Reavis Mitchell, an adjunct instructor at the Nashville campus of creative media education college SAE Institute, is a co-inventor of Beat Thang, a portable tactile drum computer. Beat Thang is available in 300 U.S. retail locations as well as stores in 30 countries.
“Our company, BKE, knew that there was demand for a versatile studio solution like Beat Thang among artists, songwriters, engineers, and producers in all music genres, and that the major manufacturers of digital audio workstations weren’t serving this need,” says Mitchell, a Nashville native. “Our products are made by musicians with the unique needs of our fellow musicians in mind, and we’re thrilled to be able to deliver exactly what the marketplace is looking for.”
Mitchell’s work in the music business dates back to the early 90s when he was a producer for Nashville-based R&B groups. He also has an extensive background in computer science, including a degree at Tennessee State University and work for the U.S. Department of the Interior on technology for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Army. Combining both areas of expertise, he helped to launch BKE in 2008 with collaboration from veteran producer Bob Ezrin (KISS, Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, Jane’s Addiction, The Deftones) and support from Nashville-based venture capitalist David Crabtree. Since hitting the market, BKE’s music technology solutions have been used by a variety of today’s top producers, including Grammy winners Tricky Stewart, Dallas Austin, India Arie, OutKast, and will.i.am.
Along with being the Chief Technology Officer at BKE, Mitchell has also been an adjunct faculty member for the past 6 years at the Nashville campus of SAE Institute, which was recently cited as being the best audio recording/engineering school in America by Vibe Magazine.
“Students in SAE’s audio technology program benefit from smaller class sizes and more hands on experience than I’ve seen in the audio engineering programs of other schools,” says Mitchell. “Another advantage that SAE offers is that fact that so many of the faculty members are musicians, producers, and entrepreneurs, which allows students to learn their craft from those who are successfully making a living at it.”
When he’s not in the classroom at SAE or fine-tuning BKE’s product line, Reavis works on music productions in his Soulbeat Productions studio, and also does sound design and beta testing for various audio gear manufacturers.
“I just finished working on a new application called Airbeats that triggers sounds while you’re drumming in the air – no keys, no mouse, just hand movements,” explains Mitchell. “It’s the kind of very cool, very Tony Stark kind of technology that I find fun, challenging, and really exciting.