As a life-long music producer and sonic tinkerer, I'll periodically get asked the question of whether I tend to start my tracks from a blank canvas, or via a pre-set template, or even if there's a particular instrument that I’ll typically gravitate toward as the founding element in each new tune.
In my case it’s usually very much the former -- although there are tremendous benefits to having come up with a personalized production template within which you might already have some of the core elements laid out and even somewhat pre-mixed, thusly enabling you to just jump right in and get writing, my personal preference is to start with a blank slate, for two reasons:
For one, there’s a kind of mysterious “magic” to the ritual of laying out a blank canvas, having absolutely no idea where an idea might stem from, what it’ll eventually snowball into, and where the finished product will eventually take you; reason number two is that, while doing so can be fiercely intimidating (because something something creative paralysis), that's actually precisely why it’s become such an integral part of my own personal discipline as far as overcoming potential writer’s block -- by repeatedly challenging myself to shape something out of absolutely nothing, it’s become tremendously easier through persistent (and somewhat stubborn) practice to not only start, but also commit to finishing tracks, which is something that a lot of us creative types often struggle with.
In this video I open three of my own tracks, each of these having been initially sparked by a different instrument -- one was percussive, another was borne of a guitar riff, and the third was inspired by a bass line. Peeling back all of the fancy layers, I focus on simply the tracks’ origins, and then give a brief overview of how each idea eventually caught wind and led into the subsequent introduction of all the other elements stacked together to build the finished product.