Gossips that the members of One Direction would take a lengthy hiatus after releasing their fifth album have now been swirling for weeks, which weekend PEOPLE reported that the time off would start in March 2016.

Earlier this month, longtime One Direction producer and songwriter Julian Bunetta, told EW, “I understand they’re taking a much-earned break.” When asked if their forthcoming fifth album could be their last, he explained, “They’ve been doing something that no group has ever done – five albums, five tours, plus a film in 5 years. It’s unbelievable and quite prolific. It’s up to them. They miss it and may take a year off. They may take a year off and say you know what, I desire another year off.”

One Direction’s still-untitled fifth album is the group’s first without Zayn Malik, who left the band in March.

“Clearly t is a character missing, however they are still the same guys,” Bunetta said about recording the album without Malik.

The record’s first single, “Drag Me Down,” and its music video debuted this summer, and with a dubstep influence, it teases the group’s new, more mature sound.

Bunetta said the brand new songs feature different instrumentation.

“We Are stretching out outside of the margins of just what a conventional pop boy band would do. We’re just kind of having fun. No rules,” he said.