Composer, Performer and Musical Virtuoso, Craig Sherrad captivates music lovers with his blends of electronic, hip hop and soul music. With over 20 years of experience, Craig continues to be a part of the pioneering group of innovators that shaped the..
Born in Detroit, Michigan , Craig Sherrad Douglas possessed a natural gift for musical performance, and visual arts. His Mother a Beautician, and Father, a Live Jazz Promoter, fueled his passion for music with constant encouragement and creative opportunities. By twelve years old, Craig was playing the drums, and the keyboard. He led a junior high school band with his good friend David Pierson. Throughout his teenage years, Craig traveled from Detroit to The Bronx to visit his Father who was working with various Jazz musicians. The Bronx, gave him the ability to absorb the emerging presence of Hip Hop music, at the same time nurturing his creative expression. Detroit in the early 80’s was welcoming the arrival of techno music. In High School, Craig, and David created a popular band that helped cultivate, and promote the dance music sound. The Bratts, consisted of Craig on the drums, David on the keyboard with four other friends. Their precision, progressive flare and odd production gave them an edge many listeners loved. [“We would study the music The Electrifying Mojo played on his show. He was known for combining Funk, Techno, New Wave, Rock and Hip Hop genres. The Bratts wanted to recreate something that unified those elements”]
In the mid 80’s, Detroit’s young musicians were applying hi-tech, electronic instrumentals with soulful fast tempo. Craig’s cousin Derrick May along with Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Eddie Fowlkes, Jeff Mills, and Mike Banks motivated the electronic sound. They justified techno music’s unconventional rhythm by describing it as a spiritual interaction between the consciousness of the musician and technology. After graduating High School, The Bratts gained notoriety with their uniquely innovative style. They caught the attention of Grammy award -winning Producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. The group flew to Los Angeles to record their demo, and showcase their performance. While the experience was life changing, the group was dealing with creative differences that derailed them from proceeding. [“What we made was cutting edge. It wasn’t something that was being played on mainstream radio at that time”]. Shortly after, Craig moved to The Bronx with his Father.
New York City perpetuated Craig’s passion for live performance, and production. His Father managed a storefront lounge in the East Village, where several Jazz greats would hang out after a set. While assisting his Father at the lounge, he was introduced to jazz Trumpeter, Freddie Hubbard, Drummer, Art Blakey, and Saxophonist, Pharaoh Sanders. He would spend countless hours consuming their theories while they hosted spontaneous jam sessions. Close family friend, and prominent reggae music promoter Katherine Tobias became a mentor. She introduced Craig to legendary reggae dub producers Overton “Scientist” Brown, and Sydney Mills who was also the keyboardist for Steele Pulse. Scientist took Craig under his wing, allowing him to sit in on recordings, and mixing sessions. He assisted both of the musicians, and accompanied them to reggae concerts. The experience ignited a passion for reggae, and dancehall music giving him the recharge he needed to return to Detroit.
The 90’s proved to be a productive time in Craig’s career. In 1990, he sought out opportunities to recreate a sound that was a hybrid of everything he learned in New York. Concentrating on Hip hop, Electronica and Dancehall, he created numerous groups like trio “ HR”, and duo “The Darkskin Cats” with Robert O’Dell. The Darkskin Cats had a distinct combination of techno, funk, and industrial music. The group generated an underground buzz around Detroit performing at local venues such as The Music Institute. The duo was managed by acclaimed mastering engineer, and writer Bob Dennis. At that time, Bob’s studio, Superdisc was also the recording, and engineering headquarters for musician, songwriter, and funk master, George Clinton. Craig and Robert developed their music downstairs while George would be recording above them, often feeling the reverb and the base through the walls. On occasion, George would come in to listen to their progression. [“I remember one time, we were trying to lay some vocals down but it wasn’t on key. George came in, and told us to slow the tape down to get the timing right. It worked perfect. That was something I would have never thought to do”] The Darkskin Cats ultimately disbanded.
Craig relocated to Los Angeles, and joined another performance group called “The Gathering”. The trip hop band performed regularly at the swanky, cafés Bokaos, and The Milk Bar in Beverly Hills. The venue was a hot spot for celebrities, socialites, and industry execs. Record Producer and Musician, Danny Saber, helped develop the groups four song demo. After a year, the group decided to go their separate ways. In 1996, Craig began to focus on developing his own production and performance style. He set out to produce a string of releases as a producer. His first project was interludes “Grand Opening’”and “Last Words” along with songs “Positively Negative” and “Hit & Run”on At the Speed of Light by Xzibit.
In the early 2000’s Craig continued to take on production projects from albums to movies scores. He produced tracks such as “Territory” for Mad Lion, album, Here We Come from reggae group B.E.T, and single “So Shady” by Dr. Dre’s protégé, Hittman. In 2001, he composed music for movies Never Again starring Jeffery Tambor, Jill Clayburgh and Bill Duke along with Angels! starring Ruben Zambino, John Stapleton, and Sutan Amill. In 2007, he scored short films Legends of Mid-Wilshire: The Real Barbershop and Akira’s Hip Hop Shop. That same year, he landed tracks on two compilation albums. Riddim Wars 8 featured “Hip Hop Remix” with Tanya Stevens, along with Nitrous Hip Hop Vol 1. His credits on that compilation includes tracks by Kool Keith “ Pics and Press, as well as “ Make Em Feel Us” by Black Milk. In 2012, “Satellite Extasy (Monty’s Maple City Remix) remixed by Monty Luke was added on to Derrick May’s ” Transmat 4 compilation album. Later that year he scored his own short film Man On A Planet .
After years of producing, Craig launched a recording label called Dnaut, with sister, Sheana Stokes. He contrived five virtual collective groups; Mdec (Music Dance Every Chance), Chucky Bounce, Dougie Radar, Glate’s Beacon, and Riot Baby (duo with vocalist Talese Harris). The goal was to have a community of divergent sounds that revealed his talent for production. ” I never wanted to compromise my abilities. I always wanted to create a zone that sonically possessed the fundamentals of techno, house, hip hop, tribal, nu-disco, dancehall, and soul music”. The first EP under Dnaut was Riz Jungle by Mdec in March 2014. Riz Jungle was a unique myriad of techno, house, and nudisco. Its pounding beats, intense baselines, and warm synths attracted many dance music lovers. DJ’s Apollonia, and Patryk Molinari opened their mixes with the repetitive, brassy, track “ Hero” while “Desire” featuring Haley Blackman was added to dance compilation album Future Indie Dance Classics Vol 1. Shortly after, he released the groovy, hi tech EP, “Sketches Of A Circuit”. The spacey, five song collection was also well received internationally. Tracks, “We Got Extasy”, “Hot Pockets” and “Energize” (featuring Riot Baby) proved to be a favorite for DJ’s like Benga & Skream on BBC Radio. Succeeding Riz Jungle was an EP by Mdec’s virtual DJ Chucky Bounce. “The Legend of Chucky Bounce” EP strips beats down to the essentials. Showcasing funky baselines, dramatic percussive hits, and penetrating riffs with tracks like “Turn Down The Lights” and “Nobody Else Downtown’ Ft. J Renee.
[“At Dnaut we are exploring digital frequencies melodically at a vast rate with Dance, Hi Tech Soul, Minimal, Hip Hop, and Nu Disco. Whatever the flavor, we always aim to make sure the track bangs. We stand by our heat. We’re dance music and more”]