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P1Harmony: Fourth-Generation K-pop’s Dark Horse

Gracing our ‘Performance’ digital cover, the South Korean boy band go in-depth about their artistry, break down some of their most iconic stages, and tell us about the challenges of a mid-pandemic debut

Oysmita Majumder May 27, 2022

P1Harmony. Photo: Courtesy of FNC Entertainment

This cover story appears in Rolling Stone India’s K-Music Special Issue, on sale now. Buy your copy with P1Harmony’s cover included inside the edition here.

The paradigm of ‘performance’ is one of the pivotal building blocks of every K-pop act, and it adds a momentous degree of impact to the cinematic audio-visual experience that the genre aims to provide. Rather than being reduced to just another rudimentary music bracket, K-pop is an art form in itself, wherein the artists’ performance quotient and stage presence are considered just as vital to their artistry, as their vocal and rapping prowess. 

Today, the K-pop industry has developed into a revolutionary, worldwide sensation, owing to its quintessential blend of earworm vocal melodies and powerful raps, groovy beats and addictive rhythms. To this, they add elements of intricately synchronized dance routines, unique storyline-driven cinematography, bold and experimental fashion statements, outstanding production and post-production touches, and finally, fan-interactive marketing strategies. It is via the incorporation of these very building blocks, that a modest musical genre has succeeded in transcending the impediments of race, nationality, linguistics, age, gender and so forth, unifying listeners via a common love for God-tier, performance-centric, concept-driven artistry.

Over the years, the K-pop industry has evolved from being a niche-specific interest, to a dynamic cultural movement, heavily fueled by the emergence of stellar performance-oriented groups including BTS, Bigbang, 2ne1, Seventeen, Mamamoo and NCT – and the legacy has been upheld by the newer, fourth-generation K-pop groups, wherein the art of mainstream pop music seems to be gradually shifting towards a more performance-focused approach, with idols like Ateez, Itzy, Stray Kidz, The Boyz, Oneus, Loona, P1Harmony, Everglow and Enhypen at the forefront of leading this change. 

P1Harmony graces the ‘Performance’ digital cover of our K-Music Special Issue 2022. Photo: Courtesy of FNC Entertainment

P1Harmony is a six-member boy group under FNC Entertainment, comprising Keeho, Theo, Jiung, Intak, Soul and Jongseob. Following a series of delays owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, P1Harmony first broke out onto the K-pop scene on October 28th, 2020, with their debut EP Disharmony: Stand Out and its lead single “Siren”  – undeniably one of the most challenging K-pop choreographies to come out that year. However, this definitely wasn’t the first time that the audience got to be wowed by their inimitable performance skills. The debut project from the group’s end was actually an extraordinary, storyline-driven, star-studded sci-fi film P1H: A New World Begins, where the members performed the roles of superhuman entities from different dimensions who came together to salvage [and establish order in] a post-apocalyptic world overrun by rage and violence. 

Despite not having had any previous acting experience, the members nailed their respective roles, with Keeho portraying a “space-time traveler,” Theo an “outstanding hunter,” Soul embodying a “survivor with immunity,” Jiung channeling the role of a “destroyer,” Jongseob playing a “genius engineer,” and Intak, “the boy who doesn’t die.” The first of its kind within the K-pop industry, this marked the landmark movement of a group launching their own feature-length film, as a prelude to the storyline that would be carried forward via the group’s artistry in the future. Rapper and youngest member Jongseob says, “Our album cover for the Disharmony trilogy series was all based on each member’s superpowers revealed in the movie, and that concept will continue with our next album.”

Not only has the group consistently managed to deliver with regards to all four major facets of ‘performance,’ namely (a) live vocals/rap skills (b) choreography (c) stage presence and (d) production, the members were [rightfully] successful in seizing the audience’s attention from the inception of their careers, with a tour-de-force debut stage on M Countdown showcasing an electrifying and perfectly synchronized performance replete with stunts and a footwork-heavy routine set to the hip-hop-laced dance track, “Siren.” According to vocalist Theo, this happens to be the precise moment when he was at his absolute happiest on-stage. “The most memorable stage for me is our first showcase. It was my first time standing on a stage, and one of that capacity,” he reveals.

P1Harmony. Photo: Courtesy of FNC Entertainment

Since then, there’s been no looking back for this trailblazing group. They’ve maintained a solid track record of entertaining viewers with dynamic, power-packed performances, slowly yet steadily, one comeback at a time. This was seen in the fiercely intense, soccer-inspired choreography on “Scared” [the ‘noisy’ lead single off of their sophomore EP Disharmony: Breakout], which had swift, smooth movements in quick succession in the chorus, followed by a solo dance break by rapper-dancer Soul, or, their latest, the hip-hop hype anthem “Do It Like This” [the title track of their third EP Disharmony: Find Out], which exhibits a catchy point-dance routine and a collaboration with popular American dance crew The Lab. Ubiquitous to their discography is the core message the group sets out to convey – that of unwavering self-belief; breaking free of oppression, challenging the system head-on to fearlessly establish their individual identities, and ushering in peace, order and harmonyto the [aforementioned] post-apocalyptic world. Vocalist and dancer Jiung reaffirms this, as he shares, “Our core message, which is to ‘do what you want and move the way you want to move,’ has always been consistent throughout all three albums.”

