One Direction may have shocked their fans when it emerged that they were planning to take a "well earned break", but their producer said it has been planned for months. Julian Bunetta, who has worked with the band on some of their biggest hits, said the group recorded their fifth album knowing they would be taking some time out following its release.
"There was a feeling of, 'Well, we're going to take a break, and anything in the world can happen during that time off'" Julian told Billboard magazine. "It's the first time of there being some uncertainty, of not having things planned out beforehand, since they were 16 years old."
One Direction have been planning their hiatus for months
He added that the group were intent on creating the best album they possibly could as it could be some time before they record another together.
"There was definitely a vibe of making [the album] the best it can possibly be, and knowing it has to last as long as it needs to until we make another record – if we make another record," Julian explained.
Despite the uncertainty that follows the album's release, the producer said that the band had a lot of fun while making the album and wanted to celebrate everything they had achieved over the last five years.
"It wasn't like every day was depressing in the studio," he said. "We were having so much fun when we were making this record – going out, having parties, really enjoying ourselves and not taking any day for granted that we got to spend with each other."
Julian added: "When you're faced with some uncertainty you appreciate the moment more. The moment that you're in becomes really special and sacred."
It emerged on Sunday that One Direction were planning to take an extended break after the album is released – their first without former band member Zayn Malik. While fans were devastated at the loss of their favourite boy band, the group took to Twitter to clarify that they're not splitting up.
Niall Horan tweeted: "We are not splitting up, but we will be taking a well-earned break at some point next year. Don't worry though, we still have lots we want to achieve!"
Meanwhile dad-to-be Louis Tomlinson explained: "Your support is truly indescribable! It's just a break :) we're not going anywhere!!"