One Direction Reveal Their Songwriting Secrets
Billboard spoke with the writers for One Direction about their work on the band’s previous hit singles “What Makes You Beautiful,” “One Thing,” “Live While We’re Young.” The songs are the group’s three biggest hits and were written by Carl Falk, Rami Yacoub and Savan Kotecha. They previously wrote songs for the Irish boy band Westlife. They said they had no interest in using what was popular to make the songs, including hip-hop producers and EDM style.
Kotecha said: “It felt like everyone tried to do boy bands by going to the cool, hip producers who were coming up. We wanted to make it very vanilla. You’re aiming for teens and tweens with boy-band guilty pleasure music. We weren’t trying to be urban or rhythmic, and they happened to share the same vision.“
Falk said he wanted to make songs that were built around guitars, as he and the band’s Niall Horan were guitar players. He added: “Each of the songs have signature riffs — something so people can play YouTube versions of our songs. We wanted to do something where we didn’t copy anything right off. We’re trying to do our own thing a little bit, even if it’s just guitar parts.“
The writers also revealed that the five members of the band co-wrote on three of the songs from Take Me Home, which was recorded and written in August. Horan provides guitar work on six of the songs. Harry Styles is currently building a recording studio at his home in England. The members would sometimes pair off in groups of three to work on ideas.
Zayn Malik said: “Somebody could have the first initial idea after we heard a melody or a track, and someone would chip in a few works and then Liam or someone else could come in and by end of the day we’d have a song. We wanted to feel like we were giving a little more back in our personal lives, so what better way than to get involved in the writing process?“
The recording sessions were split between Stockholm and London. They also had to deal with fans outside the studio every day, singing lyrics to their songs. Fans also greeted them during their stay at the Trump Hotel in New york.
Liam Payne said: “It was crazy — we only had a month or so to record the whole album, but we always felt like we had the fans on our side. They’re always anxious to know where we are – even before I do. It’s good to see that level of dedication.“