Canadian one-man outfit The Weeknd has denied sampling Portishead, saying he was merely “inspired” by the trip hop group after accusations from Portishead member Geoff Barrow.
Barrow, instrumentalist from the massively influential trip hop group, recently took to Twitter to accuse The Weeknd of using their song Machine Gun in his track Belong To The World.
The Weeknd, real name Abel Tesfaye, recently sat down for his first interview ever, in which Complex reporter Damien Scott suggested he could hear “Portishead drums” on the track. The Weeknd acknowledged this, saying, “Yeah, that was the inspiration behind that. I wrote a letter to the producers of Portishead and let them know this album is inspired by them.” When asked if the entire album was inspired by the band, Tesfaye replied, “Most of it.”
But Barrow is singing a different tune, yesterday saying that Tesfaye had specifically asked for permission to use the sample but Portishead had knocked him back, tweeting, “When someone asks to sample you and you refuse they should have the respect as a fellow artist to not use it.”
We guess it’s a case of “he said, he said” but it seems like we can safely bet that we won’t be seeing a collaboration from Portishead and The Weeknd anytime soon.
Tesfaye also addresses his notorious media shyness in the interview, saying that the “enigmatic artist” image was unintentional:
“In the beginning, I was very insecure. I hated how I looked in pictures. I just fucking hated this shit, like, crop me out of this picture right now. I was very camera shy. People like hot girls, so I put my music to hot girls and it just became a trend…
“But you can’t escape the Internet. There are super fans, and I was really testing their patience. At the end of the day you can’t deny the music. That was my whole thing: I’m going to let the music speak for itself. I’ll show them that this is what I do. But I’m very good at letting shit slide.”
Listen: The Weeknd – Belong To The World
Listen: Portishead – Machine Gun