Besides having intricate dance routines for all their title tracks, the boy group has, in unique fashion, dedicated performance videos for the B-side records that span the entirety of the Disharmony trilogy series, across a total of three EPs with 18 tracks. Besides official music videos, they have additionally released both ‘performance’ and ‘choreography’ versions for the same, plus a plethora of remarkable dance and vocal covers, alongside self-choreographed dance routines for different stages. And in case this wasn’t enough, their performance quotient is further enhanced by a superlative stage presence and stellar production quality for their music videos and performance covers.

However, the boy band is unflinchingly self-assured that choreography isn’t the sole, nor the biggest reason behind their success. Leader Keeho’swords are brimming with conviction as he ponders, “I don’t think we need to have a choreography routine for every single song to be considered as amazing performers on stage. I think we would be able to show our uniqueness with or without choreography.” 

In these two years, P1Harmony’s unyielding passion for their art [as reflected in their music and performance] has placed them on our radar for up-and-coming groups to watch out for. In this exclusive conversation with our journalist Oysmita Majumder for Rolling Stone India‘s K-Music Special Issue 2022, the group breaks down their unique performance style, powerful visual artistry and plans for the future.

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Congratulations on the release of your third EP, Disharmony: Find Out. The mini-album set a new professional record for P1Harmony and went on to become the group’s highest-selling album in its first week of release. I’d like to hear more about the album-making process and the creative vision behind the same. How does it compare to Disharmony: Stand Out and Disharmony: Breakout

Keeho: The album-making process wasn’t all that different from our previous two albums because we always put a lot of effort and are very involved in the creative process of all our albums. We all knew what we wanted to say with Disharmony: Find Out and what the album would sound like. We wanted the tone and mood of the album to be more bright and less heavy. Personally, I wanted my vocals to be more distinctive, so I put more effort and emphasis on developing my own signature vocal sound.

Jiung: Compared to our first two EPs, our last album was more focused on sounding lighthearted, fun, and easy-to-follow. We wanted to make something that everyone can enjoy and follow.

As the third and final part to the Disharmony trilogy series, headlined by the dynamic lead single “Do It Like This,”  the core message culminates in the welcoming of a new age and breaking free of a limiting system, to discover and establish our own world. Can you tell us how this release connects to the overall storyline initiated and continued by albums Disharmony: Standout and Disharmony: Breakout, respectively?

Jiung: The main storyline of the Disharmony trilogy series was always about bringing harmony to the world. Our last album continues to tell our core message of believing in one’s unlimited possibilities and to never ever give up.

What sets your January 2022 release “Do it Like This” apart from “Siren” (2020) and “Scared” (2021)? How would you say it compares to all your past titular releases in the Disharmony series? Also, were there any new aspects that the members got to try out or experiment with for the first time, be it in terms of music, fashion, or performance?

Keeho: We had more creative freedom, as well as options and concepts to experiment with,   especially in terms of fashion. Compared to our visual concept for “Scared,” which was pretty much limited to one concept/look since it was heavily influenced by the concept of football, our outfits for “Do It Like This” were far more diverse and casual. We had so many different styles – from gold-themed, streetwear to animal-print-heavy ensembles – all representing the same song. The variety of our outfits helped express “Do It Like This” in different ways, so that was an interesting experience.

Theo: It was my first time dealing with choreography with so many details, especially during the hook, and the BPM of the song was so fast that my body had a hard time following it!

Keeho: Adding to what Theo said, we had to change the choreography so many times for “Do It Like This,” even in between promotions, because the routine was so strenuous, intricate and detailed. We felt like it looked too busy or full since we had a million things going on in one choreography. We even reached out to our seniors for advice, and had a hard time adjusting the routine until everyone was satisfied and finding the right balance.

From hip-hop centric tracks to bass-heavy tracks with elements of acapella, your latest six-track album not only showcases P1Harmony’s evolving creative vision, but also boasts song-writing credits from all six members. That’s a truly commendable effort for a younger and relatively newer group in the industry. Could you detail how you feel your work has evolved artistically, from inception to the present day?

Intak: I think I’ve matured a lot and my songwriting skills have gotten better. As a member of P1H, I know exactly how I can contribute and drive the concept of lyrics so that it can be used to complete or make a cohesive track.

