Every UCF football game is a high-intensity experience, charged with thousands of screaming fans rocking Bright House Networks Stadium. So it’s only fitting for the booming music to bleed the same amount of black and gold as the fans themselves.
Templar is an instrumental band that creates stadium fanfare pieces and recently stole the No. 1 spot on ReverbNation — a music sharing website, home to over 3.1 million music-industry professionals — earlier this month with the most downloads and screen clicks in the nation for instrumental music. Their most popular song, “UCF Chant Redux Remix,” had more than 14,000 downloads.
None of Templar’s members ever expected for the chant to become as popular as it did.
“It’s very weird, mainly because we didn’t put it out there with the intention of it being anything other than free music,” Javier Perez, a first-year business administration student at UCF, said. Perez is Templar’s guitarist and engineer.
Elden Santos, who attended Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and drummer for the group, said he was shocked to hear the band had reached the No. 1 spot on ReverbNation, especially because they never really promoted any of their music.
The exposure, which the band mostly attributes to the 50th anniversary of UCF and conference change of UCF sports, has even brought about inquiries from representative firms, film and television projects, Jason Banning, UCF alum and cofounder of the project, said.
The “UCF Chant Redux Remix” has also had a few plays in UCF’s own Bright House Networks Stadium.
In 2008, the remix was the soundtrack for the football team’s entrance after first debuting at the UCF/USF game.
“I felt anonymous in the stadium,” Banning said of hearing his work played at the games. “All these people hearing the music and I did that. That’s kind of a cool feeling.”
Many of the members have been involved in the music industry for years, playing at the House of Blues, Hard Rock Live and other local venues, but they never imagined playing their music for the second largest school in the nation.
“I had been used to already hearing my songs on Internet radio stations. To listen to something I played to a crowd of 40,000 people — that’s petty humbling,” Perez said.
Santos admitted he had never attended a UCF football game and was surprised to hear that the song had already played in the stadium on game day.
“That’s great,” Santos said upon learning of the achievement. “That was [Banning’s] ultimate goal, to get the stuff in the stadium … serve as a way to pump up the fans.”
Banning said that a rock-star university such as UCF needs music with some edge. He recalled approaching Ron Ellis about recharging the game music. Ellis joined the Marching Knights as a drill designer in 1990 and was named the assistant director of bands in 1995. In 2010, he left UCF for a position at the University of Texas San Antonio.
“[Ellis] was trying to get some personality into the band,” Banning said. “He actually thought of putting bagpipes in the band!”
For Banning and Perez, UCF and the Orlando music scene had a strong influence on their music careers.
Perez said he remembers the first time he ever stepped foot on UCF’s campus. It was 2004 and Seether — a South African post-grunge/alternative metal band — was the main act in the UCF Arena. Perez’s band back in the day, Runnin’ Blind, opened the show.
Now it seems his career has come full circle, from opening a university’s homecoming to headlining its roaring football games.
Banning is the general manager of the Indian River Music Company, which welcomes all genres of audio and video production in the East Orlando area according to the company’s Facebook page. Templar record all of their tracks at the IRMC, but the music is owned by UCF.
Although each member has been a member of several bands in the past, some of which, Banning admitted, have crashed and burned, they each make their living from other endeavors.
Banning describes the project as something they all do “just for fun.” Even the downloads from ReverbNation don’t put any money in their pockets, but Perez said that it was never about money.
“If we had done it for the money, I don’t know that it would have happened. We did this because we love music, and we love this school,” Perez said.
The guys all have different ideas of where Templar’s future in music is headed, but they agree about one thing: It’s always going to be about UCF.