For me, 99% of the time it starts with the music before the lyrics or vocal melody…I was primarily a guitar player, not a songwriter as a teenager, so for me I might come up with a riff or chord progression that I think is cool and start to build the song from there. Normally, I’ll hear some sort of melody over the top for vocals and we go from there!
That’s a good question! Since I was a kid I’ve always loved great riff based music, heavy guitars, powerful vocals etc. So I think I’m just trying to write stuff that as a listener, I’d like to listen to.