One Direction fans can be rest assured there’s no bad blood between former bandmates Liam Payne and Zayn Malik. Malik left the band in March, claiming he wanted to “be a normal 22-year-old.” Shortly after his departure, he teamed up with British music producer Naughty Boy, which rubbed the remaining members of One Direction the wrong way. Recent comments from Payne, however, suggest that he and Malik are on good terms.
According to Billboard, in an interview with Radio 1 on Monday, Payne said he saw Malik’s departure coming. The 21-year-old singer told host Nick Grimshaw the band wasn’t “Zayn’s sort of music,” which forced him to consider pursuing other avenues. Payne said Malik was forced to follow his heart and he’s happy he’s finally doing something he truly loves. He assured listeners that although they’ve gone their separate ways musically, there is no tension between Payne or the other members of One Direction.
“There’s too much history for their not to be love,” he said. “But it’s nice that we’ve banded together and I feel like we’re stronger than ever now actually. Which is strange, but it’s worked out really nicely for everyone.”
One Direction has been hard at work since Malik’s departure. The band continued their “One The Road Again” tour as a foursome and are said to have hit the studio to begin working on their fifth album, which will be available in November. They recently surprised 1D fans with a new single, “Drag Me Down.” The song is their first new release without Malik on it.
Malik, on the other hand, has been focused on his solo career. On July 30 he signed a deal with RCA Records with the help of mentor Simon Cowell. Malik has since split with Naughty Boy after a public falling out on Twitter. Naughty Boy reportedly leaked a snippet of an unfinished video in which Malik covers Rae Shremmurd’s “No Type” without consulting Malik first. The video featured brief cameos from Krept & Konan, a popular U.K. rap duo. Fans quickly grabbed the clip off Snapchat and began sharing it on Twitter. Malik tweeted at Naughty Boy calling him a “fat joke.”