MINTY No longer promoting the underdog.
Seattle's coolly designed dance-music zine Minty folded recently, after nearly two years of monthly publishing. It was a fairly surprising death, but its implications could be ominous. If this region can't support one specialist electronica mag--which stopped publishing last month--what does that say about the scene's health and the mini economy that surrounds it?

Minty's demise "really comes down to the fact that financial conditions necessitated that the publication close, much sooner than I had ever anticipated happening," says John Stenske, Minty's publisher and marketing director.

The pocket-sized free glossy had kept tabs on the Pacific Northwest's electronic-music activities with fervor and civic pride since January 2002. After a shaky start, the zine was steadily improving, especially after the addition of music editor Sara Jayne Crow. Minty started to focus more on challenging underground artists while still running candid color photos of clubbers getting their grooves on and clothes off. Recent features on bands like Electric Birds, and reports on world-class festivals in Montreal (Mutek) and Barcelona (Sónar), reflected this promising editorial shift. Despite its writers and editors working gratis, Minty was becoming a crucial information source for those immersed in the Northwest's multifaceted underground.

"In a small way, Minty was intended to create some friction and heat for healthy change in electronic music by promoting the underdog," says Stenske. "It was also created as a snapshot in time to document what was happening in the Pacific Northwest's local club/electronic/DJ music scene. I think the impact of Minty on Seattle was very positive, yet often misunderstood by the local musicians and venues. The readership absolutely loved Minty. I've really never seen anything quite like the emotional impact it created when people would see the new issue being distributed each month."

Stenske recently relocated to the Bay Area "to take advantage of the greater opportunities available that come with living in larger metropolitan area." He says, "I've spent more than two years envisioning, creating, and publishing Minty. I have no regrets, as I could never have had a better lesson in business and politics."

Adds Crow, "With all the innovation and activity in [Seattle's] music industry, it's odd that there isn't more money to support its main form of dissemination: the media."

segal@thestranger.com