BGYO Bagyo! A P-Pop Force To Be Reckoned With

Bagyo (noun, Tagalog.): storm. It's perhaps fitting that only one letter should separate the word bagyo and the name of P-Pop group BGYO, as they're set to cause more than a stir worldwide with their brand new album Be Us. The five-member group sit down with &ASIAN.
BGYO for 'Be Us'. Photo: ABS-CBN.
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BGYO Bagyo! A P-Pop Force To Be Reckoned With

Congratulations on your comeback for your second full length album!

It’s been a little over a year since your first full length album The Light has been released and a lot has happened. How do you think that you’ve grown since then?

GELO: Thank you! I do agree that we’ve grown as artists from our first album The Light. I think Be Us is an album that seeks more from our capabilities as musicians while trying different varieties of music genres. We really enjoyed everything throughout the process despite all of the stress and challenges in between, because we really connect to the songs we’ve recorded.

We are very excited for what's in store for BGYO in the coming years.

I really loved the album and it definitely felt like you’re settling into your own sound. Were there any tracks that stood out to you in particular where you felt like it was really in your groove or you where felt the most comfortable singing it?

Conversely, was there a song that you weren’t as confident in singing, but that you grew to love?

NATE: Personally, the track that stuck out to me was 'Magnet'. The verse, the instrumental, the choreography; it all just clicks and fits together the way I would want a piece to be. If there was a song that I would use as my peg for producing in the future, it would be 'Magnet'. 

A song that I didn’t feel comfortable singing was "Game On". It's very hard to approach because the parts are very low at times and I feel awkward doing it. The way I sing it doesn’t sound as good to me compared to how I sing other songs like 'Magnet'. 

Were there any stories or moments while preparing for this album and comeback that stuck out to you?

AKIRA: The moment that stuck in my head was the very busy schedules [we had] while working on the album, and there’s one song that we didn’t get to practice properly, but it still came out well because we recorded it smoothly with the guidance of our coach and the producer.

JL for 'Be Us'. Photo: ABS-CBN.

The diversity of production on your album is really well done; you have upbeat tracks like 'Be Us', sultry and smooth R&B tracks like 'PNGNP' – which I might be my favorite track! – and hard-hitting sounds that get your attention like 'Magnet'.

How do you find balance within the album to be well-rounded? Do you ever have trouble switching between the different vibes of the tracks when in the studio?

MIKKI: We usually have a listening party when it comes to choosing the genre and the songs that we would like to be part of the album. That’s the time when we give our opinions and suggestions for the sound of our album. For us, being diverse and versatile is very important, so it is a good thing we all agree on the sounds we like.

When it comes to recording the songs, we usually have a break before we record each song so that’s the time we use to feel the song and change up our vibe.

Between your two albums you’ve been able to explore different genres of music such as R&B and dance-pop. Is there one type of genre that you find yourself favoring over others?

Are there other types of genres or concepts that you’d like to try out?

JL: We’ve wanted to explore different genres [before] but I think we want to explore more ballad songs in the future. For me that is the genre that I find myself favoring over others because I’ve always been singing ballad music. I’m always listening to local artists like Erik Santos, Regine Velasquez, Gary V and many more. 

It was really cool to see that Brian Puspos made the choreography for ‘Magnet’! What was it like to work with one of the most well known Filipino choreographers in the world?

NATE: Working with Brian Puspos was one of the most memorable moments in my dance/performing life. I've been a fan of Brian Puspos since I could understand what dance was.

At six years old I was taking classes by Brian when he would teach for conventions and workshops. So working with him directly for our single "Magnet" was so cool. He’s nice and so down to earth, you would think there would be an awkwardness because he’s a legend but he is so nice to us. 

Akira for 'Be Us'. Photo: ABS-CBN.

What messages or thoughts do you hope listeners take away from Be Us?

GELO: I just hope people find the perfect song from our album to compliment the emotions they have right now. Whether it's empowering, mysterious, in-love, inspired, happy... any interpretations they feel from it. We hope our songs connect to our listeners' lives on a deeper level.

Debuting in the midst of a pandemic must have been tough, but do you think that having gone through the trainee and debut process under unprecedented circumstances helped you all grow as artists?

MIKKI: Yes for sure, the challenges that we faced throughout our trainee and rookie days really helped us grow in our craft. The different emotions that we felt in that journey is also what we would like to share in our songs and performances.

The name of your group is so powerful. Be the Change. Go Further. You & I. Originally Filipino.

When you first heard the name of your group, what were your initial reactions to it? With the “O” standing for Originally Filipino, did it feel like a weight was put on you for being the first P-Pop boy group to come out of your company?

AKIRA: When I first heard the name of the group I thought it was bagyo which means storm, but when they explained it to us it was really nice, there is a word and meaning in every letter. When I heard the meaning of the letter “O” in BGYO, I was really happy and proud because I love the Philippines and it’s included in our group name.

Talking about the pressure of being launched: yes, it feels like there’s a weight on our shoulders, we need to always step up our game and prove that they didn’t make a mistake by launching us. We’re not the first boy group that ABS-CBN has produced but we’re the first P-Pop group that they launched. So the pressure is really on.

