[EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW] Pass The Beat Challenge: Cloudchord Edition
Derek VanScoten aka Cloudchord has been on the scene for about a decade. His impacts have touched both the music and film community. Musically, he is a guitarist, producer, and even has music in several recognized multimillion-dollar corporation commercials. Derek sends out dope vibes with songs like “Moon Fortune” and “Octave Memory”. He also became an Emmy-winning musician for his work with the documentary In Football We Trust which made its debut at Sundance Film Festival.
We’re here today to talk about one of the coolest things associated with the word ‘Twitter’. “Twitter Telephone” is a collaboration track created on Twitter from the Pass The Beat challenge; the track drops to the public July 28th! Play on words of the children’s game ‘Telephone’, several artists (Ian Ewing, Birocratic, Cloudchord, Louis Futon, Martin Vogt, and Dominic Lalli) have come together with different elements to compose a perfect Telephone chain.
iEDM: Dope concept coming up with this mix. “Twitter Telephone” has remnants of a social media jam session. What attracted you to this dynamic track rather than actually passing on the beat?
Cloudchord: One that can really make a track go forward is different and unexpected ingredients. The combination of everyone having different styles, and it being around the first week of quarantine, made for a very unique circumstance.
iEDM: Would you mind breaking down the track for us? Does each artist have roughly 30 seconds and so on? Is the track finalized in the order of which the beat was passed?
Cloudchord: I’d say Dom’s parts are the most distinguishable, since he’s the only sax player on the cut. Outside of that, it’s almost more of a fractal at times. For example, Ian, Louis, and Martin all played different keyboard chordal parts. Ian, Biro and Louis all did bass stuff as well.
iEDM: Which part of the track is your contribution?
Cloudchord: I added the funky rhythm guitars, lapsteels (slide guitar), and some rhodes. I also helped with mixing and mastering. And since I ended up being the only artist who actually knew everyone, I helped in getting all the artists on the same page for the release.
iEDM: With your multiple talents, how did you decide your specific input for the track?
Cloudchord: I try not to overthink that kind of stuff, surrender to the flow.
iEDM: Tons of artists out there available. Was it a no brainer for you to Pass The Beat to Louis Futon after your part?
Cloudchord: It was me thinking out the box. I already knew Birocratic and Ian Ewing, and we had actually just played a Chillhop showcase with them in NYC the week before. My instinct was that sending it to Louis would allow it to head in a more unpredictable direction.
iEDM: Simple yet detailed and amazing artwork. Sort of reminds me of the start of a Midnight Gospel episode. Who is responsible for the track artwork?
Cloudchord: Her name is Camila Nogueira, and she’s from Portugal. This is a really cool part of the story. Literally on the day I started looking for art, she DM’d me and asked if I’d like to try working together.
Here’s her words on the piece: The idea behind this image is to show that even in these difficult and weird times of physical distancing we can still be connected inside our own creative space. We can still create beautiful music and share it with the world, just need to adapt.
The world represents the window to which the character is performing and the butterflies are a subtle sign that being in social distancing does not mean that there is no "life" around us.
I would also like to note that the character chosen is not intended to represent any of the members in particular.
iEDM: Let’s talk about some of your other projects and aspirations.
iEDM: Reverence- deep respect for someone or something. I read you brought your acoustic beats to the forefront for the LP Reverence. What were some inspirations behind the name and using acoustics more for Reverence?
Cloudchord: Before I made beats I played a lot of acoustic, in various string bands, orchestras, and such. Reverence was me coming full circle with acoustic music, but through a new lense. I’m always trying to mix it up. Different styles keep me engaged and inspired. For example, I’d like to do a Japanese folk beat album sometime, and I’m also working on a bunch of bossa nova type material.
iEDM: You have a few tracks on the LP featuring a group you’re associated with, Soul Food Horns. Amazing sounds from those tracks as well as the album y’all have together, Koi Pond. Can we expect more from you and Soul Food Horns?
Cloudchord: Yes, always! I was just featured on their album they dropped this month called Cookout. We also have a lot of material for Koi Pond 2 as well.
iEDM: Is working on film something you would like to continue? Are you currently associated with anymore film work?
Cloudchord: Yes, I like working with film in doses. I don’t know that I'd have the juice to do it 100% of the time, but it’s part of my variety of musical colors for sure.
iEDM: What can we look forward to from Cloudchord for the rest of 2020?
Cloudchord: In August I‘ll be dropping a super chill EP with producer Headphone Activist.
In September, there will be a hip hop EP with Prob Cause, who’s an amazing MC. He’s worked with GRiZ and Gramatik, among many others.
I’ll drop a cover EP towards the end of the year, and I’ll also be on the Emancipator remix album.
iEDM: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us at iEDM. Looking forward to hearing more from Cloudchord in the future. Good luck with your endeavors!
Listen to "Twitter Telephone" and visit other Cloudchord music and socials!