Wednesday, July 30, 2008
In this week's issue of the Baltimore City Paper I wrote a piece about DJ K-Swift's passing last Monday. The piece includes quotes from Buck Jones and Ogun, as well as some quotes from an interview I did with Blaq Starr a couple years ago. It was a really surreal experience for me, to see K-Swift spin at Artscape, and then wake up 2 mornings later to a text message about her death. I didn't know K-Swift personally -- I briefly spoke to her on the phone maybe once or twice, and had many mutual friends. I saw her DJ several times, I own at least a dozen of her mix CDs (last week I loaded them all into an iTunes playlist and just listened to that constantly), and have spent possibly hundreds of hours listening to her spin on the radio. But it was still really strange for me to write about her life, and to be quoted in the Sun's obituary. Even after writing one about Mr. Wilson just a month ago, it was really difficult to write about someone recently deceased, to speak to people who knew them well and ask questions. I feel terrible asking about potentially painful memories, instead of just leaving them alone to deal with the healing process on their. But the article was also difficult for me, because, like I said, I didn't really know her.
Of all the people in the Baltimore club scene that I've interviewed or see around and am friendly with, K-Swift was one of the few people that remained kind of larger than life to me, distant and unreachable in a way that celebrities are, and in Baltimore she truly was a celebrity. Not that she was unapproachable -- by all accounts she was a nice, down to earth person. But after I made the tough decision last year to blog about an anonymous letter circulating locally that accused her and her station of a lot of unethical practices, I always kind of feared that she hated me, or would've had a good reason to if she was aware of me to any extent. I hope, if she ever saw those posts on Gov't Names, she also saw how much of a fan I was, and that I continued to write favorably about every CD she released since then, including one just a week before her passing. I always figured the right opportunity would pop up for me to really meet her and interview her, and possibly get her side of the controversy I'd help publicize (although by the time of her death it had all kind of blown over, and I was disgusted last week when a certain 'news' site, who'd never written about K-Swift during her life, dredged up that old story to float some kind of 'foul play' theory about the circumstances of her death). Now, I regret that I didn't pursue an opportunity like that while it was possible. But she was so omnipresent in the Baltimore music scene that everyone involved in it will feel her absence. Club music will always bear her mark.
(photo by Josh Sisk)