Bay Area music legend DJ Stef dies – East Bay Times
— rhettmatic (@rhettmatic) October 2, 2017
Stephanie Ornelas, a graphic designer, developer and writer whose work as a trailblazing musician and disc jockey was deeply respected across San Francisco Bay Area music scenes, died suddenly Sunday, according to reports on social media.
Ornelas, also known as DJ Stef, was the founder of the Vinyl Exchange, a music community newsletter whose debut in the mid-1990s saw it document record-collector culture’s rise and fueled its expansion into print and online platforms.
A graduate of Concord’s Mt. Diablo High School and San Francisco State University, Ornelas built a striking portfolio of design work across graphic, Web and audio projects still on display at her design site.
“I enjoy concepting as much as comping. I love to draw. I love pop culture and like to stay on top of trends. I also collect records, DJ and promote music events,” Ornelas said in her LinkedIn profile.
According to her DJStef415.com site, Ornelas had finished a third-Saturday summer residency at Drake’s Dealership in Uptown Oakland.
In a biographical statement on Bay Area lifestyle and entertainment site SFStation, Ornelas outlined something like a mission statement for her championing of musicians and bands.
“My record collection is deep with soul, disco, punk, various ’70s, ’80s and ’90s styles and a wide range of dance music, but hip-hop and rap from the early days to the present are its core,” she said.
“Although you’ll see ‘Don’t book me, I’m retired’ here (if you look closely), don’t believe it. I’m happy to keep playing as long as people want to listen.”
No information on the circumstances of her death was immediately available late Sunday.
Man, can’t believe it… RIP @djstef415 – Bay Area icon and amazing lady on top of that
— DJ Z-TRIP (@ztrip) October 2, 2017
RIP to @djstef415, one of the undersung heroes of the Bay Area turntablism scene, esp. back in the ’90s when she started The Vinyl Exchange
— O. Wang (@oliverswang) October 2, 2017
— S O L E (@mcsole) October 2, 2017
Rest in Power my friend https://t.co/8qNWsnLQEs
— Lateef Truthspeaker (@TruthspeakerHQ) October 2, 2017
In a DJ scene awash with bros, @djstef415 showed me that it was possible for a woman to do her thing and be recognized for her craft
— Nastia Voynovskaya (@nananastia) October 2, 2017
just heard the news that @djstef415 passed away. i’m heartbroken. she was hugely influential to the Bay and Beyond. 1/
— joseph patel (@jazzbeezy) October 2, 2017
I love you @djstef415. Rock rock on forever and ever.
— Dan Lactose (@DanLactose) October 2, 2017
Contact George Kelly at 408-859-5180.