Super British-Irish boy group One Direction has had a hard year, what with the endless touring and performing, Zayn leaving, and dealing with rumours about their breakup. But they soldiered on as a 4-member band – it just means that they have a work a little harder making and putting out music.
And work hard, they have.
We’re less than 2 weeks away from the release of their 5th studio album, titled “Made in the A.M.”, which would also mark their first studio release following Zayn’s departure. Fans had a taste of what’s to come when One Direction release the first single from “Made In The A.M.”, “Drag Me Down” in July. Unsurprisingly, it went to #1 on 90 iTunes charts and broke streaming records globally.
Now, in a interview, the boys get together to talk about what went on behind the scenes during the making of “Made in the A.M.” and also shared some memories from the past year.
You’re about to release “Made in the A.M.” do you still feel as excited as you were when you released your first album?
Liam: Yeah, I think it is always the same when you when you release new stuff, it’s a bit of a nervy time actually, I think we’d say. You put your heart and soul into it and then when it’s finally coming out, it’s just the most exciting thing ever. And we’ve obviously been listening to these songs for…how many months since we’ve finished?
Liam: So yeah, it’s such an exciting time to get it out, because you want people to hear it and see what they think.
Harry: Yeah, I think it’s definitely the album that we feel the most proud of and I know it’s difficult because we’ve said that each time. But that’s genuine, you know, we’ve got more involved each time, we’ve made a record, this one very much feels like… we just really like this one. Not that we didn’t like the other ones before, but we’re very, very proud of it and like Liam said, when it’s about to come out, obviously it’s been finished for a few months and we’ve lived with the songs, we’ve listened to them over and over again. And you keep remembering that no one else has heard them and then it’s an exciting time when you’re putting it out. If you’ve worked on something for a year and then you put it out, like with anything, if you’ve spent so long on something, there’s a vulnerability, because you know people might hate it. We don’t think they will, we hope…
Louis: Hopefully not.
Harry: You know, you’re putting it out there and you’re just hoping people like it. We hope people like it as much as we do because we’re very proud of it.
How did you find the time to record the album whilst performing around the world?
Niall: We basically started the album around January, February, and we took time, we took 10, 11 weeks or something like that, of our schedule at the end of tour, to set aside for recording time and writing time. We all went our separate ways with different writers, some of us were in LA together and that’s basically how we got most of the album done. Then when it came to recording it, finishing bits and stuff like that, we did what we used to do, which was bringing in the producers, to wherever we were on tour and finish it with mattresses against the wall and the laptops and the speakers and the stuff like that. It’s quite simple so…basically most of the album was pretty much done in that in that slot of time that we had aside.
Do you enjoy the writing process?
Liam: Yeah, for sure, for me that’s one of the most fun bits, second to performing, is making that part of the record. We get to go and meet a lot of interesting people and sit down and work on ideas and stuff, so yeah it’s really, really good fun.
Harry: It’s a very rewarding process, obviously you know we didn’t do a ton of that before, so the fact that you can go into a room and then you’ll leave hours later with a song that didn’t exist before and then eventually when you see it on the record, it’s a very cool thing, thinking that, you went in and did that, it’s just…a nice process.
Liam: Yeah, it’s not even like working really, where you just sit round with your mates for ages making a song and then you figure out at the end of it, oh, you actually did something. It’s like nothing you wouldn’t do in a normal day, it’s a lot of fun to do.
Is it hard to choose the final track listing?
Louis: Yeah, it’s probably the hardest it’s been for us this time. It’s always a hard process because there are always certain songs that people like more than others. I think we had more songs this year, or was it just harder to pick them…?
Niall: Well, the original album was a little bit smaller.
Louis: That’s right, yeah.
Niall: And we just couldn’t decide what the album was going to kick off with and what not, so we just ended up making the album a couple of songs bigger so we could fit more, some of our favourite songs, in to be honest.
Tell us about the video for “Perfect”.
Liam: We shot the video, where’d we do it?
Niall: New York City.
Liam: It was a lot of fun and it was a different way we’ve recorded a video past and now. It was really random how it’s been put together but it’s turned out really nice. Looks good! And it was Phoebe’s brother from “Friends” who recorded the video for that, so it’s so exciting! What’s his name? He’s got such a long name.
Liam: Giovanni, that’s it. What an absolute bad man, he was so much fun and he was on Avatar as well, but he wasn’t one of the blue people. There was one scene of the video where me and Louis are just smashing footballs in this big room in a hotel. We’re so lucky that nothing… did anything break? Ah no, I broke a vase actually on that, I don’t know why, but something always gets broken all the time on a video.
Louis: You’re ruthless like that, aren’t you Liam? He can be, he can be!
Liam: Ah, I’m quite ruthless, although my polo is done at the top, I’m quite a ruthless man.
How do you look back on 2015?
Liam: I think it’s been a great year for touring and obviously this is our favourite album we put together so it’s been a good year, big thumbs up.
Harry: It was, yeah.
Niall: Big thumbs up!
Harry: We’ve been very lucky with everything that’s happened to us, this year has felt really good actually.
Liam: Yeah and the way the fans have stuck with us as well, has been the most amazing thing I guess, through everything that’s happened this year. It’s been the biggest show-er.
Harry: From the start of the tour, the crowds have been incredible, we have finished this album now, that we’re very, very happy with and the fans just continue to be absolutely incredible. They just surprise us all the time with just how amazing they are. Obviously we’re not here, if they’re not, and they’ve just been great. We feel good about this album.
Would you share some memories from your past tours?
Niall: The last couple of years, in terms of tour, have just been insane. To play nearly 2 years on the bounce in stadiums is just unbelievable and I always say it on stage, not a lot of artists get to do that. And again as Harry just said, how good our fans are, they prove it every time, everything we do, they come out in their thousands and their millions to show us how loyal they are. And to do two years on the bounce is just insane and it felt like the crowd is just getting better every night. It’s just an amazing experience and we’ve been lucky to tour every year for the last 5.
How did you work with your fans on supporting the “Save the Children – Action 2015” campaign?
Niall: We just wanted to get them involved because I don’t think they realise how powerful they actually are.
Liam: Yeah, it’s quite scary.
Niall: And how powerful social media is, because they’re there, just everyday on their phone, they don’t realise how powerful that is. So we decided, we were going to come up with this idea, we might as well get them involved and they smashed it. We came up with some great ideas, the whole video that we put together, with all of them involved in it. It was insane and they got a great reaction. You know, it was probably one of the most interactive things we’ve done and it was great.
Harry: I think it’s quite amazing to see. There are a lot of people, everyone knows that they’re very dedicated on social media and go to shows and stuff like that. But it’s cool to see when you bring up really important issues, to see how people react to them and they come in and show how much they care and show how much they want to make a difference and change things. It’s cool to see the fans be so powerful in a different way. Not just voting for things or tweeting about things, it’s amazing to see them be passionate about things that are obviously really important.
What do you hope your fans will get from “Made in the A.M.”?
Niall: Well I think, what we mentioned earlier, I hope they enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it and as we enjoy it in general. We worked a lot and really hard on it, as we have done in previous albums. But this one, you know we’re really proud of and we hope that they’re proud of what we’ve done and hope they’ve enjoyed the tour this year, it’s been fun.
That’s it, guys. Special thanks to our friends from Sony Music Malaysia for making this interview happen :)
And don’t forget, Malaysian Directioners, there’s a big “Made in the A.M.” party happening on 14th November. Everyone’s invited! Deets here.