For two years, the multi-faceted vocals and methodical work ethic behind the K-pop boyband P1Harmony (@p1h_official) have earned the group the right to be known as buzz-worthy new artists. However, having officially survived a universally demanding time for any group, P1Harmony has finally closed its fresh-faced rookie chapter and is unequivocally prepared for its inevitable metamorphosis into something even greater. Because now is the time when their self-aware journey of artistry really begins.
From the earliest point of their concept-heavy releases, (Disharmony and Harmony) P1Harmony’s core sound has been respectfully entrenched in a combination of hip-hop, pop, and R&B roots, ultimately providing a balance of individuality and the recognition of artistic influences that has the power to establish an important standard for listeners. Within the group’s previous adept title tracks, they’ve regularly presented undiluted passion and potential for long-term greatness, though conversely, their highly underestimated b-side tracks have shown their loyal fans what P1Harmony is fully capable of inventing together outside of ‘mainstream’ pop music ideals – leaving the perfect amount of creative space to enhance their stunning display of talents during this tantalizing new phase. Still, as a result of the compounded genre sounds of former work “Doom Du Doom,” “Black Hole,” and even “If You Call Me,” (the song we’ll never stop raving about), this very tight-knit group has already captivated a core audience of millions up to this point. So as they dive deeper into the world of their new Harmony narrative, new and returning listeners have yet another refined chance to become fully engrossed in P1Harmony’s no-skip catalog of euphoric and evolutionary bliss.
On their infectious new single “Back Down,” the courageous group refuses to commit to anything shy of K-pop lavishness by stepping up their devotion to uncompromising title tracks and going hard. In the midst of the hype choreo-worthy track, P1Harmony lyrically expresses their all-rounder conviction with effortless precision that opens the door for even more greatness to follow. Across the Harmony: Set In album as a whole, the admirable group tangibly chooses to listen to their instincts during the creative process once more, and in turn, reveals that throughout the unavoidable chaos artists are poised to face – P1Harmony has acquired a very level-headed degree of experience on their very own noble industry journey.
After boldly giving the industry an irreplaceable addition to current pop music customs, the upgraded determination and relentlessness of P1Harmony is our primary focus as new Vanity Teen Magazine digital cover artists. And there’s a lot to discuss, so let’s dive right in!
When this story is published, you’ll have been together for two years — which is pretty crazy to think about! What would you say has been the biggest defining moment of your group’s evolutionary journey up to this point?
KEEHO: I felt our growth in exchanging energy on stage after the tour. It was our first time being overseas together for a long time, so we had to overcome everything together and had to go through a lot together.
THEO: Personally, I think the Abu Dhabi rehearsal was the biggest moment I felt our growth. The way we dealt with how to use the stage and sounds was a moment I felt we grew more professionally.
KEEHO: To add to THEO’s answer, we had lots of problems communicating with local staff in Abu Dhabi, and if we weren’t prepared, we could have been embarrassed and couldn’t have done the performance properly. Though we found a way to solve the problems on short notice and learned how to move quickly to organize the stage the best way. I felt that we were communicating well with each other at that time and we were able to cope well under pressure.
Conversely, what would you each say has been a more personally fulfilling aspect of your time with P1Harmony so far?
JIUNG: I think the most fulfilling aspect for me personally is when our fans show us positive good reactions to the songs I composed when they’re included in the album, or when it’s released as P1-Post.
JONGSEOB: Every time we prepare for a new album, I write lyrics and try to participate in the making process. So I do see the quality of my lyric writing getting better throughout the four albums and this is a very fulfilling aspect for me personally.
You’ve all been working really hard since debuting and have proven to be a group that’s heavily involved in the creative process too! Because of that rare hands-on approach to music, choreography, etc. what has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned about artistry?
KEEHO: I personally think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that I shouldn’t do it alone. We make so much more high-quality results when participating in music and choreography as a team. I know it isn’t easy to work as a team, but the biggest lesson I learned about participating in music is that we need to communicate with each other about things like which direction we want, and what we like and dislike, in order to get a more satisfying result.
Would you say that having that creative input from one another always meshes naturally and cohesively, or do you ever find yourself clashing over ideas? If there are hiccups, how do you typically manage to move forward and appease everyone?
JONGSEOB: I don’t really think that there are that many conflicts when working on songs released by P1-Post. We communicate a lot with each other by sharing opinions. Rather than conflicting opinions, we respect each other because each person has their own taste and different thoughts. Whenever we share opinions, we try to figure out how this is good or how we can supplement this and that. So I don’t think when I work with INTAK or JIUNG we have conflicts at all. We always talk about how our messages should be delivered and how the lyrics should be made. Then we choose words for lyrics and make them into a sentence and that’s how it’s done.
KEEHO: I feel like we shouldn’t be stubborn. I think the chemistry comes out well while talking and being considerate. Since we respect each other’s opinions, there is no conflict.
Jumping into your discography a bit, there are some all-around bangers — and whether it’s title tracks or b-sides, P1Harmony doesn’t miss! That being said, if you had to pick one song as the singular representative track for the group, what would you choose?
THEO: “Do It Like This” Because I think the song itself is the kind of music that I want P1Harmony to do in the future and fits best with us.
INTAK: I also choose “Do It Like This”. I agree with the thought that it matches us best, but also the meaning of the lyrics is the actual message we want to deliver. Such as, ‘let’s do anything we want and how we want.’
SOUL: I think “Do It Like This” as well. It is my personal favorite song, and I think the vibes and aura at the time were just right.
JONGSEOB: I think “Pyramid” is the singular representative track for P1Harmony. Because I feel that we pull off the vibe of the song when seeing the performance and it shows the ability of every member to the highest.
