Carl Craig (born May 22, 1969) is an American electronic music producer and DJ from Detroit, Michigan. Associated with the second wave of Detroit techno artists in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was described as "a leading figure in [the genre's] second generation" by Mixmag, while Pitchfork described him as a "techno pioneer."
As of 2008, Craig has released over 200 singles and remixes under numerous aliases. He was nominated for the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical for his remix of Junior Boys' "Like a Child". He is also the founder of the record label Planet E Communications.
Early lifeCarl Craig was born in Detroit, Michigan on May 22, 1969. His mother is a teacher's assistant and his father is a post office worker. He attended Cooley High School, where he developed an interest in music. He learned to play guitar and later became interested in club music through his cousin Doug Craig, who worked lighting for Detroit area parties. After hearing Derrick May's radio show on WJLB, Craig began experimenting with recording on a dual-deck cassette player. Craig met someone who knew May and passed along a tape of some of his home studio productions.
CareerSince 1989, Craig has released many recordings under a large number of aliases, including Psyche, BFC, 69, Paperclip People, and Innerzone Orchestra. Craig founded his own record label called Planet E Communications in 1991. Since then, it has released records by other artists such as Kevin Saunderson, Moodymann, and Kenny Larkin.
His first studio album, Landcruising, was released on Blanco y Negro Records in 1995. In 1996, he released The Secret Tapes of Doctor Eich under the Paperclip People moniker. Elements 1989-1990, a compilation album which collected Craig's early material as Psyche and BFC, was also released in 1996. In 1997, he released More Songs About Food and Revolutionary Art. It was placed at number 29 on Pitchforks "50 Best IDM Albums of All Time" list. In 1999, he released Programmed under the Innerzone Orchestra moniker.
Craig served as co-creator and artistic director for the Detroit Electronic Music Festival in 2000 and 2001. His subsequent dismissal by festival organizers caused substantial controversy within the Detroit techno community, igniting a high-profile campaign in his favor. In 2001, he filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against festival producer Pop Culture Media.
He released a reworked version of Landcruising, titled The Album Formerly Known As..., in 2005. In 2008, he released a collaborative album with Moritz Von Oswald, titled Recomposed, on Deutsche Grammophon. He returned as artistic director for the 2010 Detroit Electronic Music Festival. In 2015, he released a collaborative album with Green Velvet, titled Unity, on Relief Records. In 2017, he released Versus on InFiné.
Style and influencesMixmag called Carl Craig "a leading figure in Detroit techno's second generation," while Exclaim! called him a "central figure" in the genre's second wave. Pitchfork described him as "techno pioneer." He has approached techno using inspiration from a wide range of musical genres, including soul, jazz, new wave, industrial, and Krautrock, while his works have spanned ambient techno, breakbeat, house, and modular synthesizer-based stylings. In a 2015 interview, he cited The Electrifying Mojo, Prince, Kraftwerk, Juan Atkins, and Jeff Mills as the major influences on his music.
Regarding the many positions he has held in the music industry (artist, producer, DJ, record label boss, and more), Craig has said, "I have a bad habit of getting my hands dirty in every little thing, and I really do enjoy it."