Keeho: I think we all feel a great amount of responsibility when it comes to songwriting, and I think we all have improved to a certain degree because we are heavily invested when it comes to composing and making our music. We always want to do better and try to improve every time we make a new album. No matter how busy or hectic our schedules are, we try our best to show our improvements and artistic maturity with every single release.

Jiung: In the beginning of our career, I wasn’t confident and was a bit shy when making suggestions or sharing my melody line with the group. But now that I have more experience, I feel so much more comfortable when working with the members and feel more at ease when creating melody lines.

Keeho: I’m still shy! We have learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so we are much more efficient now! We can immediately figure out what’s missing and identify who can do what to make it better.

P1Harmony. Photo: Courtesy of FNC Entertainment

What is P1Harmony’s focal aim vis-à-vis this album experience? Are there any key takeaways that the fans should take note of, before you embark on the metaverse concept for your future releases, as pointed out by Jiung?

Jiung: Our core message is ‘do what you want and move the way you want to move,’ and that has been consistent throughout all three albums.

Theo: I want our fans to know that it’s okay to break out of the frame and be different.

Soul: I want our fans to have dreams! 

Let’s dive deeper into the performance dimension of your art. What helped you realize that performing and becoming an idol was what you wanted to do for the rest of your lives? Basically, what made you want to become an idol?

Keeho: I feel like there is nothing I can do better than singing, literally. When I was a kid, I threw a surprise concert for my mom with my sister and we sang Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey’s “When You Believe,” and that’s when my mom saw my potential. She told me, “If you’re good at something, make money off it!” So that’s how I pursued my dream.

Jiung: My family’s reaction to my karaoke performances made me want to be a superstar.

Jongseob: I was exposed to a lot of performances as a child and it naturally grew on me, and it was just fun! But if I have to pick a moment, I knew I wanted to sing, rap and perform for the rest of my life when I won K-pop Star.

Intak: I always had a passion for dance. My body would always move automatically every time music was on. When I first joined FNC as a trainee, I was the youngest and most of my seniors were already way more experienced, so I had zero confidence and I was never sure if I had the talent because our dance teacher never praised anyone and he never made any comments about my dancing skills. But one day, he selected me and made me perform in front of everyone, and afterwards told me that I did a good job and that I could go home and eat ramyun. That was the turning point in my life when I knew I wanted to do this forever.

Theo: I always wanted to be a singer, but wasn’t sure I wanted to be an idol. But after watching a lot of idol concerts, I realized I wanted to be one, too.

“I definitely think it’s hard to be an artist and an entertainer at the same time. I want to be taken seriously as an artist and I worry that sometimes my humor might get in the way of that.”- Keeho. Photo: Courtesy of FNC Entertainment

Keeho, your name means ‘to excel big.’ It’s quite fitting for your personality since you happen to excel at so many different things at the same time; you bear the responsibilities of acting as P1Harmony’s leader, vocalist, translator, anecdote-sharer, mood-maker and so forth. What’s the one role you are the most comfortable with, and why?

Keeho: I don’t like any one of my roles. I don’t think you can ever be comfortable with the role you are given because they are given to you for a reason and it all comes with greater responsibilities. I think I’m always trying to be the best with my responsibilities and all the roles that are given to me, but I don’t think I can choose one because they are all equally important.

With over two million TikTok followers and over 630,000 Instagram followers, P1Harmony has quickly won over the hearts of fans across the world, and your outstanding performance skills are a pivotal factor for that. Over time, the group has grown to become one of the most prominent performance icons from the Fourth Generation of K-pop. With regards to this, what would you consider to be your USP? How are you unique from your contemporaries?

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Jiung: Our solid group dynamic and ability to fully engage with our audience and fans – exchanging energy and feeding off each other’s enthusiasm – is what makes our stage presence more special and outstanding.

Keeho: We are just that good! If you really want to see the difference, then come see our show! That’s the only way you will know.

When on stage, I tend to focus more on facial expressions, as I feel that it’s my strongest suit as a dancer. Likewise, what facet of stage presence is of utmost importance to the members? Is it choreography, vocals, facial expressions and storytelling, energy and charisma, engaging with the audience – or something else?

Theo: Live vocals.

Jiung: Charisma.

Jongseob: Eye contact and eye glazing.

Keeho: Confidence.

Soul: How much you can feel and understand the music.

Intak: Choreography.

Have you experienced performance anxiety? How do you deal with stage fright?

Keeho: I have major stage fright, and I still get super nervous every time I go on stage. I think it’s because I always want to be perfect and I don’t want to make any mistakes. I think it frightens me to think that people might perceive me wrongly. But the moment I go on stage, I get that rush of adrenaline and I enjoy every single moment of it.

