As the newest P-Pop boy group in the scene, Press Hit Play is looking to leave a mark both locally and internationally with their dynamic sound.
It’s no secret that K-Pop is well-loved by many Filipinos. Ever since the late 2000s, K-Pop groups have been popular in the country and more so now. This adoration has also led to it the growth and even explosion of P-Pop as of late. While there’s nothing wrong with celebrating K-Pop groups, we should also show our love to homegrown talent. With the rise and success of groups like SB19 and BGYO both locally and abroad, P-Pop is currently at a moment where it has been most popular in decades.
And with the rise of P-Pop has come a new generation of groups looking to make a splash in the industry. The latest assemblage hoping to do so is Press Hit Play, or PHP for short, who just made their official debut with the song WIN (Want It Now) on August 6, 2021. But before you write of the group as just another boy band, Press Hit Play is aiming to be more than just a typical boy band. They’re here leaving a lasting impact.
WHO IS PRESS HIT PLAY?
Press Hit Play is a six-member P-Pop boy group. Comprised of Yukito (group leader), Sev (main vocalist), JP (performer, songwriter, producer), Zi. O (rapper and dancer), Yuuki (choreographer/dancer), and CHRLS (lead vocalist, songwriter), each member brings something to the table like how JP is the band’s composer and arranger while Yuuki and Zi. O. usually handle the group’s choreography. The boy group is currently signed to a worldwide deal with international company Evolution Music Group and their label, Evosound.
“Our concept is like an open book because we share our stories through music and we give comfort and inspiration to people who can relate to our songs,” said the group. The name Press Hit Play, meanwhile, comes from the fact that the group wanted something that was easy to remember but still represent their music. “It simply means Once you PRESS this HIT song, it will always PLAY in your mind.”
Even though Press Hit Play is a P-Pop group, their music doesn’t always fall under what you expect. “Our sound and style are complex and dynamic. We like challenges and are open to trying out different things, that’s why we don’t want to focus on a certain genre.” True to their word, some of the genres they have experimented with include modern pop, hip-hop, R&B, and trap. This dynamism with their music is what the group feels helps them stand out from the crowd. “Since our concept is dynamic, we love to explore different kinds of music genres and incorporate it into our music. That’s why people can expect a variety of flavors from Press Hit Play.”
Their official motto, meanwhile, is “Set the tune! Feel the vibe! Press Hit Play!” The “set the tune” part is meant to describe the melody of their songs as well as the melody as a group. “Feel the vibe” is meant to take “you to an emotional state on where our music is trying to communicate.” All those combine together to form Press Hit Play.
Press Hit Play is debuting at a time where P-Pop is becoming a popular genre not just in the Philippines, but even abroad. While debuting at a time when many eyes are on who will be the next big thing in P-Pop can be stressful for some, the boys aren’t feeling that. “We don’t feel pressured at all because just like the other groups, we all have the same goal, that is to share our music to our fellow Filipinos and introduce the P-Pop music to the world.”
A BUMPY ROAD TO DEBUT
While some people may assume that members of boy groups are recruited and go through years of training at a young age, that wasn’t the case for Press Hit Play. They aren’t the cookie-cutter or formulaic guys you think boy groups are usually made out of. In fact, all of the members had careers, both in and outside of music, before they joined the group.
Yukito used to be an events host, one-time actor, and a language tutor for both English and Nihongo. He also used to be in another boy group called ZeroToHero. Sev was a freelance acoustic band vocalist. JP competed in a handful of singing competitions and even underwent training in ShowBT Philippines (the home of SB19) and RBW Entertainment (the home of MAMAMOO) in South Korea. ZI. O was part of an underground rap group he established called Westside Familia, alongside Filipino rappers Hydra and LowKey, and has joined several K-Pop cover dance competitions.
Yuuki used to be a backup dancer for local and international artists, namely Sarah Geronimo, Inigo Pascual, Korean actor Alexander, and rapper Marucci. He was also used to be part of K-Pop cover groups SHINERs and SPECTRUM. He and his group even flew out to South Korea to perform at the Dream K-Pop Fantasy Concert where they opened for groups like Girls Generation and EXO. CHRLS was a finalist for MTV Kpop Star Hunt Season 2 and 3. He also won the Dream K-Pop Filipino Champion under the Korean company JU Entertainment, where he trained for the following two years before training another full year with ShowBT Philippines. He then became part of an international hip-hop group called United Asians, made appearances on popular TV contests, and has released songs as a solo artist. Oh, and he’s also a medical frontline.
