Zayn Malik still chats with Liam Payne on the phone and is keen to catch up with him in person.

Zayn, 23, who quit One Direction in March last year (15) to focus on his own music, claims he keeps in touch with Liam, 22, and hopes to meet up with him in the near future.

"I'm still probably the closest to Liam," Zayn told British music magazine NME. "We talk on the phone. He congratulated me on my single, which was nice. I congratulated him on his Brit Award (the group collected the British Video Award for Drag Me Down). It was a good chat. We haven't met up in a long time so we want to meet up."

However, the Pillowtalk singer admits that things remain distant between himself and his other former One Direction bandmates - Harry Styles, 22, Louis Tomlinson, 24, and Niall Horan, 22.

"I tried to have contact but nobody's reached out," he revealed. "So... whatever."

Zayn also recalled the moment he knew he had to leave One Direction, which he joined after initially auditioning as a solo artist on U.K. television talent show The X Factor in 2010.

The singer, who is currently dating model Gigi Hadid, said that he asked his security team organise a plane to take him home because he just knew his stint with the Night Changes hitmakers was complete.

"I don't know how I knew, but I just did. So I chatted with my cousin. Listened to a few songs. Just waited for my plane to come," he said, adding that his departure wasn't part of a strategy to get out of the group before their time at the top expired.

The British-born singer's highly-anticipated first album, Mind of Mine, will hit stores on Friday (25Mar16).