One Direction’s third studio album, Midnight Memories, doesn’t come out until next Tuesday (Nov. 26), but that didn’t stop the boys from hosting an intimate listening party for a couple hundred of their biggest fans on Nov. 22 in Los Angeles.
The event, which was moderated by television and radio personality Ryan Seacrest, took place at Los Angeles’ new iHeart Radio Theater and featured live performances of new songs and old favorites as well as a question-and-answer segment with fans in the audience.
EW sat down with the boys after the listening party and asked them all about the process of making their third studio album. Read on to find out what they said about their more mature sound.
In between playing songs like “Best Song Ever,” “What Makes You Beautiful,” and “Little Things,” the boys also shed some light on the process behind making Midnight Memories.
Louis Tomlinson divulged that unlike Up All Night and Take Me Home, their third album was recorded on the go, something the singer says made the whole process more fun in a way.
So how unconventional was the recording process exactly? Niall Horan shared that sometimes they would even turn their hotel rooms into makeshift studios while on tour.
“We’d get into our hotel rooms and then just shove a mattress up against the wall and just record in there,” Horan said.
Diehard fans who are holding out until the album is officially released to listen may be shocked to find that while the catchy pop undertones that helped the band rise to the top are still there, Midnight Memories has a much harder, 80s feel overall.
When we asked the boys about the new direction they seem to be going with in their third album, Liam Payne divulged that the band just sort of settled on the 80s vibe after penning the albums titular track.
“As soon as we wrote ‘Midnight Memories’ it kind of set the tone for the rest of the album and we were like, ‘yeah this is the kind of stuff we want to be doing,'” Payne told EW. “The record label were a little bit unsure about it at first but then they came around and just let us go with it.”
But while their new album boasts a more adult sound, the boys aren’t worried about alienating younger listeners who originally gravitated toward the group because of their toe-tapping bubblegum pop sound.
If anything, Malik says the fact that having listeners who may not be familiar with 80s-inspired music can only be a good thing.
“To those fans, it’s kind of a new thing really so we get to introduce them to that– that’s kind of the way it works a little bit,” said Malik. “And to those that are familiar, we’re just sort of bringing the 80s back.”
Midnight Memories comes out Monday, Nov. 25. Read EW music critic Nick Catucci’s review of the new album here.