Savan Kotecha's been with One Direction from the very beginning. After he was a vocal coach with them on The X Factor helping them through the live shows, he went on to be the mastermind to write What Makes You Beautiful and a fair whack of the rest of Up All Night (ker-ching!) and is now working with them on second album Take Me Home.
When he had a few moments to spare from writing hit singles for Bieber, JLS, Cher Lloyd, Usher and Britney (and trying to get his iPhone updated) we gave him a grilling about the boys' new album - because we can't very well be waiting until November to find out about it, can we?
Let's get straight to the point El Savvo, the lads have been saying Take Me Home is pretty much the same as Up All Night. What’s the point in that then?
Yeah... well I wouldn’t say EXACTLY the same, there are a few songs that are more of a development from the first album. We only really had one major hit from the first album, so for most of the world people have only just heard the one song, so to go ahead and change everything wouldn’t be the right thing to do at this early stage. There are a few songs on the album that move the sound on a little bit. But for America – I was talking to Rob Stringer yesterday who’s the head of their US label – Live While We’re Young feels like the third single in America.
Yeah, it sounds like it could’ve been on Up All Night to be fair.
Exactly, we did that on purpose. The idea was to kind of continue the whole fun, what makes you beautiful kind of vibe – but maybe make the lyrics a bit more naughty.
Erm, yes. What exactly is this ‘tonight let’s get some’ you’re on about, hmmm?
Donuts? Piss off.
It’s donuts! You go out, you party, you get hungry....
Cant get them when you’re older so you have to get them when you’re young?
Exactly. When you’re older you just get fat.
Ahh, diabetes, the silent killer.
It’s a dangerous thing. Your metabolism slows down.
Alright, what about ‘we’ve only met but let’s pretend it’s love’?
Is this the message you’re sending out to impressionable fans?
Well, you know...
Are you telling them to slag themselves about? Is this the theme of the album? ‘Be sluts’?
Well, obviously not. The whole idea is that you have that nostalgic night out, so people who are older can listen to it too. None of us are naive enough not to know what kids do. It’s important not to patronise the youth of today, we’re not gonna be writing about ‘oh let’s just hold hands for a while’ you know? They need their music to connect. A lot of songs are about sex and you have to be realistic about it.
So, we hear the boys have more writing credits on this album?
Yeah, they’re gonna have a few. I’ve done at least three songs with them – I don’t know what’s gonna make the final album.
Did they write about personal stuff? Or was it more "Hey fellas, what rhymes with 'kiss'?"
We had a concept. They’re actually really good – especially Liam, he was really impressive. He’s really, really good. He’s just smart, you can tell he’s smart. Some people write and they’re like "Oh i like that, time... and mime,” but he actually thinks about what he’s writing and the words that need to sing well. He’s actually really good. There’s one song that’s actually really personal to Louis on there.
Is it called ‘Don’t call me gay’?
Ha. Yes! That’s it, you’ve guessed the title.
Er... no. It’s about going on tour, being away from the person that you love and being afraid that they might move on when you’re not there, that kind of thing. They did a good job on that. They’ve been a lot more involved. It’s like, yesterday, we were listening to some of the mixes and Louis was like ‘I prefer if the guitar riff was this way,’ so we changed it. We’ve let them grow, basically, and have given them a lot more involvement, especially with Niall – he plays guitar on every single song we did together.
OOH that’s interesting.
Yeah, like obviously Live While We’re Young, but a bunch of other stuff is all Niall’s guitar playing.
Go on Nialler.
Yeah, it’s great. They all sing a lot more solos, we’ve spread that out a bit more. There’s actually one song where Louis starts the song and sounds great, and there’s one where Niall starts the song. They have much longer solo pieces. Zayn sings a lot in some songs too, we’ve spread it out a lot more.
So now that the boys are crazy-famous, do they make you buy them vanilla scented candles and fetch them bowls of blue M&Ms?
They did that from the beginning, man.
They’re actually pretty muich the same – I mean, they’re a lot richer which is nice because we can go for lunch, but they’re having fun. I think if anything everyone’s kind of gone even more into their personalities. Like, Niall’s always gonna be niall, no matter what happens in life he’s just got one of those amazing personalities that will just never change.
He'll still call you a shower of c**** if he's had a bad day...
Ha! Yeah... He’ll be the same with anybody, whether it’s the Queen or Simon Cowell or whoever, he likes having a laugh and joking around. Harry’s Harry, still the same.
Still crackin’ on to those ladies...
[laughs] Yeah, exactly. He always was, always will. Zayn’s sort of, you know, he’s like the quiet one a little bit, always reflective about things and I think he’s become even more so. He’s a little bit more sensitive about the whole fame thing and isn’t really into the whole celebrity thing the whole time, which is great because it means he’s gonna be ok. He really keeps things in perspective, which is important.
Liam has even more come out of his shell. He’s a much more confident person now, he’s a lot more outgoing. At first, when they guys were playing a show and all the other boys would be hanging out, Liam would be the guy in the corner reading a book or just talking to somebody, and be a little more reserved. Now he’s come out of his shell a bit more, which is great.
We want to cry.
They’re just growing up, nothing major’s changed in their personalities.
It’s like our mum says, “Everybody sh*ts the same”.