If you have been following the goings-on of the Weeknd, aka Abel Tesfaye, from the beginning, you no doubt saw the name Jeremy Rose attached to breakthrough tracks like “What You Need” and “Loft Music.” Since then, Rose’s name has been completely removed from any all material related to those songs, which appear on House of Balloons. And to find out exactly what happened between him and Tesfaye, Vice caught up with Rose, who now goes by the alias of Zodiac.
The question-and-answer piece sheds light on the former duo’s fallout, how Tesfaye’s dropped the “e” from the Weeknd after Rose left, and how he’s never been paid for his work. Damn. You can read some snippets from the interview below but head to Vice for the full piece.
How did you first meet Abel?
My girlfriend was working at Poutini’s [a poutine spot in Toronto, obviously] and I used to hang out with a couple of these Australian guys that worked there. That’s where I met Abel, he was hanging out at their house. I was showing them some things in Ableton, because they were interested in that stuff and I was playing the beat for “What You Need.” I had that thing for a couple years and I didn’t know what to do with it. Anyway, Abel was there and he started free-styling on top of it.
So that was the impetus of the Weeknd?
Yeah, that’s when I asked him if he wanted to work on something—I had this idea for a dark R&B project. I think I talked to Curtis Santiago [aka Talwst, local Toronto R&B dude] about it, but he wasn’t really what I was looking for because he was on some other thing. Abel seemed to suit the project.
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.
And, of course, that’s when things exploded and bloggers started writing about the music.
We knew that it was getting around to some of the smaller blogs and stuff, and just as I backed out, Drake threw up the tracks. Then the New York Times article and everything else started blowing up. I was like, “Fuck.” It started popping off. I sent him an email: “Remember! Give me credit!”
Did Abel respond?
No. I’ve never heard from him since I told him I didn’t want to work with him anymore.
So you haven’t received a cent from anything the Weeknd has released?
No, not yet. We’ll work on it.