As I walk weary eyes of the steps of my Ryanair flight to Kerry Airport in Ireland (which is basically a cow shed) rain in face and with the realisation i've forgotten 4 cables i need, smashed the extra monitor screen i brought and broke some headphones i wasn't in the best mood (As a little tip you can buy an extra seat for your guitar which usually works out cheaper and safer).
But with a little sleep and that stress out of the way I managed some cable workarounds and got everything setup. When i work abroad I take my little Universal Audio Apollo Twin which is a neat little recording interface with 2 microphone inputs that i plug my Neve 1073 preamp into.
I think as a songwriter or composer it's really important to keep things fresh and change elements when you're creating music. I always find for example writing in a different environment, a different instrument or even different DAW (I use Protools 12 and Ableton 9.5) Recording will always bring fresh ideas.
Starting a Song I don't have one particular 'go to' starting place for writing a song but i do like some drums to be involved as I feel rhythm and melody are key. Sometimes i'll sit with my guitar or piano and strum out some chords ad-libbing some strange noises until an idea comes out and sometimes i'll ad-lib to the drums alone. Often I'll start with some lyrics and sometimes with a riff. It all depends on how much coffee I've had and what style of music I'm writing.
For drum sounds to get things going i find Addictive Drums by XLN audio the best I've ever used both in terms of creating inspiring drum sounds and midi drum loops to start with. Virtual instruments like Komplete and Play are also great for sketching out bass and other instruments. With all that said I'm still a big fan of recording your own instruments and creating something unique.
A lot of the work I do is production music for labels so right now I have a few briefs that I'm working on simultaneously. In a way I love being confined to a brief especially one just a little out of my comfort zone as it forces you to do things you've never done and adds skills to your arsenal.