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SPOTLIGHT: What does it take to be the PPOP monsters for VXON? 

by Joshua Gerona

GROWING up with fairytale stories taught us what a monster is—a villain creature often portrayed as bad, ugly, dangerous, and frightening. But being a monster could also mean one thing: giving your one hundred percent best on the stage. 

This is what VXON has always wanted to be perceived as a group when they seized hold of the label “The Monsters of Philippine Pop.” 

Composed of C13, Franz, Vince, Sam, and Patrick, the Cornerstone Entertainment boy group debuted last 2022 with their debut single, “The Beast,” telling the world to unleash their power by believing in themselves. 

With the recent release of their debut album, “20:20,” the quintet set out to redefine what it really means to be a monster in the fast-expanding P-Pop industry. 

In an exclusive interview with republicasia, VXON looked back to their humble beginnings and shared their collective dreams in the local music scene. 

Becoming ‘monsters’

What does it really take for the monsters of PPOP to live up to its name? 

For C13, living up to the group’s moniker requires all the members to always give their best when performing on stage regardless of the circumstances. 

In fact, the moniker is somewhat related to VXON as the “ON” means switching on your “inner beast,” which means giving your one hundred percent in every performance. 

But being a monster is not always aiming for perfection. It is what their debut album wanted to deliver to the public and their fans, collectively known as Vixies. 

“Since nilabas po namin ‘yung newest album po namin na ‘20:20,’ ‘yung monsters po doon pwede rin po namin i-relate [na] parang dealing with inner monsters, ‘yung parang imperfections po. Hindi lang porket monsters, laging may pinapatunayan. Being a monster is also dealing with your inner problems,” Franz said. 

Vince and C13 further explained that each member also has their own vulnerabilities and soft spots like everyone else despite always being fierce on stage. 

“‘Pag pinakinggan niyo yung album, madadama niyo doon na may pinagdadaanan din kami, na normal people din kami, na somewhat gusto namin iparating sa listeners na we’re the same as you,” C13 shared. 

When asked what has changed in the group since their debut in 2022, VXON said that years of struggling and being together helped them establish their “inner beast” or talents. 

For instance, C13 revealed that the group no longer sticks to their official position as they discovered the hidden talents of each member through years of living together. 

“Na-discover [kase] namin na ‘oh kaya niya pala kumanta, kaya niya pala sumayaw, nage-excel pala siya dito,” he said. 

Vince also added that they also become comfortable with expressing their individual styles in terms of dancing and writing songs. 

But while having unique personalities may hamper group cohesion for many people, the group believed otherwise. 

“‘Yung differences namin nagiging parang strength din namin. Kumbaga ‘yung diversity po namin, it works. Nagdya-jive ‘yung differences and ‘yung mga contrasts po namin,” Franz said. 

Although the group admitted that they struggled first in balancing group harmony and individual qualities in the groupwhen they were just starting as a group. 

“Si Patrick OA. Si Vince very nonchalant lang ganyan tapos si C13 sobrang alam mo ‘yung matured. Si Sam po parang sobrang organized and strong personality. Ako po nonchalant lang. Noong una po talaga parang magki-click ba kami, magdya-jive ba kami,” Franz shared. 

Yet growing up together made VXON even more connected personally, especially during the pandemic. And their secret to growing stronger as a group is open communication. 

“Doon kasi namin naiiwasan ‘yung mga conflicts, mga big challenges na kapag kunyari may nagtampuhan, may nag-away, we make sure na hindi siya tatagal,” C13 said. 

As monsters of P-pop, VXON said that all of them still have a long way to go and that they are still improving and learning but they promise to continue producing quality music in the future. 

“Ngayon po siguro marami pa po kaming pwedeng ipakita pa and i-prove pa as a group and excited po kami kasi nagsisimula pa lang tayo, papunta pa lang tayo sa exciting part,” Franz said teasingly. 

Championing ‘kalye music’ 

When the group entered the local music scene, one of the music genres they ventured into was EDM or electronic dance music. This can be observed in the group’s debut single. 

After two years in the industry, however, a significant shift occurred in the group’s musicality when they released “20:20.” VXON decided to take the musical path of ‘kalye music.’ 