“It was hard to leave our jobs prior to Press Hit Play”, they said. “But what made us do this is our passion in music and our trust in the group.” It took two years for the group to finally debut, and those two years were not easy on the members. As they explain, “There were times when we felt like our path was going nowhere because we started as an indie group. Things weren’t going our way. We have been training in between our work schedules prior to the pandemic. It was already tough since the beginning and we thought it would be such a waste of time and effort if we stop in the middle.”
But eventually, things got better for the group. “We got signed by our management, Superb Us Entertainment and they believed in us and our music and supported us all the way. Also, with the help of our record label, Evosound Music, we were able to get back on track and our visions materialize.” During those tough times, they credit the fact that they believed in their music and what they had to offer as inspiring them to push on. They also had the help of their close friends and families. “We also thank our family and friends who stood by our side during these difficult times and of course, our fans who have been there with us since the beginning. They kept us motivated until now.
And speaking of fans, all their hard work towards debuting was for naught. As even before they officially debuted, the group was already building a growing fanbase. They described this development as surprising and overwhelming. “Our only goal was to simply put out our music, share our story, and make contents that we enjoy. But during the process, we gained fans that motivated us even more to keep making music and to reach our dreams. Without their love and support, we wouldn’t have made it this far!”
HANDS-ON WITH THEIR WORK
Press Hit Play prides themselves in the fact that they are very hands-on with their music. Whether it be writing, arranging, and producing their own songs, dance moves, and even producing their own music videos, Press Hit Play makes sure that they are a part of the process. “The process is simple, we just gather together and we exchange ideas to come up with the concept that we want to put out. Once it’s all final, our management reviews the output that we have, and once it’s approved, our label helps us with producing and materializing everything.”
And at this early in their career, the group is making sure that each member gets to communicate. “It is important for us to consider every member’s suggestion because we believe that we can make beautiful outputs together and we can share our music style better by putting our collective ideas in every output that we release.”
The group gets their inspiration from various sources. For JP, he bases the songs he makes on his own and other people’s stories. The same goes for the other members who look to the happenings of the people around them as inspiration “because we want to be the tool to tell their untold story and give them comfort.”
WIN (WANT IT NOW)
Before the group officially debuted in August, they release a pre-debut single called Galakbay in July. The song is an emotional ballad that served as a thank you for all their supporters as well as a way to start the journey of Press Hit Play. “It is a very special and personal song since it reflects the story of Press Hit Play. We want to tell our story and give comfort to people who share the same story and struggles.”
And once they released Galakbay, they followed that up with their debut song WIN, a song about reaching your dreams. The single features a noticeable beat and bounce, as well as some power-pop harmonies, a booming chorus, and dashes of modern hip-hop.
“We thought WIN would be a perfect introduction song because, after years of struggling to reach this path, we finally debuted. WIN is a song that gives hope and comfort to people, and at the same time, we want to inspire people that they will eventually make it as long as they don’t give up!”
PLANS FOR 2021 AND WHAT THEY HOPE TO ACHIEVE
At the moment, the group says that they are currently preparing something special, as to what, they did not specify. But they also did say that fans can expect a lot of videos and vlogs to come out soon. They can also expect their other pre-debut songs to be re-released on streaming platforms soon.
As a rookie P-Pop group, the guys have set a few goals for themselves. “First of all, we want to inspire people through our music because we would like to be an instrument for them to not give up on their dreams. Also, we want to be one of the successful P-POP/OPM artists in the Philippines and make our country proud with our contributions to Filipino music. Lastly, we want our music to be heard all over the Philippines and if given a chance, have the opportunity to step on the global market and raise the Filipino flag!”
And as to why you should start stanning Press Hit Play, this is what they had to say. “You are missing out a lot! We have so many good songs in store for everyone and we are sure you will love our music.”
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