In a wide-ranging conversation conducted in the California desert, Styles detailed the “intimately made” project that he calls his “favorite album at the moment” and discusses getting to a place where his overall happiness is no longer dependent on the success of his music.
The Grammy-award winner admitted he’s a perfectionist with a deep desire (and pressure) to create — something he learned to balance during what he called the “gifted” and “stolen time” of the pandemic.
“For a really long time, I was terrified of what my life was if I wasn’t up here doing music, on a show, doing something. And then you’re faced with a time when you can’t do that,” he told Lowe. “I kind of stopped for a second and looked at what I turned to listen to and what I was watching and all that kind of stuff and was like, ‘What does it actually mean to make something? And what does it mean to me to make something as my job?'”
Styles also touched on his growing appreciation for the practice of being present and opened up about what it took to truly get to know himself, citing the power of therapy and reflecting on his early success with One Direction.
He said he feels “really lucky” to have had his former bandmates to lean on at the time and curtailed the topic with a sweet takeaway for the fans: “I think there is very much a respect between all of us, if we did something together. And that is something that you can’t really undo. And you know, it’s like a very deep love for each other, I think.”
Comparing his time touring with his former bandmates to now, Styles said, “It just felt so separate from any individual. It never felt like… You are never on stage being like, ‘Yeah, this stadium’s full because of me.'”
Now, however, Styles can confidently affirm the opposite. He echoed his gratitude for his successful sold-out arena “Love on Tour,” and said: “The crowd is so emotionally generous that they just want me to be having a good time, and I can feel that. Doing shows is my favorite thing to do in the world.”
Styles also referenced Billie Ellish’s success as a young artist in the “fickle” music industry. “I think being in the band, I’d always felt like we were really young… And I had a moment seeing [Billie] do this at such a young age where I felt like, ‘I’m not that young anymore.’ And for a while it was, how do you play that game of remaining exciting?”
In conclusion, he added that he was “thankful” for Eilish who had represented a sort of artistic liberation for him, saying she “broke the spell” of his overanalyzing habits. “This is so unbelievably liberating to go, ‘I just want to make good music.’ That’s it. That’s what I want to do. And everything else is what it will be. And that’s kind of it.”
This then prompted Styles to go deep on the evolution of his discography, detailing the origins and songwriting process for various tracks on the new album.
“I was kind of like, ‘I’d be really fun to make an album called Harry’s House,’ and thought about it being this smaller thing. And then it was back to that thing of, ‘Maybe that’s an album I’ll make in four years or five years or whatever.’ And as I started making the album, I realized it wasn’t about the geographical location. It’s much more of an internal thing,” he added.
He also shared fans could expect this album to sound “more electronic in a lot of places than anything I’ve made, it’s also so much more intimate to me. And so much more intimately made.”
Watch Zane Lowe’s Apple Music interview with Harry Styles in full below.