From Pinoy reggae to hip-hop music, a lot of Filipino artists adopted distinctive styles of contemporary music.
In this generation, one of the most popular genres is Philippine/Pinoy pop or P-pop, which has been there since 1970, and is brimming with young talents including rappers, pop singers, and dancers all in one.
P-pop touches both worlds of Original Pilipino Music (OPM) and Korean pop (K-pop), which gave birth to new sounds and musical pieces inspired and shaped by the Filipino culture. Amidst the wave of new musical bands rising into the P-pop industry, one of the newest acts and boy groups that would surely steal your heart with their smooth jams is none other than Press Hit Play also known as PHP.
Press Hit Play is a Filipino quintet consisting of Charles (lead vocals), Yuuki (main dancer), JP (songwriter/producer), Zi.O (rapper), and Sev (main vocals). In an exclusive interview with The Beat Asia, the group talked about their love for music, creative process, and life experiences, among others.
Turning Musical Aspirations Into Reality
It comes as no surprise that all five members of Press Hit Play have an innate love for music and dance that continues to blossom up until today.
Just like other aspiring artists, JP started his music aspirations by posting his cover songs on YouTube, while Zi.O has been into rap songs since he was in grade school. Later on, he became fascinated with dancing, which led him to meet his fellow PHP members.
Charles and Yuuki, on the other hand, had the opportunity to join a band performing a variety of musical genres. While Charles experimented with hip-hop and '90s boy band greatest hits, Yuuki was a fan of K-pop dance covers before he became the group’s main dancer.
The youngest in the group, Sev, shared that his musical aspirations came from his aunts who play in a band and influenced him to become a singer. Growing up, he was captivated by K-pop culture and entered various K-pop singing contests until he met his band members.
In pursuit of setting their goals into perspective, the group knew that it would take blood, sweat, and tears to become a P-pop star.
Press Hit Play expressed their gratitude to "Pearls" who supported them to make their dreams a reality especially those who never missed any of their performances and patiently waited for their music to be released.
“Pearls” is what the group calls their ever-supportive fans whom they treat as their treasure. The group said the meaning behind their fandom name traces back to “PHP” the acronym of their band name which coincidentally represents the Philippines known as the “Pearl of the Orient Seas.”
“Sobrang nakakatuwa po kasi napabilang po kami dun sa roster ng mga P-pop groups na active. Parang isa po kami sa mga nauna na na-acknowldedge na kasama dun sa #PpopRise na sinasabi. Nakakataba po ng puso and matagal na din po kasi naming pangarap na maiparinig sa mga tao yung nagagawa naming music kasi ‘yun po talaga ‘yung gusto namin, ma-share namin ‘yung music namin sa mga tao kasi it’s based on our life experiences,” Charles said.
[It is a great honor for us to be included among the roster of active P-pop groups. Our group is one of the first to be acknowledged as #PpopRise trends. It is very heartwarming because it's a dream come true for us to have others hear the music we composed because it is based on our own experiences.]
“Gusto namin ma-inspire sila at the same time, pag in-idolize nila kami nakakatuwa na parang dati tayo yung nag-iidol tapos may mga tao na nag-iidol samin, nakaka-flatter na parang ‘totoo ba 'to?’ Nakakatuwa kasi growing ‘yung community, ‘eto ‘yung start pa lang e, hopefully sa mga susunod, mas dumami pa, mas ma-appreciate pa, masuportahan tayo ng Philippine music industry,” Charles added.
[We want to inspire them. At the same time, we are delighted when they idolize us because we were in those shoes before and then now there are people who look up to us. It feels so nice like ‘Is this true?’ We’re happy because the community is growing; this is only the beginning, hopefully, in the future, there will be more supporters for the Philippine music industry.]
Creative Process and Music Releases
The quintet revealed that their creative process behind making a song starts by conceptualizing a theme depending on the current trends, creating a specific topic or situation before they can proceed to make a demo. As a team, all members help in writing the song lyrics by listening to different music genres every day.
“Parang ‘yung trending po kasi pabago-bago kaya naiipon po ‘yung ideas and then kapag meron po kaming nagustuhan na isang klase ng music o genre parang ‘subukan natin ‘to.’ Parang naglalaro na po agad ‘yung isip namin tapos pinaparinig na po namin ‘yun sa lahat and then saka bubuuin ni JP ‘yung naiisip namin and then ‘pag natapos n'ya na po idi-distribute n’ya po sa’min and gagawan na po namin ng lyrics. Talagang group effort po ‘yung ginagawa namin sa music namin,” Charles explained.
