The Weeknd is the cover star of the latest issue of VMAN, and during the interview, he spilled some new information about the recording process for his next album. “There are new inspirations on this album. The production feels aggressive but still sexy," he said, going on to list a number of artists that served as inspiration. "The Smiths, Bad Brains, Talking Heads, Prince, and DeBarge play roles. We wrote it all in Los Angeles. I think it’ll be the best-sounding album I’ve ever done. It’s hard to label the sound because, when I first came out, nobody would label it R&B. I just want to keep pushing the envelope without it feeling forced."
So far there's no word on when his next album might come out, but it has some big shoes to fill. His 2015 project Beauty Behind the Madness proved to be a smash hit, spawning the popular singles "The Hills" and "Can't Feel My Face." Although The Weeknd saw success before it, Beauty Behind the Madness was his mainstream breakout moment, success that he's surely trying to replicate again with his new project.
Even he sees this, although he denies any feeling of pressure. “Even though I’ve been putting out bodies of work for years, Beauty Behind the Madness felt like the beginning,” he said. “My purpose is to make exciting music, and I feel like I’ll be doing that for the rest of my life, so there’s no pressure. Nothing is stopping me from doing what I love to do.”
He also touched on the topic of police brutality. Although his music isn't known for being overtly political, recent events have him rethinking things. “It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that there are people who can’t or won’t see what Black Lives Matter is trying to accomplish. I wish I could make music about politics," he said. "I feel like it’s such an art and a talent that I admire tremendously, but when I step into the studio I step out of the real world, and it’s therapeutic. It’s an escape, but recently it’s been very hard to ignore, and it’s also been very distracting. Maybe you’ll hear it in my voice, but it is not my forté.”
You can read the entire cover story here.