"Obviously it's hard, but the positive take on the situation is we felt we definitely got closer as a group," Tomlinson told ET.

By Karen Mizoguchi
Updated November 17, 2015 07:00 PM

Although Zayn Malik said being in a boy band wasn’t real to him anymore, One Direction is very much real to remaining members Harry Styles , Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson.

The guys have moved forward as a foursome since losing Malik in March. And recently the lads revealed what may have caused the separation.

“Zayn did have different musical tastes, so that’s fine,” Tomlinson told ET in a joint interview.

“I think in any field of work when you lose someone on your team, obviously it’s hard, but the positive take on the situation is we felt we definitely got closer as a group,” the father-to-be explained.

“We sat down and spoke about it – this is something we all still want to do, so in the end we actually bonded together tighter, I think.”

Don’t worry Directioners, Liam Payne is still very much in the band but was on a sick day during the ET sit-down.

The tight bond is evident more than ever in new album Made in the A.M., their first project since becoming a foursome.

However, this latest album will be the last project together for a while. One Direction mutually agreed to take at least a year long break from the band to pursue their own projects, a source confirmed to PEOPLE.

“We are not splitting up, but we will be taking a well earned break at some point next year,” Horan tweeted in August. The hiatus is expected to start in March of next year, but the band will be promoting their latest album up until February.

But there are two sides to every story. Malik also recently explained his reason for leaving to The Fader, telling the mag that he always wanted to leave.

“I guess I just wanted to go home from the beginning. I was always thinking it,” the solo singer admitted. “I just didn’t know when I was going to do it. Then by the time I decided to go, it just felt right on that day.”

But the decision was understandably hard for the former fiancé of Perrie Edwards.

“I woke up on that morning, if I’m being completely honest with you, and was like, ‘I need to go home. I just need to be me now, because I’ve had enough.’ I was with my little cousin at the time – we were sat in the hotel room – and I was just, ‘Should I go home?’ And he was like, ‘If you want to go home, let’s go home.’ So we left.”