun and enjoying the ride. I had a great run. When I joined we had a number one single and album and it was an amazing time, and then I got to see the world with five or six world tours.

Even when I was in the 'Phonics I did my own music and at some point I knew I'd want the challenge of doing things all on my own, when you are solely responsible for everything. The first album I did was in Spanish. I was still in the band but wanted to do something in my first language. The second one was almost all instrumental, like an eclectic mix of soundtracks. For me, because I'd done the band thing and touring, I wanted to do things in a slightly different way. The band was amazing but there's a cycle where you do an album, you tour, you do promotions, and there's a beginning, middle and end. So I started getting more involved in doing soundtracks for films and sound design and realized that was exactly what I was hungry for.

Title

The first thing I did was the music for a documentary El Yaque: Town of Champions. I like to get involved with everything and, in the end, I did the music and then they got me to do the mixing, the sound design and post production. From that I started my own agency, Breaking Waves, and now I can provide all the music and sound design. Within sound there are three different elements. There's the speech, that is dialogue, voiceover or singing. There's the soundscapes with all the sound design, effects and ambiences and then you have all the music. So far we've done a plethora of documentaries, drama features and short films.

I was doing the music for a film which I have just finished, a Spanish production called Antarctica: a Message from Another Planet. Because drums were a big thing for that project I went to Zak Starkey's place to do some recording for it. We got lots of mics in from KMR and Funky Junk, but also came across the Astons as well so we tried them. It was great to have all of these different microphones around and we took a lot of time to get a really good drum sound. I was absolutely blown away by the Starlights. It was mind-blowing how precise they were and I wasn't expecting such a musical sound from a pencil condenser. I had my Coles with the Starlight next to it and I was like 'wow'. On the snare we had a Shure SM7 but halfway through recording we put a Starlight next to it and never took it off again, we just left it. It was fantastic on the snare and as an overhead it was even better! I was totally blown away by that mic.”

Out-takes

Q. If you weren’t working in music what would you be doing?
A. “I would definitely be on a beach, diving or something.”

Q. What would your fantasy mic be?
A. “A microphone that you can point it to exactly the source you need but filters all the shit out!”

Q. What are the 4 words you’d chose to describe Aston, or your experience with the brand?
A. “Musical, precise, mind blowing.”

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