He wrote it with Jamie Scott, who wrote 1D's hit "Story of My Life" and Horan said that familiar pairing made his transition back into songwriting "easy." As well, from the sounds of it, the time off allowed the singer to get his head a bit straight.
"Backpacking trip kind of normalized my life, I supposed," he told Sang. "I didn't get asked for photos anywhere. When you're in tourist spots, no one expects you to be there. So it was kind of like, I kept my hat on, kept my sunglasses on, kept my head down, did all the usual tourist stuff in Southeast Asia with a rucksack on my back."
i definitely learned a lot on that trip.
Niall Horan's One Direction Bandmates React to His New Solo Single
"This Town" is the first taste of a larger album to come, Horan continued, saying that the solo LP should come out sometime next year. And while the cinematic song is a decent representation of what's to follow, he said some other songs get more "rugged" as well. As he's been working on the new material, he explained he's very hands-on in the studio -- as he's always been, despite the perhaps common misconception otherwise.
"I don't think anyone really gave 1D enough credit in terms of what we were like in the studio," he said. "I think people just thought, 'Oh another manufactured lot who don't really write their own stuff,' but people would be wrong if they thought that. So this time around it was me working closely with producers and knowing what I like in terms of sound and being inspired by different artists and how they would write and different ways of writing songs and stuff like that."
As for the meaning behind his new song, he explained there are a couple ways he interprets it.
Niall Horan's 'This Town' Debuts Atop the Billboard + Twitter Trending 140 Chart
"To me the way I look at it, if you're from a small town you'll get this, every time you go back to your hometown you'll see this girl in the bar, or wherever, and then everything comes back to you," he said. "And then the other part of it is the town itself no matter whatever you do whenever you live, when you go home, everything comes back to the town. That's the way I kind of wrote it, as a double meaning."
Surely, his career as a solo artist without his One Direction brothers beside him is going to take adjusting -- particularly on tour.
"Obviously it's going to be a daunting thing," he said, "but it's something I'm gonna have to get used to. I'm gonna miss the boys onstage."
As for One Direction's future, Horan said while everyone is working on their own stuff at the moment, he said there's no doubt they'll regroup eventually.
"For the foreseeable it's our own projects," he said, "but I definitely would not rule and won't let anyone rule out the return of One Direction, because it's inevitable."
Watch the full interview here: