It has been eight years since Zayn Malik left One Route in March 2015 after 5 years within the iconic boy band, surprising Directioners. Within the time since, the “Pillowtalk” singer has spoken out briefly about what led to his resolution to depart the band, telling Beats 1 Radio on Apple Music (through NME) in 2016, “I think I always wanted to go, from like the first year, really. I never really wanted to be there, like in the band.”

Practically 10 years can add perspective, nevertheless, and, in 2023, Malik feels much more nostalgic about his years in One Route. In a July 12 “Call Her Daddy” interview, Malik spoke probably the most candidly but about his years in 1D and his ideas on the band now.

First, Malik revealed that he all the time felt like he was miscast because the “mysterious” band member. “They just said, ‘Oh yeah, you can be the mysterious one.’ That wasn’t necessarily my personality, I’m just chill,” Malik informed podcast host Alex Cooper. “I think it’s just a marketing scheme, you know. You got the Teletubbies, you got Spice Girls, you got whatever. It’s just a marketing scheme. So, I get it, but I don’t think you can define an entire person to one personality trait. We’re a little bit more complex than that.”

Malik additionally admitted that towards the top of his run in 1D, the members — which additionally included Harry Types, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and Louis Tomlinson — had grown “sick of each other” after spending day-after-day collectively for 5 years.

Because of this, Malik stated that he was desperate to be the primary member to depart the band and kick off his solo profession. “There was a lot of politics going on, certain people were doing certain things. Certain people didn’t want to sign contracts so I knew something was happening so I just got ahead of the curve,” Malik recounted. “I was like, ‘I’m going to jump the gun here for the first time.’ I’m passive but when it comes to my music and my business, I’m serious about it and I’m competitive. I wanted to be the first to go and do my own thing.”

Regardless of how issues ended with One Route, Malik stated he appears again on his years with the band rather more fondly than he did again in 2015. “We were close, we done crazy things with each other that nobody else in the world will ever understand or have them experiences that we’ve shared with each other,” Malik defined. “I look back on it now in a much fonder light than I would’ve as I’ve just left. There were great experiences. I had great times with them but we just ran our course.”