Somewhere near Times Square in October, P1Harmony are hanging out with PopCrush in their hotel suite, chatting over a box of egg tarts from a local New Jersey bakery.
The members of the group have been in the city for a week already, on a press tour that came as a surprise to many considering the travel restrictions of the pandemic. But if there’s one thing to know about the K-pop group’s U.S. press tour and activities, it’s that they’re not willing to back down.
Signed under FNC Entertainment in 2020, P1Harmony is composed of members Keeho, Theo, Jiung, Intak, Jongseob and Soul. For those curious, when breaking down the group’s name, the “P” stands for “plus”, the 1 stands for “one” and “Harmony” emphasizes the six-member ensemble’s unlimited abilities and talents.
After debuting last year in the midst of the pandemic, P1Harmony released their lead single “SIREN” off their first EP, Disharmony: Stand Out. The single was followed by “Scared” off the group’s second EP, Disharmony: Break Out, which was released this year.
Taking on dark and strong themes, from their music videos to the packaging of their albums, P1Harmony have made a loud arrival in the music scene. And yet, their duality shines through on softer, sensual b-sides such as “If You Call Me” and “AYAYA,” proving that as a unit, P1Harmony is no one-trick pony.
Below, we caught up with P1Harmony just weeks ahead from their one-year anniversary to get to know them better, celebrate their accomplishments and find out what’s to come in the new year.
What kind of group do you guys want to be known as?
Jiung: A team that is really just doing what they want to do [and] really takes control. And just, you know, has a lot of freedom. I think that’s our goal — just being able to express what we want to express.
Is there a specific message you guys have or a story within your music that you want to tell your fans?
Jiung: I feel like we can’t really say what we want to have our message be right now, but I feel like we can promise that whatever we’re feeling at that moment, at the time we’re making the music, that every single time that we feel something it’s going to be in our music. And we’re going to want to express that regardless of what it could be. The message and meaning can always change depending on what season we’re going through.
Did you find your signature sound yet, or are there any genres you want to explore?
Jiung: We still have such a long career ahead of us. We really want to experiment and try more genres until we find [that signature sound]. I don’t think we’ll ever settle for something.
If it’s not a genre, what kind of concepts would you like to explore? Because last time you guys had the football concept, right?
Keeho: I think we want to try band music. Like instrumental, real music sessions and stuff like that.
Intak: Electric guitar.
“If You Call Me” was the first track where everyone in the group was involved. What was that process like?
Keeho: God, it was hard. It was dreadfully hard. We thought about giving up because it was our first time ever tackling a genre like that. It was all of us working together, so everyone [had] opinions and stuff like that, especially [for the] pre-chorus and chorus.
It took us days to like, think of a melody. Just the melody! So yeah, I think we came to a point where it was like, “Maybe we should just [say] that we can’t do it.” And like, really? We were like, “No, we shouldn’t, this is an opportunity. We need to do our best.”
So we worked really hard. I remember me and Jiung were working on the chorus until 4 or 5 AM [in] just one day. And it came out. Thank God the hours didn’t go to waste. We worked really hard, but it was really fun though.
What was it like debuting and promoting in the midst of the pandemic?
Jiung: It’s such a shame. I’m very mad at Corona.
Keeho: Yeah, I mean, come on… We debuted expecting to perform in front of people. When we go back to L.A. and perform, I feel like that’s when we’ll feel like we actually debuted, because we’ll get to perform live on stage.
Jiung: I feel like we’re missing a piece of the puzzle as performers.
What were some of your highlights from this trip so far?
Jongseob: We went to Times Square at night and saw so many signs and billboards. New York at night is so beautiful. We went to a steakhouse and it was so good.
Intak: We went to Central Park yesterday and it was huge. There were a huge amount of squirrels.
Jongseob: And we saw a raccoon. The raccoon was eating pizza!
You guys are always one everyone’s FYP on TikTok…
Keeho: I’m honestly curious when people say that, because I’m never on my own TikTok FYP.
Because you’re the one posting it!
Keeho: I know, but still. I just feel like… I wanna know: In what way? How?
What are your favorite TikTok trends?
Keeho: I love a good transition. There’s one I want to do that I saw yesterday. Before this person had their whole glam on, they threw it up in the air and caught it and it was like, “Whoa!” So I’m going to try to do that one.
Intak: I really like TikTok dance trends. Yesterday, I recorded a TikTok dance to “Wild Side” by Normani. It’s the most fun one I’ve done!
Jiung: I really like the audio: “The killer is escaping!” That’s so funny
Jongseob: Instrumental covers of songs. I think it’s really cool and I wanna try some.
Keeho: And I feel like since Squid Game got so big, there’s the blinking game.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Jiung: I’m a rock star!
Intak: I wanna watch a movie.
Jongseob: How many times do you think the Earth has spun?
Soul: I have indigestion. I ate way too fast because [the egg tart] was so delicious.
Theo: I really like egg tarts.
Keeho: Shout out to Lai for the egg tarts!
Editor’s note: This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.