"I can honestly say I’m proud of a lot of stuff from the One Direction days," the 23-year-old adds. "I’m not sure people realize that, but I am. I’ve got the memorabilia – the platinum discs we received with every album – all over my house. I have a wall dedicated to displaying them."
"One Direction was an incredible experience in its own right," he continues, "and it’s a part of me, an integral part of my history, and I’m never going to deny that aspect of my life."
The praise might seem somewhat surprising to some fans, considering in March, Malik admitted he'd only been in contact with one member of One Direction since exiting the group in 2015.
"I'm still probably closest with Liam [Payne]," Malik told NME earlier this year, claiming that his other bandmates haven’t been as open to speaking to him. "I tried to have contact but nobody's reached out. So... whatever.”
Meanwhile, Malik has kept very busy since leaving the band in 2015.
Besides releasing his solo album and a book, it was announced in September that Malik would be executive producing a drama series, Boys, about the turbulent times of a big-time boy band.