Producer of The Weeknd’s Breakout Songs Explains Fallout
Before The Weeknd aligned himself with Drake, became one of the biggest names in R&B and blew away critics with his three mixtapes, House of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes of Silence, there was The Weekend (pictured above), the duo made up of Abel Tesfaye (now The Weeknd) and Jeremy Rose (now known as Zodiac). When Rose moved to Toronto and eventually became friends with Tesfaye, he drove the idea of a darker R&B project, something completely different from the sound Abel was going for with his group, the Noise. Together they would create what we know as “What You Need”, “Loft Music”, the original version of “The Morning“, and the first half of “The Party & the After Party”.
However at some point, creative differences caused a rift in their relationship. Abel wanted to do things creatively different from Rose’s vision and asked to just receive beats from Jeremy without his input. They would part ways with Rose emphasizing that he still gets credit for his production, and The Weekend would become The Weeknd. Things started getting crazy for The Weeknd after three songs were posted to Drake’s blog early last year, “What You Need”, “Loft Music”, and — you guessed it– the original version of “The Morning”, all without Jeremy’s production credit, and after that he was the focus of a big New York Times article. Since then, Doc McKinney and Illangelo have gone on to publicly receive all the credit for producing House of Balloons, while Jeremy has yet to receive payment or recognition.
Vice sat down with Jeremy to discuss his background, how he met Abel, what Drake thinks of the situation, and how he influenced the sound we now associate with The Weeknd. Check out an excerpt below and read the entire interview here.
What was your personal relationship like with Abel during this period? Would you say you were friends?
We were just trying to work on music. We were also partying a lot. We became pretty good friends, hanging out every day. At first it was working pretty well, but then I don’t know if it was a change in his heart or the people around Abel trying to guide him, but he was starting to push for doing club tracks and I didn’t really want to [do that]. We started as a group; it was he and I, and we called ourselves “The Weekend.” I came up with that name, by the way.
How did the “e” get dropped?
Well, I left. He dropped the “e.” But he was pushing for some things I didn’t want to do, and it got to the point where he wouldn’t respect my opinion. He wanted me to produce for him without any of my input. And I was like, “Well then, what’s the point of being a group?” and he was like, “You can just be my producer,” and I said, “Are you going to pay me?” Then [I realized he was] not going to pay me. That’s why I backed out. I was like, “You can have those three or four tracks, I’ll give you the stems, just take ’em, but I don’t want to work with you anymore.” I was really congenial about it, but I told him, “Just make sure that you give me credit,” and that’s where things went sour.
Check out a beat Zodiac posted to his soundcloud a few months back.