“I want our fans to know that it’s okay to break out of the frame and be different.”- Theo. Photo: Courtesy of FNC Entertainment

Theo, as one of the three vocalists in a performance-heavy group, I’d like to ask you this: How do you manage to keep up consistency in terms of maintaining musicality with stability, while performing intricate, high-energy dance routines?

Theo
: Behind the stage or closed doors, I put in an immense amount of time and effort to maintain that kind of vocal stability and perfection while doing high-intensity performances.

Judging from the group’s hour-long dance-focused live sessions, and every music video having dedicated performance and choreography versions, it’s apparent that performance/choreography is something you all take seriously. However, I’d like to know how significant ‘choreography’ is to P1Harmony’s artistry, from the members themselves.

Theo: I don’t think it matters at all. I think we would be able to translate our energy and artistry with or without choreography.

Keeho: I don’t think we need to have a choreography routine for every single song or to be considered as amazing performers on stage. I think we would be able to show our uniqueness with or without choreography like Theo said, but it’s definitely an important part of our art and music. We take it seriously, because it’s another form of art and a crucial part of our onstage performance. Choreography is a visual aid and helps emphasize the message of our songs.

“Our solid group dynamic and ability to fully engage with our audience and fans – exchanging energy and feeding off each other’s enthusiasm – is what makes our stage presence more special and outstanding.”- Jiung. Photo: Courtesy of FNC Entertainment

Jiung, you have mentioned that you find the feeling of being on stage highly exhilarating. With this in mind, can you reflect on a stage performance where you were at your absolute happiest?

Jiung:  I felt absolute happiness during our last tour, when we performed “Follow Me,” because everyone in the audience stood up and jumped with us in perfect coordination, and that was very close to my goal of making my dream stage [appearance] where everyone [our members and fans] was truly enjoying that moment.

Can you highlight the key differences in preparing and shooting videos for music, performance and choreography versions to the same track? What do you tend to focus your energies on, for each of the above?

Jiung: For our music videos, it’s all about energy, so we put a lot of effort in highlighting our facial expressions, and exaggerating our movements. For our performances, it’s all about attitude! We tend to immerse ourselves deeply into the routine so our movements can help deliver the message of the song straight to the audience. For our choreography videos, we have to show all the details of the choreography, so we focus on making sure all our body movements, step coordinations, and formations are completely identical and in sync.

Tell us a little bit about the choreographing process for P1Harmony. Do members take part in adding touches of their own choreography for songs? I’m sure fans would love to know more about the creative process.

Intak: I was told to make a gesture movement [personal dance movement] for the intro part of “Bop” and I came up with this move of putting my thumbs up, and it ended up becoming an actual part of the choreography routine. 

Soul: Our choreography instructor told me to make a freestyle move, so I did, and that freestyle move ended up replacing the original routine.

Keeho: Soul is a freestyling genius!

Let’s discuss the iconic horror-themed Billie Eilish medley; it’s one of the many performance-based covers which we’ll be discussing today, which have been largely responsible for empowering P1Harmony to seize the mainstream, global audience’s attention. Were the members involved during the ideation/conceptualization of this set? If yes, how?

Keeho: We are always somewhat involved in anything related to our creative and visual projects. We had so many different ideas for the Billie Eilish medley, including the choreography routine, video concept, and visuals. There were a lot of last-minute changes so it wasn’t easy, but we had fun.

Can you all name a performance you’d like to see P1Harmony cover collectively as a group?

Jiung: Justin Bieber’s “Where Are You Now.”

Intak: EXO’s “Love Shot.”

Theo: Taeyang’s “Ringa Linga.”

Jongseob: GD and Taeyang’s “Good Boy.”

Keeho: NCT Dream’s “Glitch Mode.”

Soul: BIGBANG’s “Bang Bang Bang.”

For your K-pop cover dance medley, the members took turns performing as a group, and as sub-units for delivering outstanding renditions of power-packed choreographies from artists like BTS, Seventeen, Stray Kids, The Boyz, NCT 127, EXO’s Kai and SHINee’s Taemin. Thanks to the sublime execution, my eyes were legitimately glued to the screen for a solid four minutes and 30 seconds! Tell us more about this project. 

Jiung: We had practiced NCT 127’s “Simon Says” as trainees, and I was sort of bummed that we couldn’t share it with anyone, so I was super pleased and excited to have had the opportunity to make that into actual content.

Keeho: This is sort of TMI, but Intak was super into The Boyz at the time, so he contributed more than any one of us [for that cover].

As for the “Rainism” relay dance, I was quite blown away by the sheer grace and ease with which you all executed the highly advanced choreography. Currently standing at a noteworthy 4.5-million views mark on YouTube, what caught my eye about this performance, in particular, was how each ensemble in the assemblage nailed the song’s vibe and aesthetic. The depth and detail given to outfits, to help encapsulate the overall mood set by the performance, is something I’ve often noticed in P1Harmony’s music projects. Hence, to what extent do you believe that fashion and styling have the ability to impact an artist’s performance gradient? Also, how important are they as ingredients when it comes to P1Harmony’s recipe for performance?

