Cloudchord (Derek VanScoten) is a producer, guitarist, and genre bending specialist that is augmenting musical possibility into reality with his remarkable technical skills. His refreshing takes on atmospheric dance music have solidified his place in the world of psychedelic chill hop beats.
VanScoten was inspired by pivotal live experiences leading him into jazz and classical guitar studies, while digging through the fertile left-of-center instrumental hip-hop. Born out of this aesthetic convergence, Cloudchord has established himself in the burgeoning lo-fi chillhop scene with his own blissfully hypnotic sonic alchemy. He’s since racked up 100 million total streams and won an Emmy for scoring on the documentary In Football We Trust, all while building his reputation with engaging live performances and an overflowing catalog of tunes.
With Bloom Bap, Derek has put forth his greatest and most impossibly lush collection of tunes to date. We see him crystallizing his characteristic style with rolling grooves and dense thickets of melody, cementing Cloudchord as an exciting voice in the soundful electronic landscape. Featuring collaborations with Emancipator, Big Gigantic, Braxton Cook, ProbCause, Adam Deitch of Lettuce, and more, Bloom Bap projects tranquility but never quite sits still, always excitedly shifting its own structure as these 15 songs wind down fascinating paths—and you, the listener, are always along for the ride. “This is an encapsulation of me finding my identity in that world and taking all of the elements of the genre I love while branching out to an even larger audience.”
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, Facebook & 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.
Other education clients include Telluride School District, University of Denver, University of Missouri, Glendale Community College, and many Ableton user groups around the US.
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.”