When I work with a vocalist, I tend to provide the basic rhythm and melody of a song so they have something to build on. However it’s important not to overdo the production beforehand, so as to leave enough space for the songwriter to come up with ideas.
It’s always interesting to read about how other producers approach workflow. For me, a song usually starts by working with the songwriter and recording a demo (just vocals and one instrument – usually piano or guitar). Satoshi seems to work on the skeleton of the track on his own before giving it to the songwriter to write lyrics and melody for it. It’s an approach that makes a lot of sense for dance music because the sound character and groove are so integral to the identity of the song. I’d imagine that a lot of heavy metal songs start life as guitar riffs. And a lot of pop songs start life as a clever lyric. Whatever element captures the essence of your song, start with that and build the rest of your track around it.
What do you usually start your tracks with?
(Also, someone should tell Satoshi about Dynamic Range Day)