Artist Duval Timothy’s various mediums include painting, music, photography, sculpture, design, food, video and textiles. He received his BA in Fine Art from Central St Martins in London. While living in Sierra Leone, alongside learning traditional fabric weaving and creating the brand Carrying Colour (CC), Duval worked on his third and most recent album, ‘Sen Am’, which means 'send it' in Sierra Leonean Creole (Krio). This fascination with color is carried through in the visuals for the album, particularly singular, vibrant colors in album imagery and video work. This vibrancy is not missed in the music. Highly experimental, true to Duval’s sound, with bluesy elements incorporated as well as personal voice messages, the album is phenomenally abstract and alive. He is currently based between London, UK and Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Your music has a very sublime, experimental aspect to it with visuals that are equally sublime. Can you tell us more about your artistic approach to your visuals and how it differs, or not, from your approach to your music?
I try to create something new with the video by developing the core idea behind it but possibly in a different way. For example, ‘return’ is about me returning to Sierra Leone, however, I also started to think about the idea of a return in general and started to think about a return to nature and a better coexistence with plants and trees—something I believe in.
Working with cameras is often literal and figurative and I haven’t found a good way to use the camera to create abstract strokes in the way I can with the music. It’s harder for me to create something poetic with a camera because it’s so grounded in showing reality. With the ‘Sen Am’ videos I tried to make something symbolic happen on camera rather than create an abstract image, but that’s something I want to develop.
Your latest album Sen Am seems to be a very personal project, documenting your trip to your father’s hometown and tracks including personal Whatsapp voice messages. How do the sounds of Sen Am describe this experience for you?
I think it’s my most personal project so far. It conveys my state of mind during that period more than what was happening literally. There’s a huge sense of joy and sadness. The voice notes are sparse but powerful, I like the idea of them hanging in the air like unanswered questions or a something that somebody said to you [that] you can’t get out of your head because something about it resonates. I still feel the emotion whenever I listen to the album on my own.
What have you been listening to lately? Any winter playlist tracks you can share with us?
I’m enjoying Bing & Ruth, Suspect, Youngs Teflon, Kelsey Lu, Mr Mitch, [and] 67 and The Books.
Mal Waldron, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Joe Hisaishi, Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Erik Satie, Herbie Hancock, Lonnie Liston Smith, Kendrick Lamar, Gil Scott Heron, Nina Simone, Skepta, Julius Eastman, Outkast, Philip Glass, Madlib, Kanye, Crayzee Banditt, King Krule, Bill Evans, Nas, John Coltrane, SpaceGhostPurrp, Nipsey Hu$$le, Johnny Greenwood, Jose Gonzalez, [and] Ziad Rahbani.
Any New Year’s Resolutions for your music?
Record in different spaces for their acoustics.
music/images courtesy of DUVAL TIMOTHY
interview PERWANA NAZIF
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