Legendary music producer Carl Craig is one of the most acclaimed DJs in the world. As a trailblazer in Detroit’s electronic dance music scene, his name is synonymous with musical excellence and experimentation.

Throughout his remarkable career, Craig has incorporated the elements of dance, house, soul, jazz, new wave, industrial, and many more into his one-of-a-kind style. He’s released numerous albums such as Landcruising (1995), The Secret Tapes of Doctor Eich (1996), More Songs About Food and Revolutionary Art (1997), Programmed (1999), and Versus (2017) to name a few  Also, he’s dropped hundreds of remixes for artists ranging from Maurizio, Theo Parrish, and Depeche Mode

Because of his artistic prowess, he has performed for jazz enthusiasts at the Montreux Jazz Festival and in renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall.

To chronicle his remarkable life, a documentary titled Desire: The Carl Craig Story is set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in June. The doc reveals his humble beginnings in Detroit to his meteoric rise as an innovative, worldwide producer and DJ,

Craig spoke with BET.com about when he first discovered his love of music and how it forever changed his life.

“I remember looking at the Gordy label going around in circles while listening to “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by The Temptations and I was completely enchanted by that purple label. I think that’s when I realized that I would always be connected to music,” Craig recalled.

As he grew older, Craig was drawn to DJing and was influenced by several masters of the turntables who were passionate about dance music, which led him to chart his course in the genre. He was also inspired by the works of Prince, Kraftwerk, and Juan Atkins.

Derek May is my main influence as a club DJ and we also had a radio DJ called The Electrifying Mojo in Detroit,” Craig said. “Also, Jeff Mills was a big influence in Detroit but in Chicago, there was Ron Hardy, Frankie Knuckles, Mike Hitman, and Steve “Slik” Hurley. Also, the great stuff that was coming from Philly with DJ Cash Money who was killing it.”

When asked what are the distinctives of Detroit’s brand of election dance music, he gave his opinion on what makes the sound of “Motor City” so special.

“In Detroit, we like to use orchestral string sounds while having a driving beat. You definitely gotta have those hard, house-style beats with heavy bass with those orchestral sounds,” he said. “There’s also other little blips and blobs that you might find in other aspects of techno music that we have as well.”

As dance music has reentered the mainstream over the last few years, Craig said that the genre has a long history of being overlooked, and those who created and supported the music in local cities are often ignored. He maintained that he would continue to be a curator and supporter of dance music, which has always been Black music.

“I wish that the embrace of dance music was a consistent thing. Unfortunately, the Disco Demolition did a lot of harm to dance music in 1979 that we still feel,” Craig said. “With Black people, music is always a cultural thing. Whether it’s in strip clubs, gay clubs, or straight clubs, if it has something there for my people, I’m completely happy with it and want to be a part of it. If the beat is pumping, then the brothers and sisters are going to be dancing.”

“I was in London when Martha Wash was on TV crying about Blackbox not giving her credit for singing so I was seeing the erasure of Black artists firsthand,” he continued.

He also shared why Europe has historically welcomed Black dance DJs and artists.

“Europe didn’t have the physical demolition so they weren’t affected. Abba was huge over here and Donna Summer was still huge,” he explained. “France, England, and Germany all have their own scenes and they’re only affected in small ways by each.”

After over three decades of producing, touring, and being an ambassador of the electronic dance music birthed in Detroit, Craig is telling his story in “Desire: The Carl Craig Story.” 

“The experience of making the documentary was great. But even if I wanted to do it myself, I wouldn’t be comfortable with it,” Craig said. “So I’m glad Jean-Cosme Delaloye followed me around for about a year. It was great to have captured everything that I do from his perspective.”

With the doc, Craig wants viewers to see the life of a world-traveling DJ and his commitment to his craft.

“I want people to understand how real it is to be on the road. It’s not this fantasy world that people think it is. They think you’re always playing the best gig ever, in stadiums every night, flying first class all the time, staying in suites with swimming pools and a jacuzzi in the room,” Craig said. “But that’s not always the case.”

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