Liam Payne on One Direction music: “a backwards way to do it”
- Liam Payne has discussed the methods One Direction used to make music
- The popstar said the band would reverse-engineer hits according to their feverish fans
- According to Payne, albums and songs would be written for One Direction tours – not the other way around
- Payne admits the band had little time to write its hit songs, and were constantly rushed to make music
Liam Payne has described the way One Direction made music as “a very backwards way to do it”.
The ex-One Direction star opened up about the boyband’s music-making process in an exclusive interview with Esquire Middle East, ahead of him appearing on the magazine’s June cover.
Speaking about the process, Payne described a paint-by-numbers scenario.
“When we did the band stuff it was very—not exactly scripted—but let’s just say you kind of knew your audience very well,” says Payne. “We’d usually sell a tour out before we’d even done an album.”
“And then they [the record producers] would go: ‘Right, you’re doing stadiums’. And then you’d go: ‘Okay, so we need longer choruses—the kind of songs that people can chant in a stadium’. You had to kind of write around the tour.”
“It’s a very backwards way to do it,” he admits, “obviously people don’t really tend to write like that. But we just had no time, so it was like: ‘Quick! We need another hit and another and another!’ It was actually easier to write in that scenario because there were so many hoops you had to jump through. It wouldn’t necessarily be my choice of music now—it wasn’t something that I would listen to—but I just knew how to make it, if that makes sense?”
So how has Payne – who is now a solo artist – coping outside of One Direction? Going from a canned formulate to complete creative freedom is a daunting prospect, and one not lost on the popstar.
“The way that the industry kind of works now is kind of a difficult one because of the way albums are and the introduction of Spotify,” says Payne. “When I was in the band, Spotify wasn’t really a thing for us, we didn’t really care. We used to sell a lot of albums and physical copies, so it was different for us. As I got more into the solo stuff it was a kind of, like, a bit f**king confusing.”
You can read the entire interview in the Esquire Cover story here.