Ripped straight out of a Webtoon, the virtual quintet PLAVE have traveled across worlds to meet with fans! Only six months since their debut, PLAVE have not only solidified their fanbase but have also attained recognition and fame among many in the world of K-pop and pop culture. PLAVE show no limitations through their pursuit of music and connection with the public, as each step they’ve taken has created history. Join EnVi and dive into the virtual world as we unveil the seven things you need to know about PLAVE!

The Start of the 6th Summer

Managed under VLAST, PLAVE are a virtual boy group who debuted on March 12, 2023, and consists of five characters: Yejun, Noah, Bamby, Eunho, and Hamin. Adopting the concept of being “an idol straight out of a comic,” all members are self-producing artists who write, choreograph, and compose their very own songs. In addition, each talent excels in departments such as vocals, rap, and dance, earning them the public recognition of “all-rounders.”

The group name PLAVE is a combination of the words “play” and “rêve,” which means “dream” in French. Giving the group name the overall meaning of “creating a new world to achieve their dreams.” Alongside PLAVE’s name significance, fans have been given the name PLLI, a compound word of “play” and “reality,” meaning to be together in reality.

PLAVE made their official debut on March 12, 2023, with their title track “Wait For You” from their single album ASTERUM. Soon after, PLAVE released their first digital single “Why?” on May 25 and later made a comeback on Aug. 24 with their title track “The 6th Summer” from their first mini album ASTERUM: The Shape of Things to Come.

But where exactly did PLAVE come from?

Pixel World

After receiving abilities from the developers of “Terra” (Earth), five characters (PLAVE) take their first steps from their virtual world, a star named Caelum, into the mysterious “space in between” called Asterum. Now able to communicate with those living in Terra, the five characters form a team via Asterum and aim to achieve their dreams and bring joy to those in Terra through their music and stages. From the ability to use magic to instant teleportation, PLAVE are unique and ready to realize their dreams through their songs.

PLAVE’s debut single album ASTERUM depicts PLAVE’s virtual worldview and portrays the story between Caelum, Terra, and PLAVE’s first steps into Asterum. PLAVE’s “Wait For You” music video takes viewers on a visual journey and encapsulates the members’ exploration between worlds where they wait for listeners.

The Shape of PLAVE

Let’s break the fourth wall for a moment and confront the question many want to have answered. How does this all work?

PLAVE members use motion capture technology which allows for the individual’s movements and facial expressions to be caught in real-time. PLAVE’s initial design was created by artist NAKDI, who also participated in the pre-production of PLAVE’s music video “The 6th Summer” as an animation director and character advisor. Much like a VTuber (Virtual YouTuber), each member possesses a virtual avatar who performs using technology, having the members’ vocals, expressions, and body movements be captured and relayed in real-time. 

Viewers can witness this in action by watching PLAVE’s live stage and dance practice videos. PLAVE members showcase different movements within their choreography and display varying expressions throughout the entire performance. The five have not only acted in their debut music video “Wait For You,” but they have also executed live performances in music shows such as MBC’s Show! MusicCore and MBC Radio’s IDOL RADIO.

However, sometimes technology doesn’t always bend to our will and goes against our commands, and PLAVE are no exception. There have been many occurrences where glitches occur during a livestream, causing some very comedic and memorable moments to be clipped by fans. Yet this simply just adds to PLAVE’s charm and magnetism.

Understanding the technology used by PLAVE members is of utmost importance to ensure the distinction between PLAVE and A.I. In contrast to other groups who are animated and added on a screen later in production, PLAVE are always present. Behind these models and set of technology are aspiring idols who produce, work, and perform as any other idol in the industry, hence the usage of A.I. is nonexistent within PLAVE.

Waiting For You Pre-debut

While PLAVE did make their official debut on March 12, 2023, they were initially announced back on Sept. 20, 2022, with the group’s name officially making its debut on Oct. 24, 2022. PLAVE specifically announced the target members’ first solo livestream broadcast which was then followed with a visual reveal through a member open Concept illustration. The order in which PLAVE members were revealed went as followed: Yejun, Noah, Bamby, Eunho, and Hamin.

After PLAVE members were finally introduced, the group immediately began to interact with fans. Members released various song and dance covers paired with multitudes of livestream broadcasts on their official YouTube ranging from talking segments to playthroughs. Through this, fans were able to get a glimpse of the members’ individuality and talents, while also taking notice of the overall chemistry between the team and the members’ love towards their fans before the group even made their official debut.

Where Our Worlds Collide

In company with being an idol group, PLAVE members not only specialize in singing and dancing, but are also ace entertainers. As previously mentioned, PLAVE do numerous livestream broadcasts on their official YouTube channel, paired up with posts for PLAVE’s weekly stream schedules indicating which members are attending. Through live broadcasts, PLAVE present their lively personalities and never fail to give the audience comical moments, amusing antics, and a meaningful time.

