"I just gave it a go because it was there at the time," the 23-year-old singer said in an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music's Beats 1
"I think I kinda always wanted to go," Zayn revealed. "From the first year, I never really wanted to be there in the band."
"When I realized the direction that we were going in, mind the pun, with the music, I instantly realized it wasn't for me," he added. "How do you write a song from five people's perspective?"
Interestingly, Zayn said that his bandmates were always aware of his dissatisfaction.
"I think the boys knew that in terms of the music, that wasn't my cup of tea," he said, claiming that the other Direction guys anticipated his departure.
"When I was leaving the band, they didn't want me to leave," Zayn continued. "But I'd already made up my mind at that point."
The full interview will air on Zane Lowe’s show on Jan. 28 on Apple Music.
After Zayn left One Direction
in March 2015, the band's remaining members -- Harry Styles
, Niall Horan
, Liam Payne
, and Louis Tomlinson
-- announced in August they'd go on hiatus
at the completion of this album cycle. And the band's recently dropped "History" music video, which features Zayn, has fueled speculation that they are on track for a permanent breakup.
However, a source recently told ET that "there's no truth to this" and "[their break] remains a hiatus with the intention of reuniting at some point."