Abel Tesfaye has built a strong mythology around The Weeknd. While he has become an international pop sensation, he has also somehow remained a shadowy figure – someone you can easily picture slumped in a dark lounge, surrounded by beautiful women, yet still consumed in his own melancholy. His early music created this mystique and traces of it still seep into his new releases. In his cover story for CR Men Issue 10, The Weeknd discusses whether the Trilogy era is still an accurate depiction of himself today and whether his forthcoming album, After Hours, will continue this lineage.
Drug use has been a major theme in The Weeknd’s songs (see his hit, “I Can’t Feel My Face”) and CR Men asked whether the singer is still leading a narcotic-filled lifestyle. “I have an off-and-on relationship with it,” he said. “It doesn’t consume my life but occasionally helps me open up my mind, especially when I’m creating, but when I perform I’m completely sober and try not to even drink. I’ve learned to balance thanks to touring.”
Even if coke lines aren’t as prominent on his new project, the chaotic energy is still there. If you’ve seen the music videos for After Hours’ first two singles, “Heartless” and “Blinding Lights”, you are familiar with the manic persona that The Weeknd has been portraying for this rollout. “[‘Heartless’] was the first song I wrote after that album [My Dear Melancholy], so it felt fitting for me to put it out…I play a character in the video who becomes compromised and then overcompensates with all the sins that Vegas provides. It’s a great introduction to the next chapter of my life.” He divulged some more info on his imminent album. “I feel confident with where I’m taking this [new] record. There’s also a very committed vision and character being portrayed and I get to explore a different side of me that my fans have never seen.”