After years of featuring his music, a few premieres and a lifelong obsession with his CloZee "Black Panther" remix, I am stoked to finally have the opportunity to talk to Derek VanScoten AKA Cloudchord. Hands down, one of the most positive and community-giving producers in the beat scene nowadays.
The interview comes just a few weeks after his new full length LP release titled Attunement. Find out where his artist name comes from, future plans and how a day in Cloudchord life looks like below. I also hope you guys the smashingly awesome mix Derek crafted for us.
Medasin - "Warm Blue" (Cloudchord Guitar Refix)
Cloudchord x Soul Food Horns - "Yodel "
Cloudchord x G Mills - "Sunlit"
Cloudchord x Philanthrope - ID
Cloudchord x Soul Food Horns - "Abloom"
Cloudchord x Soul Food Horns - "7th inning Stretch"
Cloudchord x Soul Food Horns - "Bopatron"
Cloudchord x Oatmello - "For Her"
Cloudchord x HM Surf - "What The Frick"
Cloudchord x Soul Food Horns - "Too Young For Secrets"
Cloudchord x j'san - "First Wonder"
Cloudchord x Soul Food Horns - "Noodlez"
Cloudchord - "Bright Beginning"
Cloudchord - "Attunement"
Cloudchord x Soul Food Horns - "H’Okay"
Hi Derek! This chat has been way overdue, your beats have been daily part of my life ever since I stumbled upon your "Pygmy Up" remix in 2017. Before anything, how would you describe the mix you created for us in a sentence?
Mellow and funky chilhop to atmospheric lofi.
I decided to make of mix tunes that feature me as a guitarist from over the past year, including my latest album Attunement.. There are also some unreleased things with Philanthrope, HM Surf, and a thing i did for Medasin.
So, where does the name Cloudchord come from?
It just came to me. I had a post-it with about 300 possible names on it. Of all the options it was probably the most fitting, and also commercially available :) Other names that didn’t make the cut were yeah bro and tree lanka.
Your style is quite versatile, I actually never know what to expect. From funk to r&b and chillhop/lofi stuff. Is "dancing" in between genres something deliberate or it just happens?
It’s something that has been deliberate. When i was younger it was even more extreme, in that i was studying classical at a university, playing bluegrass and jazz at night, and had just joined a touring latin band. But really my goals have been to distill those interests down into a potent unified sound, that embraces various timbres and cultures, and yet is so clearly me.
Correct me if I am wrong, but you've somehow moved slightly away from releasing remixes towards your own music these past months. What do you like and dislike about each of those things?
Yeah I started as Cloudchord doing just remixes for a year because I was unsure what i wanted to write, and was having a reasonable amount of success with them. The Of Monsters and Men remix went to #1 on Hypem at least 4 times. I think i had 5 or 6 consecutive remixes hit #1 on Hypem. But it was a rut and I had to walk away.
Your joint LP with Soul Food Horns Koi Pond is just almost a year old How did you start working with the guys?
Louk, who is the SFH mastermind, used to be based in Austin and played in this soul group called Huggy and the Feelgoodz. I saw their singer live, and asked if I could produce a tune for them. My relationship with Louk naturally flourished form there and we’ve made a ton of music since then. Ironically, the tune with Huggy never got released.
You're quite active on Instagram. I often watch a lot of tutorials and live recordings - it's great to see people helping and sharing knowledge. Do you also teach students in your free time?
Yeah I’ll probably always teach at least a little bit. it’s a real sense of service. I feel like I’ll never run out great ideas as long as I’m teaching.
Speaking of which, is music/producing a full time thing right now?
Yes, between gigging, producing and teaching it has been for many years now.
What's your setup right now? Would you mind taking a photo and walking us through it? From both hardware and software point of view.
I’m not really a fan of showing what my software is what plugins I used because I find it a bit boring. But here’s a pic of the fun stuff, my rhodes and various guitars.
How does your average day look like?
Yoga with the wife in the AM, our daughter swirls around us in her own creative world, play and produce till early afternoon, teach till the evening, dinner with the fam, and then either time with the wife, maybe a show, or night time in the studio.
Favourite producers / mates from the scene? People we should be checking out.
My spotify recently played are Anderson Paak, Oatmello, HM Surf, Tycho, Sufjan Stevens, Bibio, and Geotic. Sometimes I also throw on neo soul guitar compilations on youtube and just listen to snippets of inspiring players.
Your remix of CloZee's "Black Panther" is one of my favourite discoveries this year. How did you get inspired for this new version?
I suck a making a trap bangers, or am rarely inspired to do so. So I went a different direction and incorporated the acoustic guitar and some horns. Funny enough, This Song is Sick wanted to use my track and the remix albums premiere.
What's the weirdest shaped cloud you've ever seen?
Probably one in mind when closing my eyes when on psychedelics in my 20’s.
How many guitars do you own?
A bunch, like 15 or so if you includes mandolins and banjos and ukes. Still don’t have “the one” yet.
If you could listen to only 1 album until the rest of your life, which one would it be?
It would just be a nylon string guitar on a desert island so I could play whatever i wanted! :)
What's next for Cloudchord in 2019?
I just dropped my 3rd album “Attunement.” Currently working on a acoustic ep, and a funk thing with various horns, eps with HM Surf and Gmills, maybe singles with Englewood, a remix for bronze Whale, and then Koi Pond 2.