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NORTHMIX: Stefny Winter

The underground titan is as much about the message as she is about her music.

Lizzy Sermol

Stefny Winter is a rare individual. On the one hand, she's the badass techno babe tearing up the decks alongside the best of them, whether at after-parties or Old Miami in Detroit. But on the other, she's regularly donating all of the proceeds from her record label Goodnight Moon Recordings to the Montreal Children's Hospital. Her music is as multi-faceted as she seems to be. A pure, unique blend of sounds, samples and influences—Stefny's music is a result of decades of exploration and experience. Today she presents us with a special Northmix, created on the night of the lunar eclipse. It's a beautiful and yet darkly driven set filled with intelligent twists, which is sure to delight even the most demanding listener. Stefny is also celebrating the release of her second album titled The Fall, with Third Ear Recordings. The album came out October 24 and is available here.

There aren't too many people in the electronic music scene who equate techno with activism. DJs aren't always looked to as shining examples of musicians using their status or platform to curate charitable partnerships. But there are the exceptions and Stefny is that exception. She has managed to use her position as a highly-respected member of the underground electronic scene to start a variety of projects and initiatives which each work to support other artists, other art forms, or to raise money for the disadvantaged.

Although she was raised in California, Stefny started her DJ career after moving to Colorado. She dove into the underground scene there, where her excellent mixing skills and complex sounds garnered her attention. It was in Denver that Stefny made the connections with other artists who encouraged her to hone her own particular sound.

As these success stories often go, Stefny eventually found herself in New York with a residency at Direct Drive. It was there she joined the all-female collective "Sister." Originally formed in San Francisco, "Sister" was a collective that aimed to stop "women from being considered a novelty" in the electronic music scene. The venture opened chapters in New York, Seattle and Denver, amongst others. "It was pretty special, inspiring and fun to work with like-minded driven women," she said. "I like to see a collective of DJ's or artists work together. You bring so much to each other and others around you in such a non-selfish way."

After "Sister," Stefny moved on to help create another all-female collective, called '"Waxx Dolls." Both collectives have played shows across North America, including the unforgettable "Sisters Unite IV" showcase at WMC in 2004. "I grew up with two sisters, maybe that's why I enjoyed being part of such things," she explained.

Before leaving New York, Stefny was an influential component in yet another important cultural projectNew York's Bicycle Film Festival. Stefny teamed up with her brotherthe founderto develop and build festival, which is still running successfully to this day. The intention of the festival is to raise awareness about cycling culture and to connect like-minded members of the community with one another. The BFF has been a success since its inception, spreading to Tokyo, Moscow, Helsinki, Bogota, Warsaw, Istanbul, Quebec and Stockholm. Playing the opening party for the BFF is something Stefny fondly remembers as one of her favourite nights.

Stefny is now residing in Montreal, a city she says is "inspiring and wonderful." It's here that she's started her own record label. She's been looking for a way to fuse a charitable cause with a record label and the concept of Goodnight Moon Recordings was born. All proceeds from the label go to the Montreal's Children Hospital.

Montreal has proven to be an endless source of inspiration for Stefny. "Montreal has inspired me to do a live set," she said. "I had planned to do it while living in NYC but never got around to it. Also having MUTEK festival right in my backyard really helped with that push."

You can catch Stefny Winter playing a live set on November 28 at Salon Daome in Montreal.