Ghanaian Electro-Funk Crooner Jeff Darko Shares The Fluorescent Visuals For 'Bystander'

Ghanaian Electro-Funk Crooner Jeff Darko Shares The Fluorescent Visuals For 'Bystander'

Ghanaian soul singer Jeff Darko speaks to us about the fluorescent visuals for his new single "Bystander".

OKA: The shots of you in front of a floral background are very reminiscent of Kehinde Wiley paintings. Were you inspired by any particular artists or artworks while creating the video?

JD: That’s an interesting example. I have also heard it is reminiscent of Takashi Murakami’s Superflat movement. I was initially inspired to create a bright sound that contradicted the concept of a bystander and Monica represented that perfectly with a fluorescent world to work in juxtaposition with the title; with a finished product which explored the idea of synesthesia and the cross wiring of our senses… She asked me, 'imagine if we could taste the colors and see the sounds?'

OKA: Can you share why you decided to use sign language in the video?

JD: I wanted this to appeal to everyone, which I stressed to Monica, she sat down with the creative team and they took what I said literally and came up with the idea of using sign language to communicate which I loved straight away.

OKA: Certain elements in the video refer to mindfulness and meditation (healing crystals and the lyrics"relax the mind..."). How important are those concepts and practices to your art?

JD: It’s vital to the message I want to send and vital to my own practices in life which includes my music. We all want to reach our goals and ambitions but we are sometimes subjected to so many obstacles and distractions, so it's important to sit back and relax. Then, I think anything is possible. I want my music to break through the enchanted realm where it can soothe the soul and infuse tranquility and positivity to the listener.

OKA: Do you think your sound has gone through any changes since last year's Epic Dreams Of A Pedestrian?

JD: Yes I believe my sound has evolved. It has a lot to do with the change of environment. Moving to this artistic city [Barcelona] has inspired my new sound, I mean Epic Dreams Of A Pedestrian was the start of the story so the next sounds to come will hold more souvenirs from my ongoing journey. The streets are always lively here, which inspired me to use more live instruments in this new music.

OKA: Is the single part of a new project? If so, can we get any details on what to expect from it? 

JD: We are still creating and during this process things always change so it’s difficult to define at this stage whether it will be part of a new project. "Bystander" is a representation of the new me wanting to use bright sounds and colors to communicate so there will be elements of that. The culture here in Barcelona also plays a part in it so there will be some electronic and afro-Latin influences too.

Download "Bystander" here.  For more, check out our First Look Friday feature with Jeff Darko.

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