The Weeknd’s new album Starboy is imminent, and he recently sat down with Zane Lowe to discuss the LP on Beats 1. He’s already talked about working with Daft Punk, who feature on two songs, and this time he had even more to say, revealing that he wrote “Starboy” in 30 minutes while he was supposed to be working on “I Feel It Coming“:
I came in, we went to Paris. I came into the session and Thomas and Guy-Man had already started a track, which was “I Feel It Coming,” which was just the music. It was one of the tracks they were playing for me and I was freestyle over it and trying to find a vibe with it. So, we were writing it. I was writing the lyrics to “I Feel It Coming” and then probably finished it in about an hour. Went into the booth and started recording it. Guy-Man and Thomas were kind of directing me, they want it to sound as authentic as possible. As retro as possible. And while I’m recording, through the talkback I can here some sort of feedback, sort of drum loop every time Thomas is like “OK, next take.” So I’m like, what the fuck is that? What is that sound? So I walk in and it’s Guy-Man on his phone, on his laptop or something, and it’s the drums of “Starboy.” We’re like, “What is that?” He’s like, “It’s just something on my phone,” and I’m like, “Put that shit on the fucking speakers, let me hear that.” And it’s just this crazy monstrous loop, so I put “I Feel It Coming” to the side. I’m like, “I’m writing this.” Literally wrote Starboy in 30 minutes.
He also discusses working with Kendrick Lamar, who has a guest verse on “Sidewalks”:
He’s a genius. He is really a genius. Everybody who worked on the album came here. This is like our universe. We sit here and we create it together. I don’t know exactly the time of day, but he probably came in the afternoon and left late at night. He did it there on the spot. He’d walk around. He’d play the record over and over again. I played him songs, the “Starboy” theme of course, which he incorporated into his verse. He would just walk around. We had food. He’s writing his verse in his head. He would go into his phone, look at it a few and then put it back and start walking around. He then at one point he went into the studio booth and I closed the door and I could hear him yelling his verse in his head. He was really committed, you can tell he put his all into. It wasn’t just a random Kendrick Lamar verse, it was something special because again, I don’t like to say this all the time, but we’ve known each other for a while and it’s crazy how we started connecting on this record.
In the full interview, which will air as the album is released at midnight tomorrow, the Weeknd also discusses his sobriety, performance anxiety, his big haircut, and more. Find some more clips below.