Which side is the best side: The cast of 'Hometown Heroes' weighs in

Which side is the best side: The cast of 'Hometown Heroes' weighs in

Hear65 recently sat down for a chat with Singaporean artists Dominic Chin, KHAi, Jaarvis, Daniel Sid, Marian Carmel, evanturetime, Joie Tan, and HAVEN from the cast of 'Hometown Heroes' to solve age-old Singapore debates: Where is the best region to bring a date? Which region is more rabak? And of course, East side best side, or West Coast best coast?

A gameshow docu-series featuring local music artists, Hometown Heroes is loosely inspired by the widely popular Korean variety show ‘Running Man’. Music artists are split into North, South Central, East, and West regions according to the area in Singapore they grew up in to compete against each other in entertaining challenges. 

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In our interview with Dominic and KHAi from Team North, Jaarvis and Daniel from Team South, Marian and evanturetime from Team East, and Joie and HAVEN from Team West, we spoke about the show, working with their teammates, and more, where they also answered some rapid-fire questions to decide which region in Singapore reigns supreme.

Our conversations with the artists can be broken down into the following segments:

1. Why do you think your region is better?

2. Age-old Singapore debates

3. What are your favourite moments from the show?

4. What was it like working with your teammates for the final song and music video?

5. Will there be a Season 2 of Hometown Heroes?

To kick things off, share a reason why you think your region is better.

Team North vs Team South

Daniel (S): I think it's safe to say, the South side, we have this similar chaotic vibe, which is why we got along very well. That's why on the first day we met, we decided to jump off a building and go bungee jumping.

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Dominic (N): I won't say we are better, I'm just saying, beware of the quieter ones because we usually are quite dangerous. I think we'll let our music and our episodes speak for itself. Honestly, competing with the South has been extremely fun because they're 'in your face', taunting you, and I'm just like 'wow, I wish I'll grow up to be like them', that I'll be as energetic as them when I'm 45 and above, you know?

KHAi (N): Growing up I always had friends telling me stuff like 'a lot of problems come from Yishun'. I just wish that people would see the beauty of the North, you know. It's very homey. Yeah, there are a lot of cockroaches here and there, but you can't really have this charm anywhere else.

Dominic (N): We're the heartlands, it's not like we have a super mall here. I mean we have Northpoint, and that is a ginormous mall. But I think there is a lot of beauty in the mundane things, like normal HDBs. More people live in the North than you think.

Daniel (S): I was around Novena my whole life; it's all things night towns, we got Orchard, Somerset, Dhoby Ghaut, City Hall. All those places I thought kind of mean a lot to musicians as well, which is why one of the places we went to was Peninsula, which is a stepping stone for everyone to buy some gear from guitar shops, instrument shops. You've got the Esplanade, which is almost like a rite of passage for local musicians to play there. A lot of the gig venues are all south and central. We encompass everything. We offer entertainment, we offer good vibes, we offer chaos. That's why we're the best.

KHAi (N): For us, we offer comfort. We stay in home clothes. When you go to town, you have to dress up, (put on) make-up, you know? Okay lah, this is the only thing I can flex right now. But the North is pretty cool. I still stand by that.

Team East vs Team West

Evanturetime (E): I grew up in Hougang, now in Sengkang. That's all I've ever known. It's a great place, you know, that's where the airport is. I mean, come on.  That's the only access to the outside world and the North is so close to Malaysia it just because Malaysia itself, so it doesn't matter. That's why I adore my region. 

Marian (E): I think the East side is the best side because we're unavoidable, man. The moment you enter Singapore, you're here! There's no choice. Entry and exit points are us. And we have great food, lah.

HAVEN (W): West side is the best side. 'W' stands for 'winners'. I grew up here, so I'm biased to it.

Joie (W): I grew up in the West, and I spend a lot of my time in the West. So all my memories tied to my childhood and friendships are all there. But, I wouldn't say that we have the best food in Singapore.

Joie (W): But you can't do anything now at the airport, Evan! It's closed. So, I think I'm gonna be the damn lame one and say that Singapore is great, all of us need each other, yin-yang, we need the balance. 

Which region is better for shopping? 

Team North vs Team South

North and South teams: South. 

Team East vs Team West

HAVEN (W): West, west, west, west.

evanturetime (E): Airport can have tax-free duties. [There’s also] Tampines Hub.

Which region has better parks?

