R.A.P.: Are you a musician?
R.A.P.: Where do you get the synthesizer sounds you use for your sweepers and ID's?
Mitch: I have some guys that I work with here locally that are very accomplished musicians and keyboard specialists. They provide the synthesizer sounds for me. In fact, one of them, who is no longer here in Memphis, used to be one of the writers for the Tanner Company and Media General. I worked with him in Nashville, too. He wrote several of the major libraries they had and numerous ID packages.
R.A.P.: Are these the same guys you used on your libraries?
Mitch: Yes. On the Digital Energy package, I used the guy I was talking about along with a couple of others. Just one of these guys was responsible for putting Future Shock together. We worked on it together. On some of the package, he would come to my studio and we'd work on it a little bit. Other times, we'd use his bigger studio that's just devoted to music. I would feed him ideas and tell him what I wanted, he'd give me rough tracks, then we'd go from there.
R.A.P.: Let's talk about your libraries. You've produced three since you've been on your own, the latest being Future Shock. Judging from the demo, Future Shock is quite different from your other two and different from most everything else out there. What do you think the difference is?
Mitch: Well, a lot of Future Shock is non-melodic. One of the main things you hear from radio production people is that they need tracks that are good for promos, something that has a good driving rhythm but doesn't have all the melody. Being a production person, I knew exactly what they were talking about. Plus, I wanted to offer some things that grabbed your attention as soon as they hit; and with most of those tracks, as soon as they hit, you know it. As far as the effects, I tried to include effects that could be used for sweepers, ID's and the like. It was strictly planned for the production person that's doing the hot radio production that's out there now. The Effector, one of the other packages, is along the same line, but Future Shock is even hotter than that.
R.A.P.: Several of the cuts on the demo tape featured electric guitar licks. Was this a synthesized guitar sound included in the MIDI tracks or was the guitar overdubbed live?
Mitch: The electric guitar was live. There may be a couple of spots with a synthesized guitar lick or two, but there is live overdub of guitar in the Future Shock library. In the Digital Energy package, there is live guitar, sax, and a few other instruments as well.
R.A.P.: How far along are you with Future Shock?
Mitch: As a matter of fact, I finished up with the printer this afternoon, and I'll have that ready to go to the CD plant next week. The digital master has been made and is ready to put on CD's, so in two or three weeks I should have some CD's to start sending out. I have only mailed out about a half dozen demos to people I work with regularly just to get their input, and the first six out of the chute said, "Yes, I want it! Book it!"
R.A.P.: The library demos are very well produced. You've obviously done a few of them before.
Mitch: Yes. That was also one of my main jobs with the Tanner Company and Media General. I produced a lot of demos for libraries. The fourteen years that I was there, I was more or less the General Manager of the syndication department that put out contests, promos, and that type stuff. Plus, I was manager of six production libraries.
R.A.P.: The Effector, which was released in 1988, was your first library. What made you decide to do it?
Mitch: I like to have as many things going as I can and be as diversified as possible. The library was something I had always wanted to do when I was at Media General or the Tanner Company. I wanted to do a library that was geared more towards promotion instead of a full scope library that took in everything. The Effector is geared more to CHR and urban formats, and AOR stations bought it, too. Digital Energy is a little more broad-scoped. It has some seasonal and international stuff in it. It's more like a mini full-scope library. Future Shock is straight ahead promotions all the way; and it can go on CHR, urban, and even some country stations can use it.
R.A.P.: When you did your first library, were you pretty much aware of what you were getting yourself into?
Mitch: Yeah, I had it planned out. Monetarily, I knew what it was going to take to put it together. I also tried to do a little pre-sell and a little talking up around the country to different people to avoid getting myself in a bind. I spent cash money up front for all those libraries. There's the expense of getting them produced, getting them on CD, plus all the printing that needs to be done, and you want to make sure you don't get caught in the hole. I also had a lot of training from my time with the Tanner Company. I knew how to deal with the mastering process and the CD plants because I had done all that. Plus, I had produced presentations for years. It made it a lot easier because I knew what I was doing by that point. It just became a matter of finding the time to get the libraries produced.
R.A.P.: I take it your first library did well, or you wouldn't have done two more.
Mitch: Yeah, it did, considering the fact I did all the selling. Until I went on my own, I had never been a salesman, but I found out I could do it, and I've put the library in an awful lot of markets.
R.A.P.: What kind of marketing did you do for your libraries? Was it mainly hooking up with stations that were already using your voice?
Mitch: Well, I did a little bit of everything. I did a little advertising in some of the trades, I did some direct mail, and a lot of it was just talking it up. The radio business is one of the greatest in the world as far as what happens once you get something going -- the network will spread it, and the people will call you.
R.A.P.: Well, good luck with Future Shock and continued success with your voice work! What's next for Mitch Craig?
Mitch: I'll tell you, I'm just as content as can be to keep on rolling just like I am. I've enjoyed being out on my own, and I hope to come up with some kind of different product each year just to keep myself fresh, whether it be a production library or something else. I even had a jingle package for a while. It was called Front Runners. I hired a bunch of jingle singers here in the market, and boy, it's a smokin' ID package; but I got tired of fooling with that. When you work for yourself, the only person you've got to depend on is you. When you're doing jingle packages and somebody buys the package, you've got to bring in four or five singers and set up your session. If one of your singers comes down with a cold, well your session is gone. If your engineer doesn't show up, you're messed up there. It can be a real headache trying to get six or seven people together. It's a good jingle package, but I didn't stay with it very long. I may try it again and try to get a little more control. God willin', I'll just keep on keepin' on. ♦