Video — usually an interview — is a standard component of most cover stories these days. But we felt lucky enough that The Weeknd chose Variety for his first sit-down interview in nearly five years — and a boring old conventional video interview was dismissed out of hand. Okay, how about if we did something else?
As you’ll see from the 45-second clip that ensued, “something else” is indeed what we got, from director and cover photographer Pari Dukovic — whose work was fully approved by The Weeknd (a.k.a. Abel Tesfaye). In it, multiple Abels laugh and sneer and ultimately fall — it’s very psychedelic and plays well into the visuals for his latest album, “After Hours,” and not only because music from the album accompanies it.
“I wanted to create a piece that is more experimental,” Dukovic tells Variety. “I had formulated a couple concepts and we ended up picking the one that was about this psychedelic world. The concepts were fully driven/directed by me and approved by Abel.
“Abel is surrounded by his inner voices, which present themselves as his clones. They continually keep building up. All of a sudden this overwhelming world around him reaches an emotional state of a morphed reality.”
It should be clear from The Weeknd’s interviews with Variety this week just how well the concept meshes with the themes of “After Hours.”
“Abel’s music and Abel was the perfect match,” Dukovic continues. “He has a deep appreciation for art and pushing things creatively. His own work and the visual world that he creates in his music videos always take creative risks that lead to very compelling imagery. I think we are both very much on the same page with the type of visuals, art and creativity that we are drawn to which made this process a collaboration. He approved everything once it was ready to be presented to him. I really have to say he is truly a dream to work with.”
Dukovic adds, “The music design is a combination of his music and a custom piece designed from numerous sound effects: I used the beginning beats of the song ‘After Hours’ by Abel and couple lines of the song ‘Blinding Lights.’” (The usage was cleared by The Weeknd’s label and legal team.)
Director: Pari Dukovic (@paridukovic)
DP: Alberto Mojica (@altmojica)
Movement Coordinator: Harrison Ball (@__harrisonball__)
Post Production: Good Company (@goodcopix)
Edit/Music: Jerry Chia @jerrychia31
VFX Logan Seaman (@visions_of_lolo)
Color/Finishing: Max Ferigo (@max.ferigo)