Team North vs Team South

Jaarvis (S): South. Labrador Park, Keppel Bay. 

KHAi (N): North. Lower Seletar Reservoir. Sort of a park.

Team East vs Team West

HAVEN (W): Jurong Lake Park is so pretty.

evanturetime (E): Our airport, the park got dinosaurs. 

Joie (W): The whole of Singapore is a huge park.

Marian (E): When I was a kid, I used to go to West Coast Park a lot.

Which region has better food?

Team North vs Team South

Dominic (N): North. We have pretty good dumplings. Everyone goes to Chinatown for dumplings but actually, in the North we have really good dumplings. It's where all the aunties cook, you know. They don't wanna travel all the way there, so they cook here.

Daniel (S): We also have dumplings in the South. Whoo, Zion Road. The dumplings there... madness! I would travel across the island for those. But luckily I don't have to lah, because I stay pretty central. 

KHAi (N): I'll go with the South for the food lah, 'cos I guess they have more vegan food options. So it's easier. I'm sorry Dom. 

Which region is more rabak?

Team North vs Team South

Daniel (S): Depends what kind of rabak. You talking about the fun rabak, then South. You talking about real rabak, like 'I don't wanna be associated with this' right, then North. But if you're talking about good vibes, then South. 

Team East vs Team West

HAVEN (W): West side is more ulu, more creepy. Like ghost month, you'd be scared.

Joie (W): Okay West side is like hillbilly, but East side is rabak

evanturetime (E): Guys, guys. You're missing the point. It's not us, it's actually the North. Because Yishun. 

Which side is a nicer place to bring a date? 

Team North vs Team South

Jaarvis (S): South. Why would you wanna bring a date to the North?

KHAi (N): I mean, if you wanna get to know them. Go playground, sit down and chill, I don't know. Here got damn good ice kachang, you can bring your date here. Save some money.

Daniel (S): Are you talking about the one at Yishun? 'Cos that one is pretty not bad.

KHAi (N): Yeah, Yishun!

Out of all the episodes in the show, which was your favorite? Was there a memorable moment that stood out to you?

Team North vs Team South

Jaarvis (S): I think starting the whole shooting process with us bungee-jumping actually developed our friendship to another level. It's very hard to explain lah, 'cos how often does it happen where you meet people for the first time and the next day you're just jumping off a cliff? It doesn't happen and that wasn't even part of the itinerary. We are the ones who proposed and paid for it. From then, we just became very close.

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Daniel (S): It actually started with Jason [Gelchen] saying he was afraid of heights, and our solution to that was just bungee-jump lah!

KHAi (N): I thought it was pretty fun visiting places looking for ghosts – I haven't done that in a long time. 'Cos if something happens, it's something you can talk about for a long time, you know. But nothing really happened lah. Except for Josh scaring us.

Dominic Chin (N): But we didn't pay for the full version of the [ghost detector] app lah, so nothing came out.

KHAi (N): You know when you turned the phone towards you, I was so scared that something was gonna pop out on your phone screen.

Team East vs Team West

HAVEN (W): So there was this prawning team, where we went to the north side, and I was representing the left side. And the thing is I've never prawned in my life.  So when I went there, I had no idea what I was doing. I was just like, Okay, this is the episode I guess I'll just like figure out something to do.  And then I had a mental breakdown. I was like questioning myself.  I was like, What am I doing here? I was so bad to the point that I couldn't catch a prawn –  I had to go over to the other stall and like steal the prawns from the other girls.  But I would have been disqualified.  And they didn't put any of this in which I'm really glad but it was very memorable. Because throughout the whole entire show, that was the one [time] where I really didn't know what I was doing.

What was it like working with your teammates for the final song and music video?

Team North vs Team South

Jaarvis (S): For me, I think my teammates are very very musically-inclined and talented. I'm actually a metal musician, I do vocals and play guitar, all that heavy-duty stuff, and I couldn't incorporate any of that into this song so I just waited for them to give me a sense of direction of what they want[ed], and then I just followed their direction. Daniel is very good at his singing and his guitar, and Jason is very good at this production work, and Jaye is known for his vocals, so they just do what they're good at. I'm known for all the things that I cannot contribute in terms of creating music, but apparently they threw us a card, where we had to create song with a verse in our mother tongue. I had to write a verse in Tamil, which is very, very, challenging, because my command of the Tamil language isn't as good as it looks or sounds. It ended up really good and the entire process was really fun.

