Addressing Template Fa tigue
For all that we’ve advocated building templates to kick-start your creative process, it’s incumbent upon us to address the elephant in the room… If you always work with the same template sounds, won’t that make your music dull and predictable? Of course, there’s no fixed answer to this question as it fails to take into consideration the kind of music you make and the size of template you’re intending to build.
Let’s suppose you’ve been commissioned to write a computer game soundtrack for a hybrid ‘symphony orchestra plus electronic texture’ kind of score. Are you really going to set up every instrument of your strings, woodwind and brass instruments every time, from scratch, for every cue? That would waste a lot of time, as those instruments are going to be ‘common’ to each cue. However, the electronic textures might well vary from one cue to the next, so potentially not including a specific group of these in every cue might help keep this side of the soundtrack fresh.
The same rules can be applied to any other kind of production. If you write electronic music and you’re working through songwriting ideas with a singer, having a ‘known’ collection of sounds in a template might well save you valuable time when a great new hook or lyrical idea needs putting down quickly. You can then abandon the template altogether when the production really starts. If the alternative is setting up every sound from scratch, templates will – at the very least – get you making music more quickly.
If you’re lazy enough not to modify or adapt each track with the bespoke choices your music needs… well maybe that says more about you than it does your template!