For a Thai pop group who just made their debut, the five members of Perses appeared like your typical boys next door — dressed in casual jackets and jeans with minimal makeup.
But for more than two years, Jung, Nay, Krittin, Palm and Pluggy trained like K-pop trainees, keeping to a strict schedule of vocal and dance lessons, and for one member, even practising smiling.
Perses is formed by GNest, an entertainment agency under GMM, Thailand’s biggest media and events company. They released their first single My Time on Sept 28 and their second song Touchdown on Nov 23.
AsiaOne sat down with the rookie boy band earlier this month when they were in Singapore for music promotions. Oldest member Jung and 19-year-old vocalist Pluggy were the most proficient in English and helped translate for their bandmates.
Jung, who is also the group’s main rapper, told AsiaOne that they did around six hours of training daily.
The 25-year-old gave a rundown of each day: “If we had dance practice, we would be in class for two hours to learn the foundations of the dance piece, and after that we’d prepare for the event or show we were doing.
“We also had vocal lessons for an hour-and-a-half and we repeated that every day.”
Pluggy, the maknae (youngest member in Korean), added: “We would have a performance test every month and, every three months, we had an elimination test.”
Some of them even got extra lessons. Twenty-four-year-old Nay, the ‘visual’ in Perses, said in English: “I had to attend solo classes by myself with the teacher, those days were really tiring. But I think it was a way for me to improve myself.”
Pluggy added: “So we could all be equal in our performance skills.”
It’s not all dancing and singing skills they had to work on, because lead vocalist Krittin said that he had to practise smiling more often because he had a “resting b**** face” — which Pluggy was hesitant to translate — and he didn’t want to give off the appearance of being unfriendly.
When asked about what they had to give up, the 23-year-old added: “Trips, holidays and trips — and probably living a normal life as a teenager.”
Main dancer Palm, 19, had difficulties for a different reason — according to his bandmates at least — because he had a 10pm bedtime but they would only finish training at 11pm.
“After getting back to our dormitory, I like to have some me-time,” Palm said. “But we return so late and I have to sleep immediately so I can wake up on time for my schedule the next day.”
Pluggy was still in high school when he became a trainee, and saw his friends hanging out every day through their Instagram posts. On the other hand, he had to rush to the record label to train after school each day.
By the time he became a trainee, Jung was already an engineering graduate. He said: “Most of my friends were going on long vacations to other countries or getting jobs, but I was starting from zero as a trainee.”
With their strong vocals and perfectly-synchronised dance moves, the comparisons to K-pop groups aren’t unfounded. They even worked with South Korean music production company Jam Factory, masterminds behind singles by K-pop stars like NCT, Itzy and Got7.
“We learnt so much from Jam Factory,” Jung said. “From learning how they work, the settings and production process they use, to the workflow they have envisioned.”
Pluggy chimed in with praise for their group’s leader: “Jung was like our producer because he was the one who talked to Jam Factory all the time. He was our mouth — we’d discuss together and tell Jung, and Jung would speak to Jam Factory for us.”
Despite the sacrifices, the group is aware of how fortunate they are to be in their position, and wouldn’t give it up for anything.
“We can still have fun any time, but we must set aside time for practice,” Krittin mused. “All the hardships and struggles are worth it because being pop idols is what all of us want, and it’s not a typical experience for everyone.”
Pluggy added: “We have so much time in our lives and we can be happier in the future. But right now, not many people are gonna have this chance, to be where we are right now.
“So I think it’s quite worth it since we’ve come so far.”
For the full interview including Perses spilling secrets about each other, watch our latest episode of E-Junkies.
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