Jongseob: I think stage outfits and styling are very important parts of the performance. They have an immediate and direct impact on how I feel. For example, if I feel confident with what I’m wearing, then I feel much more confident when I’m on stage, and that confidence helps me be more charismatic, while drawing audiences’ attention.

Jiung: I completely agree with Jongseob. My outfit defines everything I do, from the way I walk and feel to the way I perform. It makes a huge difference to how I’m going to express myself on stage and correlates with my attitude.

Keeho: For me, I love the visual aspect of everything that comes with our art and music. And I hope to be more involved in every creative process moving forward, from outfit ideation to the final look.

“Because I’m generally a positive person, I tend to channel and release my inner negativity through some of the performances, and that helps me cope with stress.”- Intak. Photo: Courtesy of FNC Entertainment

Intak, your ‘duality’ is quite noteworthy: off-stage you’ve got a warm and cheerful aura, while your on-stage persona embodies a powerhouse of sharp dance moves and captivating facial expressions. How do you tend to get ‘in the zone’ before a performance? 

Intak: I’m always ‘in the zone’ to perform! But because I’m generally a positive person, I tend to channel and release my inner negativity through some of the performances, and that helps me cope with stress.

Despite in-person performances and concerts being widely banned due to the onslaught of the global Covid-19 pandemic when the group made their debut, P1Harmony fought their way through all limitations and forged their unique artistic identities. As we know, the industry vastly thrives on interactions between artists and their fans, so we can only assume that your path of ascent was not free of challenges. What are the hardships that you faced, and how did you soldier on?

Theo:
It was difficult and it still is. I don’t think we have fully managed to overcome the hardships.

Keeho: Not being able to see our fans in person is always hard, but because it’s so hard, I think when we do see our fans in person, it makes it all the more special and precious. We really hope to have more occasions where we get to meet our fans in person.

Jiung: I got a lot of positive vibes and encouragement from our fans via their heartwarming letters in the early stages of the pandemic. I still sometimes exchange letters with my fans on social apps, and their sincerity and support really gives me the strength to overcome the difficulties of the pandemic.

Keeho: To be honest, I feel a bit restless and sad because I feel like I’m just wasting my time, my youth. Having all these limitations and restrictions – not being able to go out and experience new things is hard! I feel like I was 18 just a few days ago! Time just flew by.

What does ‘P1Harmony’ mean to each of you? 

Keeho: P1Harmony means family.

Theo: My second family.

Jiung: They make me a better person.

Intak: Besties.

Soul: My Korean family.

Jongseob: My hyungs [older brothers].

You established yourselves as performance icons right from the get-go with debut stage “Siren” on M Countdown back in 2020. From the complex stunts to the display of exceptional vocal and rap prowess, and the immaculate dance routine – representative of stellar teamwork and professionalism, it was a highly successful debut showcase in all aspects. How many hours did you all train [pre-debut] to attain this level of perfection even as rookies? What’s the ‘dream team’s’ secret to nailing such intricate, arduous dance routines with such apparent ease?

Intak: The key to attaining this level of perfection is time investment. I’m not sure if I can say exactly how many hours we spend on practicing, because it’s just long, grueling hours and hours of practice every single day. It’s honestly just nonstop practice until our mind and body have perfectly registered the movements.

Jiung: Practice until death. Ten hours a day on a regular basis, and sometimes even more on certain days.

Jongseob: I think we spend less time now that we have the ability to coordinate faster. All the hours we spent practicing together gave us the opportunity to know each other inside and out.

“There isn’t a single day where I don’t think about dancing or I don’t dance. Dance is my life and I feel the best when I’m dancing.”- Soul. Photo: Courtesy of FNC Entertainment

Soul, in a group of six remarkable performers, you’ve been ranked by the members as the one with the best dance skills. Does this tag ever put any additional pressure on you, or would you say you’ve eased into this role quite naturally?

Soul: I think excellence comes naturally for me, and I do not feel additional pressure when it comes to dancing!

So, let’s circle back to what Intak and Soul told me. You all help choreograph and conceptualize your videos, which helps in spotlighting the principle message that you wish to deliver via your music. Can you explain the main aim behind the incorporation of a soccer-inspired theme [and related elements] into your 2021 hit, “Scared?” Was there any underlying symbolism pertaining to P1Harmony’s own worldview?

