Before they were known as “Press Hit Play,” the P-Pop group was called “PHP”in 2019 to attribute Philippine music. But later in 2020, the boy band announced a new name still maintaining the acronym “PHP” but emerging now as “Press Hit Play.” Lead vocalist Chrls said the reason behind this decision is they wanted to take the group “to a higher level.”
“‘Yung name na PHP, ‘yung acronym is parang… ni-re-represent namin talaga is ‘yung Philippines so ‘yung PHP parang currency ng Pilipinas,” the lead vocalist added.
Chrls clarifies that PRESS. HIT. PLAY means creating songs that makes listeners undergo a case of “LSS”: Last song syndrome. “‘Once you press this hit song, it will always play on your mind,’ so kinuha namin’ yung mga taglines na yon sa PRESS, HIT, PLAY,” he said.
Before PHP existed, the band members were in different “groups” and doing their own individual pursuits until they decided to work together as a band, without holding any auditions.
Chrls explained, “We decided to form the group, bale wala kasing audition na nangyari sa amin, talagang magkaka-kilala kami na pinush namin ‘yung mga pangarap namin, [at] pinili naming makasama ang bawat isa.”
Forming the band was easier than expected since camaraderie is not an issue. They already knew each other since 2015 and have been friends since then.
Lead dancer JP shared that they originally started as a “cover group” in KPOP events. But throughout, their influences are starting to form from KPOP, OPM, and some Western music. JP added that they are all collectively into 90s boy bands. They used all of these influences and made their own songs, reeling away from the label of “cover group.”
As of writing, Press Hit Play has now seven songs available in all music-streaming platforms. Although “WIN” remains their most-streamed song of all time with over 219,000 streams, their current number one song on Spotify is “Tell Me,” which now has over 156,000 streams. Their latest single, “Forever Young” has more than 21,000 streams as of this writing.
Chrls revealed that most of their songs are about their individual lives, and they chose to do this because they believe that it’s what people could mostly relate to. He reflects, “Most of it is galing sa amin or sa stories din namin na alam namin na ‘yung ibang mga tao ay naranasan din ‘yon.”
Before they were PHP
As mentioned, each member had their own individual pursuits before forming as a band.
Main vocalist Sev shared that music has always been a part of his life since high school, influenced heavily by the KPOP genre. He originally wanted to be a part of a KPOP group, but knowing the odds, he opted to compete in KPOP singing competition instead. Not until P-Pop existed, and his life changed since.
Like Sev, Chrls also was very much into music at a young age. But instead of KPOP, he was more into 90s boy bands like Backstreet Boys and NSYNC. He had just got into pop music later on, when KPOP hit the music landscape.
Meanwhile, JP’s music journey was a bit different than his bandmates. He was originally a cultural performer, classically trained in theater plays and choirs. But when he discovered KPOP, he started exploring beyond the music he was familiar with and was able to love it.
“Since naging favorite ko that time yung KPOP, ayon nangarap ako maging isang member ng boy group,” JP said.
JP’s creativity also comes with rap music, so the band assigned him as the go-to man should they want to add rap to their songs.
But every P-Pop group won’t be complete with no dance, right? Enter Yuuki, Press Hit Play’s main dancer and also in-charge of the band’s choreography. Although his background in music is not as wide as his bandmates, Yuuki’s presence completes the band with their dance moves.
Reflecting on how far he has come, Yuuki enthused, “From simula talaga hanggang ngayon, dancing pa rin talaga ‘yung main na nagdala sa akin sa kung nasaan ako ngayon.”
Enthusiastic about their journey as a band, Sev reflects, “Sobrang saya namin kasi magkakaroon na ng… opportunities para sa mga taong nangarap na gaya namin [who] once dreamt na maging member ng isang boy group… pero ngayon parang possible na siya para sa mga taong susunod na mga henerasyon na nangangarap na magkaroon ng ganito.”
“We are very blessed and honored din na isa kami sa mga sumunod sa mga nauna and also masaya po kami na naging inspirasyon din kami ng mga kabataan,” Sev expressed. (With interview by Edwin P. Sallan)