Friday afternoon (Nov. 22), One Direction celebrated the release of "Midnight Memories" with a show at L.A.’s new iHeartRadio venue.
Shortly after 2 p.m., the British-Irish pop stars appeared in front of a sea of screaming female fans and a handful of their parental chaperones. The band treated the audience to a Q&A session moderated by Ryan Seacrest and fielded questions from a few lucky fans. They also performed several tracks off their forthcoming release including “Best Song Ever,” “Story of My Life” and the title track, in addition to hits like “What Makes You Beautiful.”
Seacrest walked the audience through the band’s origin, reminiscing with the guys about their early days of auditioning for "X Factor," meeting Simon Cowell and uniting as One Direction. They also touched on the writing process behind this album and how, unlike their previous two releases, this album was pieced together on the go.
According to Niall Horan, the process was “a bit more fun” than the traditional studio route. “We had a time schedule that we had to meet and that helped drive it a little bit,” Horan said, adding that the band had to get creative when working on music on the road, often writing in hotel rooms and putting mattresses and seat cushions against the wall to soundproof while recording.
In terms of their collaborative style, Louis Tomlinson explained that in lieu of writing as a five piece, the group often splits up as well. “We often break off in pairs and that’s kind of the way that we do it. It often gets a bit crowded if everyone’s in the same room,” he said.
The band also touched on the meaning behind several of their new tunes, admitting that “Story of My Life” is one of the more personal tunes they’ve released. The video, which features One Direction’s family members, was a special memory for the guys. “Obviously it’s going to be fun for us to watch that back in a few years and say, ‘That’s my brother…'” Horan said. He added that his family was a bit nervous to get behind the camera but enjoyed a first hand look at what the boys do for a living.
Liam Payne told Seacrest that the title track to the album was the most significant part of this project. “This was the first song we wrote on the new album and it set us on course of what writing the rest of this album was going to be. It set the tone,” he explained.
Harry Styles added that an odd part of songwriting is that fans will try to guess the meaning behind a song, and it won’t always be what they think, alluding to hidden meanings behind some of the tracks. “Sometimes I think when you’re writing, it’s hard to not write about personal experiences,” he said. “I think a lot of the time it might song like a love song but it might not be about that. It might be about your family or your dog."
The fan portion of the interview took a much different turn, with fans asking who in the band uses the most hair products, if they’d rather be in One Direction or be the most popular football player in England, and whether or not Zayn Malik has locked in the best men for his wedding -- to which he replied, “No. I decided it’s going to have to be a bit unconventional. I’m going to have to have like five or six best men.”
Also during the performance, fans were treated to clips of the band’s unreleased ultimate fan edition of their documentary "This is Us," which will be available on DVD and blu ray Dec. 17. The iHeartRadio One Direction CD release party will stream on Nov. 25 at 9pm ET on Yahoo Screen and will also be televised on The CW on Dec. 9 at 9 p.m. ET.
"Best Song Ever"
"Last First Kiss"
"Story of My Life"
"What Makes You Beautiful"