One Direction fans in the U.S. have been following the band’s European tour, trying to get hints about what’s to come when 1D makes its first stateside run without Zayn Malik, who left the band earlier this year. EW caught up with Harry Styles before the guys start the North American leg to hear about what they’ve had to change and who was tapped to take over Malik’s high notes in “Story Of My Life.”
Entertainment Weekly: The band launches a U.S. tour on July 9 in San Diego. How have the shows been going since Malik left?
Harry Styles:There have been incredible shows across Europe. Some of the best we’ve had! So we’re super excited about coming to America.
How has the production of the concert changed without him?
The only changes have been that the parts Zayn sang have been picked up by different people. Other than that, the shows have been going absolutely great.
Have you had to modify the set list at all? Malik has a big solo on “Story of My Life,” for instance.
It would be pretty devastating if we took that song out. Liam [Payne] stepped up to do the high notes. He kicks them in the bollocks every show. He doesn’t hold back.
Which songs have you had to rework?
The other guys have picked up [Zayn’s] parts. We all know the songs well enough to do that.
Any new tricks with choreography?
Not really. I feel like you want me to say yes, but no! We don’t really do much choreography anyway. We kind of just stand on stage. We’re still doing that! [Laughs]
How have you been handling fans’ reactions this go-round?
The fans have shown, as they have a million times, that they’re incredible and so supportive.
Any new music you’re obsessed with now?
We all love LunchMoneyLewis’ “Bills.” It’s a smash!
What’s downtime like for you guys these days?
Sometimes we go around and play football. Or we’ll hang on the tour bus, watch films, play videogames. Just normal stuff.
As for 1D’s future, do you know what’s happening?
We’re currently recording and writing our next album, so we’ll be working on that. The songs are coming together quickly, so we’re buzzing with the new stuff.
It carries a slightly new identity, but I think it’s an obvious change from [Four] in a positive way. We’ve branched out and worked with different writers, and we’ve got some great songs!
See all the dates for One Direction’s Honda Civic Tour Presents: On The Road Again on their website.
A version of this story appeared in Entertainment Weekly issue #1371/1372, on newsstands Friday, July 3.