It’s a very common line of thinking that the producer and engineer are not supposed to really influence the sound of the music; that they should mostly be invisible to the process of recording, so that the true identity of the band can really show.
But isn’t that why a particular producer gets hired? In order to provide guidance to the recording process, which in effect influences the sound?
Perhaps the line of thinking that producers should step out of the way comes from a certain era in music where things my have gotten out of hand, and the essence of an artist’s music was hi-jacked by the production and A&R team.
However, I can’t help but notice how often producers get hired because of a certain band they worked with or album they produced, myself included.
When a producer and/or engineer is hired to be a part of a project, to a considerable extent they are being invited into a collaborative process with the artist. There’s going to be a degree of influence on the sound that just comes with the territory.
I’m definitely not advocating that a producer, engineer, or anyone else should step in and change the fundamental musical identity of an artist… quite the opposite, really…
But it is an interesting question worth asking ourselves. Even if for no other reason but to keep ourselves in check, so as to not inadvertently eviscerate the very thing that makes an artist’s music special.