As a Grammy Winning producer and engineer, my experience working with giants like Sabbath and Priest has given me the tools to take all projects from conception to completion.
When approaching a project you have to get inside the head of the songwriter/creative genius and determine what they are trying to express. Understanding the person and the story they are trying to tell is massive. Once you become a collaborator with that person and they begin to trust you, you have to ensure that they are guided toward making their best work ever. No problem should be unsolvable, everything they want to try or hear should be given time. They have this thing burning inside that they need to express, and they need help doing it.
Very often songwriters work in a vacuum and overlook the talented people they have around them, or band politics have resulted in a defensive attitude to opinion, so I try to involve everyone and get them to play to their strengths.
Once all the songs are in great shape it’s time to decide on the best way of recording. I try to get as much recorded ‘off the floor’ as possible. The energy is incredibly different when everyone has eye contact and is hearing everything in context. After that we begin building the overdubs and constantly listen from beginning to end to hear how the song is working dynamically. The vocalist should be able to sing as soon as the basic tracks are cut together, no waiting until the last day of recording to do 10 lead vocals!!! It should be a fun and exciting process for a band because they are working together to create something they have to live with forever.