A specialist in augmenting musical possibility, Derek VanScoten is the producer, guitarist and Emmy-winning musician behind Cloudchord. His remarkable technical skills on the guitar give a refreshing take on atmospheric dance music, solidifying Cloudchord’s place in the world of psychedelic chillhop beats.
His recent works, Moon Fortune and Attunement, transport you to a New York City rooftop, where grooves and sunshine wrap around you in the midst of a hazy summer. In his latest LP, Reverence, Cloudchord brings acoustic beats to the forefront - a departure from his usual but a cohesive body of work in the making nonetheless. Fans can expect a continued exploration of Cloudchord’s signature guitar riffs and uplifting sounds in years to come.
Derek grew up coveting guitar gods like Jimi Hendrix and Steve Vai. In junior high school, he had a rock n’ roll band called Naked Sam. They were undefeated in talent shows (3-0), and played bars before they were old enough to drive. Eventually they moved to church basements and sold cassettes out of the trunks of their cars. The game changed when his Dad took him to see George Benson, and his Mom paid for jazz guitar lessons with "Bob Hope Special" Music Director, Carmen Carmonica. (Fun fact: Derek is now on Carmen’s teaching website as a success story!)
His early college years saw him learning about high level recording studios at Middle Tennessee State University. A summer spent as an audio engineer intern at the Aspen Music Institute ignited his reverence for acoustic music. A year later, Derek was studying classical and jazz guitar at the University of Colorado. His inspirations grew to include jazz pianist and life mentor, Art Lande. Upon graduating with a BM in Guitar Performance, he joined the 10-piece latin band, Cabaret Diosa, where he learned about the utmost importance of “the show.” Everyone had outfits and pseudonyms on a flower adorned stage. When not touring, he played the local bars and backyard parties with his Bluegrass band Haywire, his Jamband Element 37, and he even joined a Motown band called 8traC with his future wife, Chantel Mead.
After several years as a Brooklyn-based touring act called D.V.S*, Derek moved to Austin and rebranded himself as Cloudchord. The creative focus was to be on the chill sides of dance music (from chillhop to deep house), while featuring live guitar and lap steel. Out of the gate, he scored 6 consecutive number one remixes on Hype Machine. In 2014, a call came to score the documentary "In Football We Trust." The work premiered at Sundance in 2015, and won an Emmy in 2017. Other scoring clients have grown to include Gatorade, Disney, & L’Oreal. (YouTube playlist of videos CC has scored)
Since 2018, Cloudchord has released over a dozen songs on Chillhop Music, and has dropped 2 sample packs on Splice.com
In early 2020, in an effort to become a more conscious teacher, Derek applied and was a selected to become an Ableton Certified Trainer. He continues to coach a variety of clients, from budding producers through the world, to established touring acts like the Disco Biscuits. He has also presented at Ableton events in Austin, Los Angeles, Denver, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, & New York City.
In addition to scoring and teaching, Derek has also been an active sideman, lending his studio and stage guitar skills to acts like Emancipator & Random Rab.
As Cloudchord, Derek continues to make music his daily meditation, while joyfully living a creative, playful and gratitude-filled life in Austin, TX with his wife, Chantel (singer/music educator), & daughter Xyla.
Derek's creative philosophy: “I see no reason to ever stop, because music is absolutely my favorite thing to do in the world. Music is my spirituality and my quest for truth. It’s always right there, if you’re willing to listen for it.”