Pre-Production usually starts with a demo of the song. This can be as simple as a phone recording of your band playing at practice. This will give me a glimpse of the tune in it's current form and inform choices going forward.
I'll also ask that my artists curate a Spotify Playlist for me before we begin working together. This gives me an idea of your tastes and influences so that our recording shapes up to have tonal characteristics that stand up against your favourite music.
We will then create some guide tracks for our song. These are rough recordings of the main elements of the song (eg. guitar and vocal) to a click track. This gives us a chance to manipulate the key, tempo and form of the track. Sometimes you don't know the true potential of a song until you audition it and hear for yourself. Maybe it would sound better if it were 10bpm faster? Maybe those high notes you're singing would hit harder if the key was transposed a semi-tone? Maybe that 16 bar chorus would keep the listeners attention better at 8 bars?
By exploring these ideas early in the process, we can eliminate some questions from the tracking sessions. Allowing us to use that time with more precision and perform with clearer intention.