TasteMakers004: phluff

TasteMakers is a new feature from the Adafruit Music team. In this sister series to MusicMakers, we will be talking to music writers, bloggers and brands about creative spaces, technology and DIY, as well as what inspires them and keeps them motivated to support and amplify the creators in their communities. This week we’re talking to Delaney Motter, the founder of Oregon based music blog phluff.

Logo courtesy of Lisa Kohn

This week’s TasteMaker is Delaney Motter, an active figure the West Coast as a music writer, editor, gig promoter and radio DJ. At the beginning of this year she launched the excellent new music site phluff. They quickly established themselves as a notable destination to hear something different, catch a premiere, find a new playlist (including soundtracks for meals, outings, changing seasons and trans pride) or find some killer features on topics like the Millennial war on fashion/genre stereotypes, tour diaries, photography, a community guide to accountability and more.

Amongst all the beautiful sounds, lovely illustrations and personal writing, Motter’s noble aim for phluff is to offer support and exposure for works by marginalised people. As she explains:

“We aim to provide a space and platform for primarily marginalized voices; to share their opinions, passions, and perspectives while encouraging readers to think about music beyond the superficial. We hope to do this by providing readers with the tools to digest music and all that comes with it through an intersectional approach.

Simultaneously, phluff hopes to introduce you to your new favorite artists & bands, exposing you to both the latest and the greatest of musical offerings.“

phluff is a great wee spot that will likely continue to grow in the coming months. In a world of monoculture we need alternatives and phluff offer that. It’s not a place for the “latest thing” or content overload but rather a place to find something inventive, different and thoughtful. Get acquainted with them below in this fun TasteMakers Q&A. We hope phluff helps to motivate you to make your own contribution to your scene.

Before we get going, what’s a song you’re loving right now that people can listen to while they read along?
Ooh, either “I Just Don’t Feel It” by Alien Boy or “Only Friend” by Gouge Away.

Tell us about yourself. How long have you been running the site?
Well, I’m currently a journalism and art management undergraduate student; about to start my final year – hooray! I’ve been a music journalist for about 2 and a half years now, writing for various publications and blogs. I also love hosting shows and being involved in the music community in other ways. I started working on designing and building phluff in late 2017, and launched the site in January of 2018.

What inspired you to start and what motivates you to amplify DIY music makers?
When I was in high school I started going to smaller and more local shows in Portland, OR – where I’m from. Seeing how close and accessible music and musicians could be made me want to be a more substantial part of the equation. From there, I started booking shows and developed a real passion for being involved in the DIY music community. Eventually, after I went away to college I found a knack for writing, and naturally paired the two.

My motivation to amplify DIY music makers comes primarily from my desire to see a more diverse and inclusive music community. I feel fortunate to know that there is so much amazing music being made by non-men, POC, disabled folks, and people from a myriad of underrepresented identities. I want do what I can to offer a platform for these artists and help to build the public recognition they deserve. Additionally, I think that music journalism is an area of this big weird “music industry” that could stand to see more diverse voices represented at all levels.I started phluff with the goal of creating a space that actively works to be represent and uplift those voices.  

Have changes in technology had any effect on your work or engagement with the music community?
Technology has been instrumental to my work in the music community. First and foremost it helps to bridge the vast physical gaps between me and about 90% of the people I work with. Arguably the most drastic change in technology during my time as a music writer has been the emergence and growing dominance of Spotify. While I often turn to the streaming platform for ease and tactical purpose, it has forced me to grapple with the same questions many in the independent music community also face, like: “How can myself and my work contribute to the financial feasibility of music?”, and “How can I be a more thoughtful/intentional consumer of music?”

What’s something you’ve done with the blog that you’re particularly proud of?
This past March I hosted phluff’s first ever unofficial SXSW showcase in Austin, TX (during official SXSW haha). Though I had booked/hosted a showcase for a different publication the previous year, it felt really good put on a really fun and successful 2 day shows with my friends at Mutual Friends Records. I couldn’t believe that so many amazing bands that I love were willing to play a showcase for such a new publication (we were only 3 months old at the time!!)

Illustration courtesy of Lisa Kohn

Are there any changes you’d like to see in the music industry?
I’d really like to see progress made towards a more diverse and inclusive music industry. I want to see more marginalized identities represented and supported. I want to see more emphasis being but on the mixing of community with industry, because when your friends/community can sustain themselves financially – that’s where passion can live and flourish.

Any tips for making or customising a creative workspace?
For me it’s really important that my “creative” workspace has me sitting up kind of straight? I don’t know I think it may be a writer thing, I just really work best that way haha. That being said, my “workspace” is usually a 24 hour coffee shop in Portland, so the way I “customize” my space is to tune into music while I work. So it’s important to me that I have a good sound quality setup to immerse me in sound; usually it’s just my kind-of-nice over-the-head headphones.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own blog?
Don’t go in on it alone! Unless you really just want your blog to be a chronicling/library of YOUR own personal work. Having contributors and friends who are down to occasionally contribute takes so much pressure off of me. I don’t have to always be the one producing content, and it’s just really fun working with other people.

Who do you think we should speak to next?
Oooh I would say Maya Stoner from Floating Room or Gil Brase from Surfer Rosie!! They both do really cool neat work in and outside of music!

You can visit Phluff here and you can follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Photo courtesy of Delaney Motter


You can find more music Adafruit is loving right now in our ongoing MusicMakers (feat. Frankie Cosmos, Jeffrey LewisBedbug, Pom Pom Squad and more) and TrackTalk features (with Trust Fund, Shay Spence and Haiku Salut). If you missed the previous TasteMakers features with The Grey Estates, Various Small Flames and Stories About Music then you can read those here.

This week we’re really enjoying the curious and beautiful new Truthlikeness album from Ryan Von Gonten on Human Noise Records.

As always, you can also follow us on Soundcloud and Hype Machine.

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards

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