Jiung: Conceptualizing around the idea and nature of football really helped spotlight the message of “Scared.” Football is a very intense and aggressive sport. There is a lot of collision and impact – which can be very dangerous – but the players fight through all that and race to make it to the end of the field no matter what. The intensity of the sport along with the bravery and fearlessness of the athletes is what we wanted to emphasize.

And as for “Do It Like This,” how was your experience partnering with American hip-hop dance crew The Lab for the music video? We got to witness some impressive freestyling skills in a teaser video for the track, and I’m positive that fans would love to get additional insight into the behind story.

Jiung: It was such an honor!

Keeho: We love them! They are crazy talented; it was a good learning experience and we bonded, so it’s an experience we value.

Intak: As an idol group, we practice relentlessly to make sure our dance movements are identical and are perfectly aligned, so when I saw how they dance with the same movements, but with their individual character, creative flair and energy, it was truly inspiring.

What would you consider as the most challenging piece of choreography you’ve had to perform till date [inclusive of your original songs and cover dances]?

Theo: “Siren.”

Jiung: “Siren.”

Intak: “Siren.”

Jongseob: “Before the Dawn (Track Video).”

Keeho: “BOP.”

Soul: “Siren.”

“The most important lesson I’ve learned is how to best prepare myself to really enjoy being on stage before going on stage.”- Jongseob. Photo: Courtesy of FNC Entertainment

Jongseob, besides being heavily involved in the group’s production process – you’re an excellent rapper and always write your own lyrics. The combination of ‘rap’ aka ‘rhythm’ and ‘poetry’ is something not many people this young have been able to master. Of course, writing rap lyrics in itself is no easy feat, as hip-hop and rap often stem from life, hardships and personal experiences. Hence, what’s your artistic vision for penning rap verses to P1Harmony’s tracks?

Jongseob: I usually get inspired by books/novels and if there is a MR/instrumental, then I listen to it repeatedly and ideas come naturally.

After a long, tiring day, packed with training and performances, how do you unwind and relax? Do you have any hobbies?

Keeho: I have started journaling. It helps me organize my thoughts and feelings. I really want to start painting soon!

Jiung: I make accessories with beads.

Jongseob: I take photos, and play games with Soul.

Soul: I play games with Jongseob.

Theo: I like to play games as well.

Intak: I read poems and go shopping.

Let’s move on to the praise-worthy acting performance we’ve seen in your debut sci-fi cinematic release P1Harmony: A New World Begins, where you play celestial beings who unite to save our planet from impending doom. I’ve heard that prior to the shooting of this movie, none of the members had any formal acting experience, nevertheless everyone delivered an incredible performance. Besides this feature film being first of its kind in the industry, it’s also been mentioned that the debut tracks of P1Harmony are produced in accordance with the prologue of this movie, and that all your future releases shall be aligned with the worldview of this film. Tell us more about the process, preparation, and ofcourse your reactions after watching the film.

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Jongseob: Our album cover for the Disharmony trilogy series was all based on each member’s superpowers revealed in the movie, and that concept will continue with our next album, so please look forward to it!

Jiung: I don’t remember when or what I felt when I saw the completed film, but I remember what it felt like to be on set, because it was my very first time being in that kind of environment. It was massive and I was so amazed and impressed by how much effort, labor, and time goes into creating a full-length movie. I was grateful for the opportunity.

Keeho: When I first saw the film, I was so embarrassed because I wasn’t confident of my Korean! But I feel like if I were to shoot it again, I would be a lot better now. I was also super excited to have met Yoo Jae Suk, because I’m a huge fan of “Running Man.” 

Keeho, you had once mentioned that one of your strongest personality traits is your positive mindset. As the leader of P1Harmony, you have additional responsibilities for spearheading and guiding the group in such a competitive, rapidly-evolving industry. How do you manage to stay optimistic when you are feeling the pressure? Is there any advice you’d like to share with your fans?

Keeho: I don’t think it’s possible to ever be completely optimistic and maintain a positive mindset through every single thing in life, and feeling the extra responsibility or burden to be optimistic at all times is already putting you in the wrong direction. It hasn’t been that long since I’ve been feeling this way, so I can’t give perfect advice, but I know that we are all chosen to play a certain role in life and to bear certain responsibilities for a reason. So, as long as you believe in yourself and trust your ability to pull through and try to stay positive despite setbacks and letdowns, it will be easier to stay optimistic. Being in a competitive industry can be draining, but I trust myself and that’s what keeps me going. I also feel like it’s very important to have good people around you so that you can express yourself and let go of pent-up emotions. Being optimistic and emotionally stable all the time is unrealistic and frankly, not possible. But I try!

Your uber-relatable sense of humor and unceasing supply of situational anecdotes have led to you earning the tag of a ‘Gen Z Icon.’ You’ve expressed an intent to break free from this ‘typecasting’ as it may overshadow your own artistic aspirations and achievements. Hence, how do you aim to differentiate and draw a clear line of distinction between Yoon Keeho as an entertainer, and Yoon Keeho as a serious musician? How do you balance the two roles out?