KEEHO: I choose “Pyramid” as well. We did it as an intro performance during our tour and I think if you hear the first melody of the song, it makes me think ‘Oh, this is P1Harmony’. I feel that we expressed the song well.
JIUNG: “Do It Like This.” I think it’s the song that matches best with the direction P1Harmony wants to pursue music-wise. Also, the song has the right amount of excitement you can feel when enjoying music.
As of mid-2022, we officially departed from the Disharmony era and entered the age of Harmony. Whether sonically or creatively, how would you differentiate the two album themes you’ve introduced so far?
JONGSEOB: Musically, the overall atmosphere, melody, and sound became softer and brighter. Also, the way P1Harmony express the lyrics has changed a lot. In the previous Disharmony series, the lyrics in the music were much more straightforward and strong. Controversy, in the Harmony series, we tried to express a more positive atmosphere and content. Personally, I’ve tried to make it more rhythmic for “Swagger” or “Black Hole” compared to the Disharmony series.
With choreography, you’re always managing to keep things exciting and fresh (like the “Black Hole” performance video which is probably my personal favorite). Considering that constant display of courage, who is the biggest daredevil when it comes to pushing physical limitations in dance — and how integral is choreography to the group’s day-to-day lives?
SOUL: I think a song could sound much better when you see the performance. On the other hand, when the choreography is weak, the song could sound bad as well. So I think that the connection with the song and choreography is important.
Clearly, chart placement and sales shouldn’t be the purpose of artistry by any means, but it does play a big factor in the development of trends in the industry too. Thankfully, you’ve been able to succeed across the board with engrossing music that’s very unique to P1Harmony. What (if any) weight do you put on those commercial aspirations?
JONGSEOB: When writing lyrics, I don’t really pay attention to chart records. For us, there is no such thing as changing the lyrics so that the album could get sold more, and changing the lyrics so that it can get good grades in the chart placements. In the making process, we’re just trying to make the music as best as possible and disregard charts. I think it won’t ever matter to our values or music performance in the future as well. We can [sometimes] choose the title song considering the public, though it doesn’t have any influence when writing lyrics or our practice.
KEEHO: First of all, we have to like it. We have to choose what we are confident about when we’re on stage, and after that, we hope the public and fans will like it. Rather than choosing songs that others will like in the first place, we practice the music we like enough for fans to like it.
For your next album, what specific themes would you say this chapter entails and did the process lead to an idea about where things could go next?
JIUNG: I think the biggest theme of this album is ‘friendship’. After creating a new world called ‘Plus World’, the incidents that happen while we make new rules and open new paths, and how we grow friendships within those incidents is what we are talking about in the new Harmony album. I feel like this is what we will talk about in the future Harmony series as well.
I just previewed “Back Down”, and my first thought was, ‘Just when I feel like I have a new favorite P1Harmony track, they find a way to raise the stakes!’ That sentiment appears to be shared by several fans too – so what would you say is the most important component of releasing a worthy follow-up single?
INTAK: We do hope to show better music, but I think the most important thing we’re trying to show is how new/different it is. What other vibes and colors could be different from the previous album? Even if the song isn’t that different, I personally try to change the rapping tone or rap-making to show something we have never shown before. I want people to think ‘oh, he tried to change vibes and tone style this way in this song.’ So to me, I think I want to show something ‘new’ to the audience every time a new album releases.
How, if at all, would you say that your recent US tour, live appearances, collaborations, and additional overseas promotional activities over the course of 2022 have changed the group as a whole? Being in another country and pursuing music is obviously a little different from the day-to-day domestic promotions you’re potentially accustomed to!
JONGSEOB: When we were in Korea after our debut, we didn’t have many chances to be on stage because of the pandemic. However, the COVID regulations abroad were lifted faster than in Korea, and I feel we got to do a lot of performances while traveling around the U.S. and other countries. We learned a lot from meeting various audiences and stages that we couldn’t experience in Korea such as different stage manners, styles, dance moves, or T-shaped stages. So I feel like we grew as a performer while performing in different ways with the same songs.
SOUL: Personally, I was able to enjoy the freedom of the stage as an individual as well. We have some times that we are not together on one stage, but even then I feel that now I can have fun with fans on our own.
Lastly, what would you each say is something that you’re most satisfied with when it comes to your individual contributions to the new chapter of the Harmony series?
INTAK: I participated in the choreography of the song “Black Hole” when I started the Harmony series. Although it’s a small part, it’s an honor and fun experience to compose the parts I made with the dancers or make a picture with the members. I want to participate in the making process of the Harmony series and give a feeling of performance that I can give. I felt proud and I want to challenge myself more in that area.
JIUNG: I tend to sing songs that are relatively brighter. I think my vocals fit better with bright songs, so I think it was an opportunity to make my vocals livelier.
KEEHO: Whenever a new series or album comes out, I want to show how much I’ve changed and grown. It is still in the working process, but I’m thinking about how I can overcome my vocal limitations and show a new side of myself in the Harmony series. So I think I’ll be able to be more satisfied with the Harmony series later on.
JONGSEOB: Coming into the Harmony series, I think I’ve grown up in the way of using new rhythms. Specifically, and personally, I was satisfied with the first verse of “Swagger”, and the verse of “Black Hole” because they show the actual colors of the title or tracks.
SOUL: It was satisfying at first when doing freestyle on stage, but if I do the same moves the same time, the satisfaction and fun decrease as well. So I’m trying to find something new every time.
THEO: I’m happy and satisfied because there are more things we are capable to do on stage.