Linescratchers is a group blog that features news, interviews, and reviews of LDS musicians who don't write LDS music. It was created by Arthur Hatton in June 2008 due to a lack of online support for members of the LDS Church who felt excluded or marginalized by the LDS Music genre.
When Arthur Hatton got home from his mission, he began to write music for the band Killer Ellipsis and solo music as well. Looking for like-minded musicians online, he discovered that there were many LDS music communities, but all of them were devoted to LDS-themed music. Finding these communities to be unsympathetic to faithful Latter-day Saints who write secular music, he created Linescratchers in June 2008.
Linescratchers outgrew its original Blogspot and John Dehlin, founder of several Mormon-themed websites such as MormonMatters and StayLDS.org, donated the money and space to host Linescratchers with its own domain name in May 2009. Arthur soon began using his home recording studio to begin recording Linescratchers Podcast, featuring music and interviews.
In February 2010 Linescratchers was expanded into a group blog, which included contributions from Gregg Hale (guitarist of Last Response, Our Dark Horse, and Spiritualized) and Jim Britt, among others. Many articles are posted under the name Syphax, and Syphax often comments around the Bloggernacle, linking back to Linescratchers. However, the identity of Syphax remains ambiguous. One major theory assumes that Syphax is actually Arthur. A competing theory is that Syphax is actually a king of Numidia who was killed in the Second Punic War. A third theory is that Syphax does not actually exist at all, or that he exists within our hearts.
Linescratchers continues to be the only website that features LDS musicians who don't write LDS music.
In an October 2009 interview with William Morris of A Motley Vision, Arthur said this about the purpose of Linescratchers:
"The short answer is, I created it because it didn’t exist. There is no other website for LDS musicians who don’t write LDS Music...there is a genre of music broadly referred to as “LDS music,” but frankly, the focus there is on very transparent lyrics that don’t require a lot of brain power, and simple and catchy music that doesn’t distract. A quick Google search of “LDS music” will show you exactly what I’m talking about. I don’t want to offend anyone, but it’s simply not that good. Our most talented and creative musicians think that in order to succeed in the LDS community, they have to write music like that (which unfortunately seems to be true). Thus, our best and brightest are leaving for markets that value substance. I’m sure your readers are quite familiar with these issues in the context of literature, film, and poetry, and I’m here to tell you that music isn’t any different.
That’s the long answer. Linescratchers fills a niche that simply didn’t exist. When I got involved online I found that I had basically no support in any of the “LDS Music” communities (it was very strange and frustrating), and so I rolled up my sleeves and just did it all myself."
Linescratchers is an attempt to create a musical subculture in the LDS community.
Linescratchers has featured interviews with many famous LDS musicians who don't write LDS music, such as Alan Sparhawk from Low, Ian Fowles of The Aquabats, Scot Alexander from Dishwalla, Chance Thomas, Young Sim, and Roxy Rawson. Interviews largely focus on the interaction between music and faith.