[Trends change easily so we accumulate a lot of ideas and then when we like a certain music or genre, we’re like, ‘Let's try this!’ We tend to toy with different ideas, and we let everyone hear it. Then, JP will try to compose what we're thinking, and when he's finished, he'll hand it to us, and we'll work on the lyrics together. What we do with creating music is truly a collaborative effort.]
Last Aug. 6, 2021, Press Hit Play released their first digital single entitled “WIN (Want It Now),” an upbeat song about pursuing your aspirations and living life to the fullest.
The group shared that they were emotional upon the release of their first song and described the experience as very fulfilling.
After five months, Press Hit Play released their comeback single “Tell Me,” with more than 170,000 views as of writing.
The music video features “retro-pop stylings of the ‘80s sound” wherein members talked about how they enjoyed different sets of outfits they wore, the characters they portrayed in every performance, and when they successfully finished filming.
Truth be told, we had a good laugh during the interview when Zi.O said his favorite part while shooting the music video was their break time. He said he enjoyed every part of creating the music video except the part where he portrayed as the “bad boy.” Of course, he’s kidding!
Concerts and Upcoming Events
Last April, Press Hit Play took part in the Pinoy Pop Convention held at the Araneta Coliseum. They shared the stage alongside other P-pop groups including SB19, 4th Impact, MNL48, BGYO, BINI, and many more.
This is the group’s first concert performance and experience performing in front of thousands of P-pop fans. When asked how was the support they received during and after their performance, the group admitted that they felt emotional after their last show.
“Lahat po sila alam yung song namin kaya nung last performance po namin, nag-breakdown kami sa stage,” Sev said.
[They all know our song, so when we did our last performance, we broke down on stage.]
After their very first concert experience, it seems like the group won’t take a break from introducing their music as they will perform at the Tugatog Filipino Music Festival in Mall of Asia Arena on July 15. The event will also be filled with talented P-pop and OPM artists from the music industry.
On July 1, Pearls from Dipolog City in Zamboanga will have a chance to meet Press Hit Play as they will also be performing at the Adlaw Festival. Moreover, the group will be present at the 7th edition of PPOP Awards on Nov. 24 which will take place at Okada, Manila.
Spreading Positive Vibes
We at The Beat Asia wanted to know what advice the PHP members would have for aspiring artists like them. Well, don’t we all? Here’s what they’ve got to say.
Sev: Wag kayong sumuko sa buhay lahat ng pinagdadaanan niyong struggle ngayon, part lang ‘yan ng paghihirap para maging stronger kayo in the future. Kaya see you sa tuktok, wag kayong titigil.
[Don't give up on life because of the challenges you're facing today. They're simply part of your life that will help you grow in the future. So, see you at the top and keep moving forward.]
Zi.O: Tuloy niyo lang’ yung pangarap n’yo. Wag n’yong isarado ‘yung pangarap n’yo mararating niyo din ‘yan.
[Just keep going after your goals. Do not close the door to your dreams. You, too, will succeed.]
JP: Okay lang mapagod, ‘pag napagod ka magpahinga ka lang. ‘Pag nakapag-rest ka na, patuloy ulit. ‘Pag nadapa ka, tayo ka ulit. Hanggang sa ayun nga makuha mo na ‘yung gusto mo. I-enjoy mo.
[It’s okay to get tired. When you feel tired, just take a break. Once you’ve rested, keep going. If you fall down, try again until you succeed. Simply enjoy it.]
Charles: Una syempre dapat alam muna nila kung ano ‘yung gusto nila. Then kung alam na nila ‘yung gusto nila, follow nila yung heart nila. Maniwala sila sa sarili nila. ‘Pag walang naniniwala sa kanila, gawin mo lang ‘yung best mo hanggang sa maniwala sila sa’yo.
[First of all, they must know what they desire (in life). They should then follow their hearts. Have faith in themselves. If no one believes in you, simply keep trying until someone does.]
Yuuki: Lahat naman ng pangarap natin, may process yan. So, ang sasabihin ko lang trust the process.
[There are different steps to reaching our dreams. So, my only advice is to trust the process.]