P-POP fans, especially ForOne, know 1st.One as an all-male group that officially debuted in the local music industry in July 2020 under Seoul-based talent management firm FirstOne Entertainment.
The rising P-pop group is composed of six members–Ace, Max, Alpha, Joker, J, and Jayson–who underwent individual training in South Korea before they were launched as a group behind the bop song “You Are The One (Ttak Maja Nuh).”
Since their debut, 1st.One members continue to make a name for themselves with subsequent music releases “Oh,” “Shout Out,” “Turn Up,” “Problem Child,” and “DITO,” which have amassed thousands of views online and caught the attention of music lovers.
The public has seen how talented and in-sync the members are onstage but their chemistry as a group offstage is something that their fans, collectively known as ForOne, really adore about 1st.One. This is what republicasia witnessed when the P-pop idols shared several fun–which turned out to be funny, at some point–facts about them.
Ace feels like a “superhero” with 1st.One
Before debuting in 1st.One, Ace–the group’s leader and main vocalist–was launched as a solo singer in the Philippines. In 2015, he released the song “Blow The Night Away” under his real name Val John. This was followed by “Ikaw Pa Rin” in 2017 and “Giliw” in 2018, both under ABS-CBN’s record label Star Music.
When one has more experience than the other, it is usually the latter who acquires knowledge from the former. But it was a different case for Ace and his co-members.
While he incorporates his past experiences as a solo artist, Ace told republicasia that he learned more from the other five members.
“I think mas nafi-feel ko pa nga na natuto ako sa group kesa–of course may naibibigay ako from my solo experience to the group pero more of the group allowing me to evolve and to grow,” he said.
If Ace were to choose between being a solo artist or being part of a group, he preferred to be with his team as they are also his support system. For Ace, performing with them onstage gives him more confidence.
“Actually, for me, mas gusto ko yung group activities kesa [sa] nagso-solo ako before kasi parang mas feeling ko parang akong superhero ‘pag kasama ko sila sa stage,” said the singer.
“‘Pag mag-isa ako parang okay lang naman kasi you’ll always have to exude that confidence when you perform, pero pag anim kami parang ako si Son Goku,” he explained, referring to the male protagonist in the popular Japanese “Dragon Ball” anime series.
Ace said that each of 1st.One’s members has “very unique” and “strong” individualities that make their chemistry as a group go off the roof. This is evident by how they support each other especially when they have to fill in for a member’s absence during a performance.
“Nagkaroon na kasi ng times na kulang-kulang din kami. Nagka-[performance] kami na lima kami kasi after this set of concerts noong 2022, may nagka-COVID so may isang hindi makakapag-perform,” he recalled.
He continued, “Mafi-feel mo yung empty spot syempre, of course gagawin ng bawat member yung best nila para saluhin yung spot na yun.”
Forming a new sub-unit
Before 1st.One, there was a group called VJBros, a dance cover group composed of Ace, Alpha, Max and Joker.
In September 2019, the group participated in the 28th Philippine-Korea Cultural Exchange Festival where they did a dance cover of songs by K-pop boy group EXO. In the same year, they won at the Seoul Music Awards PH “Dance To Your Seoul,” where part of their prize was to perform as an opening act at the Seoul Music Awards in 2020, which was attended by well-known K-pop groups.
Debuting as 1st.One, the members later formed other sub-units such as Team GIPO and Team JAM. Sub-unit is a small unit formed from a larger group.
Team GIPO is composed of Ace, J, and Joker, while Team JAM consists of Jayson, Alpha, and Max.
But Ace revealed that 1st.One is set to launch a new sub-unit.
Asked if there would be a chance that he would join forces once again with Alpha, Max and Joker as another unit of 1st.One, the leader teased about a possible reunion of the group, but that it would no longer be called VJBros.
“Hindi siguro as VJBros, ibang name,” he said. “Magkakaroon din ng… basta hindi VJBros.”
As to when it will be launched, fans would have to wait as the P-pop group “rebrands” this year.
“Oh” and “Turn Up” are Max’s favorite 1st.One songs
1st.One has produced numerous songs since their debut over three years ago. Each member took part in the process of producing their songs such as “Oh,” “Oras,” and “Turn Up.”
But among these tracks, Max said that his favorites were “Oh” and “Turn Up,” which was released in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
“Oh” is a song that tells listeners to be unafraid to take a leap of faith and pursue their dreams, while “Turn Up” talks about not giving up on whatever goals they have in life.
“Oh” specifically holds a special place in Max’s heart because the song reflects the group’s struggles of debuting and promoting at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic that paused most industries, including the entertainment scene.
“Yung ‘Oh’ po it talks about our struggles and hardships during the pandemic, so medyo mahirap po talaga nung time na ‘yun,” said Max.
The 2021 single could have been 1st.One’s last song, he said.
“Yung ‘Oh’ din po yun po yung kanta namin na parang tinuturing namin siyang dapat last song namin kasi malapit na po kami mag-disband nung time na yun. Parang yun na po yung last hurrah dapat,” revealed Max.
