In this installment, Swintronix interviews fellow Freeform Portland DJ Adam of the weekly show Instead Of White Men.
How did you hear about Freeform Portland?
I remember I was walking around town somewhere, and there was a poster advertising the station and calling for DJs. I had no radio experience before–but it was always one of those things that I wanted to do. I have a deep love for music, culture, and community, so I thought: “this might be for me.” This was before Freeform was liberating the airwaves. I visited the site, I think it was a Google Doc and it seemed chill enough and DIY enough for me to give it a try. I applied for a show and was offered a slot, but due to time conflicts I had to hold off. I started out heavily volunteering for the station, and it was a good move. It was a great way to get connected to the community aspect of things.
How is the music on your show different from other electronic music shows on Freeform Portland or elsewhere?
There are a lot of great dance and electronic shows on Freeform Portland. Even though Portland is a small city–our scene is pretty solid and our community is very engaged and innovative. I think my show is different because it has a racial and gendered lens to it. As a queer person of color in this city it’s a struggle to be in this scene and negotiate the white heteronormativity and dude-ness of it all; that’s electronic music in general I suppose. Portland is a lot better than other cities i’ve been to though. I feel that generally, over the last few years there has been a big push to elevate and create spaces that include women artists and artists of color and it’s been fun to be a part of that celebration. Since those are the artists I try to play on Instead of White Men, it has been a gift to explore underrepresented artists and I don’t think other radio shows are approaching dance and electronic music with that same lens.
How do you discover new music and artists to play on your show?
It’s a lot of work to be honest. When you’re seeking out anything alternative and then also an alternative to that alternative it takes some time. It’s been an interesting and demanding project. Overall, I’d say I am pretty connected to our local scene and we have great artists and DJs that visit town. I also travel a fair amount, and that typically involves music somehow. In the way some people watch sitcoms or read novels, I listen to music. All the time. I listen to a ton of DJ sets and radio shows–from local to global, and keep tabs on tracks that I like. I find artists and labels that I love and see what else they’re connected to. I read a lot of online commentary–and really, Instead of White Men couldn’t happen without the internet and social media. The connectedness that the web provides allows me to find artists that would otherwise be impossible. Overall, I just want to share diverse artists–but the music has to be dope.
All DJs at Freeform Portland also volunteer at the station – what are some of the ways you’ve contributed to the station besides hosting a show?
For my first year with the station I was a Volunteer Committee chair–mainly connecting with volunteers, facilitating station meetings, trainings, and doing a lot of the behind the scenes communication to our DJs and community. A lot of project management. I also contribute to the Freeform Portland Zine from time to time, and a piece I collaborated on (see below) with DJ Freakbook from Radio 859 was on the Fall 2016 cover. I took on some diversity and outreach work as well–which is something I would like to see grow at the station. Though I’ve had to scale back, I still have my hands in a few things and want to continue to be a committed member of the station.
What are some shows you like on Freeform Portland?
I have a lot of shows I really like, all our programming is fantastic. I really love everyone, but to give some dance and electronic shout-outs I would say: Interspecies Smalltalk with DJ Grain Elevator, Terminal Beach with DJenks and Teen, Bonus Beats with DJ LaRose, Travel Agency with DJ Image Research and DJ Life Couch, Alleys of Your Mind with Nightchilde and Ian Hicks, Horoscope Club with J. Truant, Beats Don’t Break with DJ Le’Mix. Other stuff I love: Comma Summer with Adrian Business, Make Out Sesh with DJ Pow Pow, The Upstairs Room with The Queen of Siam, Weekend Family Music Hour with Kawaii, Devil Child, and Karen, Bachelard’s Panty Drawer with Mammal in Crime, Deep Lez Power Hour with DJ Pizza Delivery.
Come back to Freeform Portland’s Blog soon for more installments of 5 Questions!