Nate for 'Be Us'. Photo: ABS-CBN.

On your previous album you included Bahasa Indonesia, Japanese, Thai, and Spanish versions of your song 'The Light'. How important was it for you to have these versions in terms of gaining an international audience?

Can we expect different versions of one of the songs in your new album?

AKIRA: It is really important, because when we sing in their language it feels like we can connect to them more, even though we don’t really speak their language.

No versions for this new album yet, but who knows?

Soon you’ll be having your first US appearance in Vegas for ASAP Live! That’s super exciting.

How do you feel about taking the stage with some of the Philippines’ most loved entertainers like Sharon Cuneta and Regine Velaquez?

JL: We are so grateful because ASAP and ABS-CBN is giving us the chance to perform and to show our talents worldwide. I am very happy because this was our dream since we were trainees. It’s a great opportunity to perform with the big stars like Sharon Cuneta, Regine Velasquez and many more artists.

With ASAP Live being in the States, is there anything that you are all looking forward to seeing and doing while you’re here?

GELO: Aside from the ASAP Live performance, we want to do a tour to promote our music and group, work with producers/writers based here, visit our friends and family, go shopping, try different food, watch shows, and go around famous attractions here in the US like the Grand Canyon, Times Square, Las Vegas Strip, Hollywood, Disneyland, and many, many more!

You guys have had the great opportunity to perform with various Asian artists since your debut, and this past weekend you had the chance to share the stage with some big names like CL and Epik High during Hallyuween.

What do you hope to learn from them as you watch their performances? How do you feel about performing with these artists?

NATE: Watching CL, Epik High, and more Korean artists at Hallyuween has taught me that the face and the stage presence you give on stage is a very important factor in performance. If you don't have presence, then your all-out dancing and vocals will not be as remembered as the other performers who have a memorable aura.

It felt amazing being on the same stage as them, even just hearing them pass by the dressing room in the hallways is so awesome. It really made us hungrier to keep going.

You all have achieved so much since your debut in early 2021 and even up until now you have been pedal to the metal non-stop. What would you say that your goals are for the future?

MIKKI: Our main goal is to reach more people through our songs and inspire them. Hopefully we get to perform in different countries and win awards in the future.

Gelo, as lead dancer of the group and with your experience of dancing with A-Team for domestic and international competitions, do you have a chance to contribute ideas to the choreographies of your songs?

GELO: For our existing choreographies, we have local and international dance coaches assigned to do it for every song. As a leader, I sometimes decide on some details for steps for the group to do when polishing our dances. 

Our BGYO management is very open for me and Nate to choreograph in the future, and I’d love to do it with him, [since he] is also experienced in dance.

Gelo for 'Be Us'. Photo: ABS-CBN.

Akira, you were an actor prior to joining BGYO! Are there any practices or skills that you’ve held onto from your actor days that you use when you perform on stage or for a music video?

AKIRA: Maybe the internalization of the character given to me for our music videos or in a song or performance: because when I used to act on tv, I always internalized my character and built his personality, and it is very useful in my career today.

Every song has a story and personality. You just need to make your character, so when you sing it you know the vibes and the story of the song and how you will perform it.

JL, you have a brilliant voice and we know that you love to sing ballads!

What do you do to keep your voice in good shape with such a busy schedule, and what advice would you give fans who aspire to also become singers?

JL: What I always do when my voice is not in a good condition: you should drink a lot of water and when you feel your voice is tired don’t push it because you might lose your voice. And I think the most important thing is to sleep early. 

Mikki, when following the group’s debut I saw that you had come in a little bit later than the other trainees at the time. How did you navigate having to come into the group with their existing chemistry?

Were there ever any instances where you thought coming in a little later proved to be an advantage to you?

MIKKI: At first it was really hard to join and catch up to the members because they already had good chemistry and they were already great with what they’re doing.

Having no experience in singing or dancing really made me realize how much I needed to catch up; but given the extra hours of training that the coaches helped me with, I was confident that I’d be able to catch up soon because they all believed in me.

Mikki for 'Be Us'. Photo: ABS-CBN.

Nate, as the bunso of the group, I’m sure your kuyas give you a lot of trouble (just kidding!) What responsibilities or duties do you feel are uniquely yours because you are the youngest?

NATE: I think the responsibilities I have as the youngest are to sleep a lot, give lots of energy, wake the kuyas up, and make a lot of noise. I have to play a lot of games and I need to eat a lot of food, hehe. I have to scare kuya Gelo a lot and I have to prank kuya Aki too!

For listeners who aren’t quite fans of BGYO yet, what do you hope your performance and songs convey to them?

What message do you have for ACES around the world?

JL: For those who don't know about us, BGYO, I hope you can listen to our songs, especially to our new album.

Our album Be Us has a lot of different types of genres. There are upbeat tracks, slow songs and inspirational songs that you can listen to everyday. You can watch our performances: just follow our social media!

To ACEs internationally, thank you so much for supporting us and I hope our songs will inspire you more, I hope you guys are always safe, and we can’t wait to see you all.

Be Us is out now. BGYO can be found on Instagram, Twitter and all major streaming platforms.
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