In July, PLAVE members Yejun, Noah, and Hamin guest-starred on MBC’s Idol Radio Broadcast with hosts ATEEZ members, Yunho and Hongjoong, not only comfortably chatting with their seniors but also putting on an amazing vocal and dance performance for fellow attendees. Not too long after, PLAVE were invited to KCON LA 2023 as a special guest, where they hosted a dance workshop on day one and a special stage on day two, becoming the first virtual boy group to perform at KCON LA.

Similarly, on Sept. 23, PLAVE also became the first virtual boy group to perform on MBC’s Idol Radio Live in Seoul, a concert held in the Seoul World Cup Stadium. They gained vast support and love from PLLIs attending as well as obtaining praise and admiration from MBC. PLAVE continuously show no limitations as they participated in recording challenges with fellow singers and conducting wholesome video call events with fellow PLLIs across the globe. PLAVE constantly interact with fans through their fancafe to show off just how much love they hold for PLLIs.

As of recent events, PLAVE members Yejun and Hamin were featured as guest MCs on MBC FM4U’s GOT7 Youngjae’s Close Friend on Oct. 8. Excitingly, PLAVE have been invited as guest MCs once again with members Yejun and Bamby on Oct.15. Right alongside this, PLAVE have posted their new weekly schedule of upcoming live broadcasts featuring all members.

Dear. PLLI

PLAVE’s debut track “Wait For You” from their single ASTERUM encapsulates PLAVE’s virtual worldview. Adopting a rock-band style with intermixed elements of pop and R&B, PLAVE convey their longing, hope, and resolve of always waiting for fans in the same place and wishing for this feeling to be properly expressed. 

The production of each track in PLAVE’s debut album was written and composed not only by PLAVE members themselves but also by well known HYBE producer EL CAPITXN, famous for working with K-pop idols such as BTS, IU, and PSY. EL CAPITXN also continued to work in production alongside PLAVE members for the rest of their discography. PLAVE’s debut single sold a total of 27,940 copies in the first week of release.

Switching up the ambiance and vibes, PLAVE came out with their first digital single “Why?” released alongside an official lyric video featuring vibrant color-coded lyrics (for member indication) and bubbly graphic designs. Conveying a fresh and vibrant feeling, just like the early summer breeze, PLAVE express their exhaustion towards their partner’s chaos, yet their emotional attachment makes them stay while still wishing to just stop it all.

Once again shifting gears in emotions and lyricism, PLAVE’s recently came back with their first mini album ASTERUM: The Shape of Things to Come and its title track “The 6th Summer.” A song about the first summer all five members spent together, “The 6th Summer” conveys the members’ various hardships and adversities through diverse shades of sorrow, overcoming them all, and uniting as a team. The soundscape embodies the unique ambiance of summer with its soft-rock and ballad-like melody, all smoothly delivered through the song’s lively guitar riffs, melancholy piano, and animated percussion.

According to Korea’s Hanteo Chart, on Aug. 25, ASTERUM: The Shape of Things to Come topped the daily physical album chart with 91,970 copies sold, equating to 110,364 in physical record index score. Since combined sales and the price of albums are now used by the platform to create rankings, a total of 63,480 copies were sold on the first day, and within two days since its release, the album had sold 155,450 copies. Reaching one million streams on Melon in less than a day, PLAVE’s mini album showed instantaneous results within two days.

PLAVE has surpassed one hundred million streams on Melon and remains the most-streamed 2023 Rookie Male group on Genie, with a total of 16,752,288 streams (all songs combined as of Sept. 29), crowning them the first Male Rookie of 2023 to achieve ten million stream remarks on said music platform.

We Just Love PLAVE

While many might second guess and question the restrictions and disadvantages PLAVE may have with certain executions of events and fan interactions, PLAVE pay no mind to such limitations and continue to create a world free of constraints. From live broadcasts to doing a live street busking performance with fans, the group shows how split worlds will not prevent members from communication, motivation, and innovation. The world is constantly developing in various ways, and PLAVE intend to make their presence known. This is only the beginning of PLAVE’s ultimate goal to captivate all Terra fans, and PLLIs can only imagine what PLAVE have hidden in Caelum.

Watch PLAVE’s latest music video release “The 6th Summer” on YouTube, and listen to their recent mini album ASTERUM: The Shape of Things to Come on Spotify and Apple Music!

On cloud nine after reading about PLAVE? Dream alongside them by following their social media accounts on Instagram, X, YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook.

Craving more up-and-coming groups? Check out our coverage on rising P-pop boy group HORI7ON from our latest 7 Things series here!