Keeho: I definitely think it’s hard to be an artist and an entertainer at the same time. I want to be taken seriously as an artist and I worry that sometimes my humor might get in the way of that. But now, I’m slowly letting go and trying to just go with the flow, because I can’t really stop people from finding me funny! When the time comes, I’m sure I will be able to show both sides simultaneously and comfortably, and find the way and balance for these two sides to co-exist.

Please paint a picture on the off-camera process for shooting Blackway and Black Caviar’s “What’s Up Danger.” Besides having to perform an extremely exhaustive routine in the middle of a desert with the sun beating down, what were the other challenges?

Keeho: Because it was in the desert, and we were in black outfits, I thought I was being roasted alive. It was very, very hot and the floor was uneven so there were some safety issues, but everyone was so encouraging and nice that it was a good experience overall.

Theo, you’ve mentioned that your happiest moments are always whenever you’re performing on stage. Do you have a most memorable stage experience, and why?

Theo: The most memorable stage for me is our first showcase. It was my first time standing on a stage, and a stage of that capacity. 

You’ve previously expressed your desire to be remembered as a person who knows how to enjoy and have fun on stage. It’s conventionally said that one has to be uniquely different from the rest, in order to stand out and leave an impact. Hence, is there an unconventional artistic path you’d like P1Harmony to explore, in terms of experimental concepts/music genres/dance forms?  

Theo: There isn’t anything experimental or unconventional I would like us to try, per se. But if there is anything or any genre that allows us to be free and have fun, I wouldn’t mind trying it at all!

You worked on the cover for BTS’s “Fire,”  alongside Intak and Jongseob. Can you tell us what went into pulling off such a challenging dance routine, and executing it to perfection?

Theo: The cover was set to be filmed during our promotion, and the schedule overlapped with our comeback. We were able to make it look good because we pulled an all-nighter for a couple of days. 

Jiung, you’ve mentioned that your ultimate life goal is attaining [inward] perfection. From what I’ve seen, your skills in vocals, rap and dance undoubtedly place you as an ace, hence attaining thatlevel of perfection which you speak of, both intrinsic and extrinsic, doesn’t seem too far-fetched at all! Tell me, what’s the one skill you feel is your strongest suit, and one area which you feel needs more work?

Jiung: I think my strongest suit is my precise/sharp and crystal clear voice, while my vibrato needs more work.

Your favorite phrase is ‘You are you and I am me.’ One interpretation of this could reflect the aspect of individuality in creating art. How does P1Harmony aim at staying unique and original with regards to their artistry, music and performances? Also, are there any other interpretations to this statement?

Jiung: I think it helps that we all listen to a lot of different songs and we share our playlists with each other all the time.

As the phrase ‘You are you and I am me’ implies, if I keep doing something I really like and enjoy, without comparing myself too much with others, I believe that eventually my distinctive musical colors and individuality will come to life and I will be able to set myself apart.

You absolutely nailed Ikon’s “Killing Me” solo cover! What was the behind-the-scenes process of preparing for this project like?

Jiung: I saw and studied the performance a lot, so it didn’t take me too long to memorize the choreography, but I tried to make the gesture in the rap part more personal and that was a fun experience.

Intak, besides being an excellent rapper and performer, you’re also one of the most involved members when it comes to song-writing and choreographing. You once mentioned that you had penned the lyrics to a certain track keeping its choreography in mind, and not the other way around – I found that technique to be really unusual and unique. Can you elaborate on your creative process, and what usually inspires you?

Intak: I get inspired by other people’s performances and lyrics. I watch a lot of live performances of rappers and study their rhymes. I tend to focus on their pronunciation and wordplay. And I also think about how I can translate that pronunciation or certain rhymes into dance performances.

I was absolutely floored by your rendition of “Mmmh” by EXO’s Kai, you really did justice to channeling Jongin’s energy for the song, while adding touches of your own self to it. I’d love to know more about the process behind executing this performance so wonderfully!

Intak: During practice, I watched Kai’s performance on repeat and separated the parts where I felt like I could take from him and the parts I thought I could make my own. I also adjusted some facial expressions and details.

Just the other day, I was watching your cover of NCT’s “Resonance,” a five-minute choreography where the performance is normally divided between 23 members. You undertook the massive feat solo and did an outstanding job! The energy and execution throughout was en-pointe. How challenging was this?

Intak: It was very difficult and one of the more challenging projects I’ve done. I worked alongside our camera director to make sure all the movements were showcased properly. I’m not sure if I pulled it off perfectly, but I am honored that people think it was flawless.

