“Everything aligned so beautifully on this one,” Moccio says of the theme song, which on paper, he explains did not have the components -- “It’s a waltz with an old-timey feel, and there’s [The Weeknd’s] falsetto” -- of a typical hit. Ultimately, it earned an Academy Award nomination this year for Best Original Song and Moccio also picked up three GRAMMY nominations for his work on Beauty Behind the Madness.
While the two clicked, Moccio insists the bond formed with The Weeknd isn’t always easy to come by. Having worked with several major artists, the composer has found that just because they’re a success doesn’t mean they will connect creatively in the studio. “If the artist is in more pursuit of fame, I typically am not as interested,” he reveals, adding that The Weeknd’s reclusive vibe is what drew him in. “He's a very enigmatic kind of guy.”
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And once you’re invited into The Weeknd’s camp, it seems that you stay put. Jason Quenneville, who helped craft the singer’s sound, worked on his first two albums. As for Moccio, he says he’s already back to work on The Weeknd’s follow-up, revealing they are five weeks into discussing sounds. “We know that the next album has to be better and bigger than the last one,” he says.
“I kind of know my role, particularly with The Weeknd,” Moccio adds of formulating new song ideas. “I pull a lot on my classical roots and he is a real big fan of that.”