Hi everyone. Yes, I’ve decided to change my producer name from D.V.S* to CLOUDCHORD.
I’m grateful for an abundance of wonderful experiences over the years, and am truly honored to have wrapped up this chapter at Art Outside. My intention was to give a heartfelt speech at the end of the set, and then post the video. However, mother nature is quite the disrupter.
-So, this change. Let’s talk about why.
Short answer: I want the music I participate in to leave a clear and colorful legacy.
The challenge with D.V.S* is that it might always be tethered to other names, creating confusion, and eventually indifference. How can one leave a legacy that way? Maybe with a couple huge hit songs. But even then, somebody would still be coming for you year after year with a name like that. It was also time for something with a little more character.
I am optimistic that the momentum I’ve carried with me over the past few years will continue to blossom as Cloudchord. I am confident that I’ve observed the signs clearly, and that I’m “On the Road” as Jack Kerouac would say.
My mind and spirit are overflowing with ideas for this new name, and I can’t wait to share them: songwriter collaborations, remixes, film scores, solo and ensemble shows, the future of guitar, installations, “artist at large” on festivals, video game music, an interactive phone app, and music education throughout the world.
I look forward to helping you dance, feel, and maybe even laugh or cry. Find me anywhere: @cloudchord
“Work smarter, not harder.” -my Dad
“DVS: easy to remember, hard to find.” That could’ve been my motto. In 2009, after playing in bands for years, I decided to release my first solo electronic album under initials. It was called “Before i Sing” and it was motown influenced trip hop. It was also nod to my former Colorado band 8traC. Everyone called me dvs around then, so it felt like fate.
I added the asterisk to my initials in an attempt to differentiate myself from other DVS brands (the shoe company, several rappers, a DMV in Minnesota, an electronic guitar VST, a bunch of tech companies, the list goes on and on). Honestly the Pretty Lights correlation wasn’t put together until after I was well into motion. It was always a unique talking point though. I used to joke with Michal Menert that I would change my name to “DJ Derek Michal” if they’d sign me to PLM. (my middle name is Michael)
In 2012 I started adding my full name, Derek VanScoten, on the bills in an attempt to differentiate. I was managed by Deathwaltz Media and Banjos to Beats at the time (love all you guys), and it seemed like a good idea to all of us. We had momentum, but again needed to differentiate.. We had some solid moves too: Lightning in a Bottle, and 3 week tour with Polish Ambassador, SF Bicycle Day. Camp Bisco, Catskill Chill, and the list goes on. Eventually it felt too wordy, almost too needy, and it was much easier for three letters to catch on than a full name. On top of that, my last name is commonly mis-pronounced. “It’s Van Scoten. Scot like Boat!” -my Dad
The asterisk took on a bit of a mysterious cult status, and I rarely ever told people of it’s true meaning:
THE ABILITY TO GO ANYWHERE.
The sheer diversity of situations that I pulled off with that name is kind of mind-boggling. I believe I’ve shared the bill with just about every kind of electronic artist out there, let alone live bands, singers, horns, strings, B3 organs, rappers, DJ’s, and a laundry list of special guests and genres. “You’re the only person I know that could open for literally anyone.” -Josh Smith Banjos to Beats
Releases and cameos included Soulection, 1320, Electronic Music Magazine, PLM, Dub Lab, Cantora, Daly City, and guest guitar spots with Random Rab, Emancipator, and an email of praise from Sony records after the Beatles remix. So mission accomplished I suppose. A special thank you to Gravitas, Loci, and Amorphous for the most recent opportunities as well.
(Fun fact: Computer coders call the asterisk a wild card character. “The most commonly used wildcard character is the asterisk (*), which typically represents zero or more characters in a string of characters, and the question mark (?).” This translated into poor search results on most search engines for several few years. Ooops!)
Last new years, my resolution was to coast in 2015. I was always over achieving, burning the candle at both ends, everywhere all the time. I asked myself, “What if I chill? Let it flow? Not push so hard this year? Just be myself and create wisely? Spend lots of time with my daughter? Witness the daily miracles of fatherhood? ”
Well, damn let me tell you, that was rewarding, and clarifying. Less struggle. Moving mountains with your mind kind of stuff. So why not have that kind of energy with a brand name? This was a question I had been asking myself everyday for the last 3 years.
A few weeks ago I was out with some of the Ableton crew explaining why I was gonna do the change. I said “Imagine if Ableton was also an Apple farm from Vermont, how would that affect you guys? How would it affect the ease of people finding you.”
I’m ready for this new name to pop. To be found or stumbled upon. To be remembered. Thanks for reading and listening.
With love and gratitude- Derek VanScoten
P.S. Will I miss the asterisk? Romantically speaking, yes. Practically speaking, no.
P.P.S. The website www.DVSmusic.com will remain alive as a legacy page, as will all the D.V.S* releases.