Thankfully, the six members did not let go of their dreams to be P-pop idols and continued inspiring more people with their songs.
“Lumaban kami, ayun po, nandito po kami, thankful pa rin kami. Sobrang thankful kami sa fans namin never silang nawala sa tabi namin,” said Max.
Alpha’s dishes inspired by members
Alpha unleashed his hilarious side when he was asked about his interest in cooking. He shared with republicasia the dishes inspired by his co-members that he would make if he would be given an opportunity to open a restaurant.
According to the rapper, he would call a dish inspired by J as “Jonlymeat,” a portmanteau of the name “J” and the words “only meat.”
“Si J kasi mahilig siya sa karne, sa meat. No veggies yan, ano yan eh, carnivore,” said Alpha, eliciting laughter from his co-members.
“Dahil mahilig siya sa meat and pizza, bibigyan kita ng… pangalan ng dish mo ha? ‘Jonlymeat’ kasi J, only meat, ‘Jonlymeat,’ ‘di ba? Tawa naman kayo,” he told his members.
Since Max loves to eat squash, Alpha said he would name the dish dedicated to the group’s main vocalist “Pumpkin Spitfire.”
“Bakit ‘Spitfire?’ Kasi si Max, mahilig ‘yan sa maanghang, so lalagyan natin ng twist yung ginataang kalabasa,” he explained.
Alpha said he would offer a chicken dish, inspired by Joker, which he would call “Chicken Chest.”
“Since mahilig siya mag-gym at mahilig siya sa protein, syempre, parang nakikita ko lagi siyang kumakain [ng] chicken breast. So simple lang ipapangalan ko sa dish para sa kanya, it’s simply ‘Chicken Chest.’ Bakit? Mahilig siya sa chest day eh,” he said.
For Ace, Alpha combined their leader’s love for beef steak and his mannerism of incorporating “Zs” ‘in his messages to the group. This is why Alpha said he would prepare a dish called “Beef Steakzzz.”
“Mahilig si Leader-nim sa mapaminta eh. So, lagi ko nakikitang baon niyan dati is beef steak. Eh minsan pag nagta-type ‘yan, laging may ‘Z.’ ‘Pag nakikita niyo yung gc (group chat), puro ‘Z,’ signature ‘yon,” he shared.
Jayson is a fan of chicken wings. Alpha said that if he would make a dish inspired by their youngest member, he would name it “Chicken Lee,” a combination of the word “chicken” and Jayson’s surname.
“Mahilig ‘to guys sa chicken wings. As in talagang kulang na lang kung yung buto may laman, ngangatngatin niya pa ‘yon,” he said.
As for him, Alpha said he would make a pasta dish with a name inspired by the popular film and book series “Harry Potter.”
“Favorite ko is pasta. So sa’kin, dahil gusto ko siya i-incorporate sa Harry Potter, gusto ko ipapangalan ko sa dish ko ay ‘Pesto-Patronum,’” he said. The name was derived from “pesto” and from one of the famous and powerful spells in the movie known as “Expecto Patronum.”
J wants to explore more string instruments
Aside from singing and dancing, J is also talented when it comes to playing harmonica and electric guitar.
If he would try another musical instrument, J said he wants to explore those with strings.
“Gusto ko po talagang i-try yung mga nasa strings po. So more on bass guitar and then, electric guitar,” said the rapper.
Joker made a song about chickens
Some of the talents that Joker specializes in are dance coaching, rapping, and composing music. But among these, the vocalist said he enjoyed composing songs the most as it’s more challenging.
He shared that he even made a song about chickens, which he composed prior to the interview. The title of the song is “Chicken Bars,” he said.
Joker even sang the song, with the lyrics, “‘Pag gising sa umaga, ulam ko’y tinola. Anong hawak mo pa? Ay manok pala, Ahaha~ Tayo’y mag-kokorok kok.”
The members, meanwhile, couldn’t hold their laughter as soon as they heard Joker singing his newly composed song.
“Ano sabi ko kanina? Nacha-challenge pa ‘ko ‘di ba? Di ko naman sinabing magaling ako ah,” he said, defending his “Chicken Bars” piece.
Max, on the other hand, reminded him to “trust the process.”
La Union is next on Jayson’s travel list
Jayson was once a travel organizer who visited various places in the country, including his hometown Dingalan, Aurora. He suggested several places in Dingalan that tourists could add in their itinerary, including a place called “Batanes of the East.”
“‘Pag pumunta kayo dun, sobrang ganda. meron din kaming white beach dun,” he said.
The youngest member stressed that it would be a very good option for tourists to visit his hometown.
But the travel organizer also has a place that he wants to tick off from his list, and that is La Union.
“I think sa lahat ng mga na-organize ko na tours, I think yung LU (La Union). Hindi pa ako nakapunta ng LU eh,” said Jayson.