Soul, you’re excellent at choreographing, and have previously established how you don’t need to understand the language to appreciate the art; rather while dancing – you tend to channel whatever the tune makes you feel, and let your emotions gradually guide and shape each movement that you create. So, what’s your creative process when it comes to structuring choreographies for P1Harmony? Is it any different?

Soul: I just go with the flow and there aren’t any set methods. I tend to freestyle. 

Can you retrace the backstory of working on a cover of SHINee Taemin’s “Idea” with Jiung? As two of the most phenomenal dancers on the team, you both definitely did justice to Taemin’s powerful performance of the track.

Soul: While preparing, Jiung and I got along so well and it was easy to coordinate because we were both on the same page, and the process and communication was very clear. During the performance, the outfit was a bit small and my tummy showed a little bit.

We got to see and experience a display of your marvelous freestyling skills in your solo stage for the P1USTAGE H: PEACE tour. You’ve also displayed insane flexibility during the dance breaks for Rain’s “Rainism” and P1Harmony’s “Scared.” You’re extremely passionate about dancing and it shows! Can you comment on how you found your calling in dancing/performing, and the role dance plays in your life?

Soul: My dad showed me footage of a dance video performed by some foreigner and I was immediately intrigued. There isn’t a single day where I don’t think about dancing or I don’t dance. Dance is my life and I feel the best when I’m dancing. 

Jongseob, despite being so young, the youngest in this group as a matter of fact,  you’ve managed to achieve so much in such a short period of time. From being a trainee under YG Entertainment to winning K-pop Star 6, getting signed to the label as a member of the musical duo Boyfriend and finally, debuting in a trailblazing group like P1Harmony – at just 16 years of age, you’ve truly been a force to be reckoned with! What’s the most important lesson from the yesteryears that you now cherish and plan to carry forward with you into the future?

Jongseob: The most important lesson I’ve learned is how to best prepare myself to really enjoy being on stage before going on stage.

Now, let me just say that you’ve got outstanding stage presence! The performance that I’d like to discuss with you today is Taemin’s “Move.” The very first concept or image that one would associate with Taemin’s original performance and all its choreography covers are on the lines of sensual, dark and alluring – but in typical P1Harmony fashion, you all added your unique touch to the routine, opting to go with an endearing, more comedic rendition for the same. This was definitely a very unexpected and interesting choice. Please elaborate a little on this front.

Jongseob: While preparing for Taemin’s “Move,” we decided to split the first chorus and second chorus with the members, and were supposed to all come together at the second chorus. But it ended up being my solo shot and performance.  

We have to talk about the “Maniac” and “good 4 u” vocal covers. What stood out for me in this performance, was surprisingly enough, the addition of the Korean rap verses that blent in fluidly with the English ones. The rap verses genuinely fit the original records by Conan [Gray] and Olivia [Rodrigo] like missing puzzle pieces. Can you walk us through the behind-the-scenes process of penning such smooth and fitting verses for the song?

Jongseob: “Maniac” and “good 4 u” were already too popular, and writing the lyrics for songs that are famous is definitely hard and I felt a lot of pressure. I tried my best to monitor and listen to the original track as much as I could, and tried to differentiate the emotions between the vocal and rap parts.

Do you all have any words of advice to share with your younger selves?

Jiung: You are doing well, so don’t worry, and you are right. Trust yourself.

Keeho: Stop putting so much weight on yourself. You put too much pressure on yourself to be the best, but you are perfect the way you are.

Jongseob: Don’t be too harsh on yourself.

Soul: Less dancing and more playing.

Theo: Learn how to play the piano.

Intak: Just go play and enjoy life.

Tell us one personal and one professional goal you have set for yourselves in 2022.

Jongseob: Personal – to buy a professional camera and learn photography.
Professional – dome concert.

Jiung: Personal – personal studio with a sofa.
Professional – to get a brand endorsement.

Theo: My personal goal is to build more muscles and my professional goal is to attend award ceremonies or shows.

Keeho: Professional goal – to write and make more songs.
Personal goal – to be more satisfied and content with myself.

Intak: My professional goal is to win the number-one spot on a music program and personal goal is to collect more cool outfits.

Soul: My personal goal is to make a Minecraft server and my professional goal is to be a model for a brand.

What is P1Harmony currently working on? Are there any side projects or another album in the pipeline? Anything you can share with us right now?

Keeho: We had to stop in the middle of our tour, so we are planning to finish the rest of the tour in May with added dates in Atlanta, and we hope to come back as soon as possible with new music as soon as our tour is finished.

Finally, can we have a message for all of your Indian P1eces?

Jiung: For our next tour, we hope to go to India. We thank our fans for supporting us from afar and we will be there soon! 

Check out P1Harmony’s special message for their Indian fans:

Watch P1Harmony ft. Pink Sweat$ “Gotta Get Back” M/V below:

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