The Weeknd unleashed one of his most interesting artistic decisions to date when he took on the role of his bloodied After Hours character. Throughout the promotional run for the album and all of its music videos, he's donned the same crimson red suit and blinding smile, while often appearing like he was on the receiving end of five rounds with Mike Tyson. In an interview with Variety, the "Blinding Lights" singer revealed the significance of the character, specifically when it comes to his more recent bandaged and grotesque plastic surgery looks.
"The significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated," he explained. "It’s all a progression and we watch the Character’s storyline hit heightened levels of danger and absurdity as his tale goes on." The After Hours short film of the same name sees the battered and bruised alter-ego snapping, while the blood-soaked "In Your Eyes" video ends in decapitation.
Initially, he had said that the character was someone who was "having a really bad night," but as the After Hours videos kept coming, so did the situations he found himself in. Starting with drunken fights, the tone of the visuals got darker before descending into the deranged absurdity of the "Too Late" and "Save Your Tears" videos.
It's also worth noting that even while promoting his most successful album to date, The Weeknd has also chosen to obscure his face with bandages and even prosthetics. "I suppose you could take that being attractive isn't important to me but a compelling narrative is," he added. As for why he sometimes appears in character and sometimes as himself, he remarked, "Why not play with the character and the artist and let those lines blur and move around?"
Asked if he was in character during this same interview, he said, "I don't know, I'd have to ask him."