The group said that they want to be known as one of the pioneers of kalye music in the P-pop industry. 

“As a P-pop group in the Philippines, parang gusto po namin i-staple ‘yung style na ‘yun na kapag ganitong music style, it’s VXON,” Franz said. 

But why kalye music? 

Patrick said that all of the members were very fond of hip hop and kalye music even before VXON was created. The members have been long-time listeners of Skusta Clee, Al James, MC Einstein, and Flow G, among many others.

In short, the decision of VXON to shift to kalye music is the group’s desire to finally go back to their musical roots. 

Sam further added that what also pushed the group to pursue the genre is because they want their music to be part of people’s everyday stories like how Eraserheads and Parokya ni Edgar have cemented their songs in the hearts of Filipino people.  

“Gusto namin marinig sa jeep ‘yung mga tugtog namin tapos maging part ng story ng buhay ng isang tao. Kunyare malungkot sya, nasa jeep or nasa isang gilid tapos narinig niya ‘yung sound namin. Naging parte kami ng istorya ng buhay nya,” he said. 

Every time the group heard other people singing their songs in the street, grocery store, at the gym, on social media, or even on the premises of schools, they felt validated and grateful as they were finally starting to realize their music goal. 

Patrick even shared a story where he heard someone repeatedly singing “SSP” in the gym while he was doing workouts, which made him very happy. 

Although the group aims to highlight kalye music in their discography, they also reiterated that they are still open to venturing into other music genres, such as R&B. 

Future of P-pop 

As a rising P-pop group, VXON makes sure that their music is always relatable to the youth. 

Relatability, however, goes beyond capturing the lived experiences of the younger generation in terms of heartbreaks and falling in love as observed in VXON songs. 

For Franz, it is also important that they bring awareness of social issues to the public discourse. VXON has been known to be a firm advocate of accessible education. 

They believe that education is a right that should be enjoyed by everyone. The group also wishes to tackle human rights and mental health in their future songs. 

When asked how they visualize the future of P-pop with their songs, the group wanted to be one of the “footprints of P-pop” someday. 

“‘Pag sinabing P-pop, kasama ‘yung VXON diyan. Alam mo ‘yun na parang wow P-pop, kasama [lagi] ‘yung VXON, laging nasasama sa list,” Franz said. 

Meanwhile, C13 hopes that the P-pop industry will become a significant contributor to the Philippine economy in the future. 

He said that the industry has a big potential to boost Philippine entertainment, music, and tourism in the global market. 

He also underscored the need for P-pop to be more diverse in terms of music styles and genres to prevent having ‘musical stereotypes.’

As for their music, VXON vows to continue exploring and experimenting with their discography. One of their missions is to further incorporate “elements of Filipino values” into their songs. 

Greatest lessons

More than two years of being in the local music scene has taught each member some great life lessons. 

For Franz, patience is really important in success. 

“Magti-three years na kami… naiinip na kami kasi parang may nangyayari ba? Ano bang patutungahan nitong group na ‘to? Nagkaroon na kami ng mga questions na ganoon before and up until now. And siguro ‘yung patience sa isa’t isa, ‘yung patience sa career, ‘yun ‘yung nakatulong talaga samin to keep going on and to continue what we are doing.” 

Vince, on the other hand, underscored the importance of having faith in yourself for you can only achieve things in life if you dare to pursue that. 

Meanwhile, C13 shared that following your heart and taking initiative in life is necessary if you want to succeed. 

For Sam, it’s all about consistency. He said that being consistent in doing things, such as dancing or performing, will have a compounding effect on achieving your goals. 

Lastly, Patrick encouraged artists to never get tired of producing songs regardless if they become popular or not. 

What’s next for VXON? 

According to the group, they are currently working on a song with a certain artist as part of the Himig Handog competition. The song is set to be released within this year. 

“Abangan niyo po ‘yan [kase] very unexpected from us kasi hindi mo aakalaing it’s a VXON song.” 

The group also said that they are planning to release “something” by the end of the year and that they are just finding the right timing and strategy for its release. 

VXON is currently promoting their debut album “20:20.” The album is currently available on major music streaming platforms, such as Apple Music and Spotify.  

This article is part of the April RA Spotlight. Follow republicasia on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get the latest.

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