Daniel Sid (S): I think when you hear Jaarvis on this track, it's not gonna be anything you'd expect from him. It's pretty mad. I think he has my favourite part on the song.

Jaarvis (S): Definitely better than North.

Dominic (N): When I first joined the cast, one of the questions was 'who would you like to work with'. I immediately went to google everybody and I heard everybody's songs. I already heard Daniel's stuff, I know KHAi, so when I searched everybody's stuff I was just a bit petrified at how either they're too cool for me, or their genre is just too – I don't even know what type of music Josh does, but that kind of music. And then I heard this very vulgar song by Jaarvis, and I was like 'Wah!' I don't know if I'm in the same team as him, how do I channel those vocals? But when I did meet my teammates, it was fantastic that all three of us are very different. Not in the sense that we're metal and pop, but I did more pop and vocal things, and KHAi did a lot of good, chill vibes, and Josh has this cool... that sound, okay, that sound! So when we all got together we just brought what we can and I think the end product is shockingly good. When everything came together I was like 'wow'. I'm quite happy for us, guys, that we managed to pull everybody together. It was quite fun.

KHAi (N): Initially I had the worry of how we were gonna make this work, especially with our different styles, but I guess when Shaykh came up with the beat initially, we knew we had something good to work with. That was the first time, when all of us were screaming in the studio, 'yeah, this is the song, this is a bop', all of us were in agreement that it was a good song. When we filmed the music video, it was so fun. I never thought I'd ever do a music video this cool so it was such an experience for me. Obviously, pushing myself out of my comfort zone to try to look cool a little bit 'cos this is not really what I do, if you see my other music videos. It was really fun.

Team East vs Team West

evanturetime (E): Well, without spoiling much I think my team lineup is tons of fun. It's a great team and we had tons of fun bonding. I genuinely thought that, you know this sounds this sounds very cliche, but us bonding as friends before writing the song was hella cool. I've never gotten to know musicians from that. Most of the time usually, they come to the studio then make stuff. When you get to know them it's very helpful and can help churn out material that's closer to their sensibilities. I thought usually I'm the noisy one I'm usually enthusiastic, the one that's crazy. The one that's hyper enthusiastic about stuff. Oh my god. You should see three of them – Shye, Estelle, and Marian. Oh my God, you have no idea you should just see on the episodes. They're just running around, and I'm just like okay. It's quite something. You should just see all the episodes with my face like dead

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Marian (E): Because like we're all quite different but we didn't expect to get along so well.

evanturetime (E): We did so well that we made team pins and t-shirts for each other. It's really cute. But yes, chaos. Somehow music came out. It's like fried rice, you throw everything [in] and suddenly it is nice.

Joie (W): I think it was so great. I knew them before the show. We're all very easygoing, very chill and, you know, same wavelengths. And then you have this Gen Z TikTok superstar. Very nice. I would say that HAVEN brings such a great energy to all of us because we're kind of like, I'm gonna say we're old but I definitely don't want to call myself old. It's been wonderful. I mean, we all write very differently, but we got a very nice track together. Not what you would expect from all of us. I think if you listen to all of our sound individually, it's quite different. But then it came together to like, form a very nice blend.

HAVEN (W): I've had the most fun. Dude, your energy is so cool. And they're like the cool kids. Like, I just joined, and they've been in the industry for a while now. So they're very experienced. I'm just like, I'm new to everything. So when I go in, they're teaching me. They're like my mentors. They are so funny. I just go in and there's either someone that's shouting or something that's going on. It just feels very lively. And yeah, all of our genres are so unique, we have a different sound. Just coming together and working on this show created a lot of new memories and I learnt a lot about different genres. This song is so good and I can't wait for you guys to hear it.

evanturetime (E): Dude, it's crazy. It's crazy good. Yeah it was great.

Joie (W): Your song is so good too! I can't wait.

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Can we expect a Season 2 of Hometown Heroes?

Team North vs Team South

Jaarvis (S): I really hope there's a Season 2. I think we should go sky-diving.

Daniel (S): I think they should take us out of Singapore. If you're further away from home, then you have a chance to miss it more and reminisce. So since we've already covered the things we love at home right, they should take us out of our comfort zone and just throw us into a jungle and see which side emerges after 30 days.

Jaarvis (S): 30 days, no food, no water, no toilet, nothing. See who comes out. I think we will survive.

Dominic (N): We'll be the first to be rescued. We do nothing. We're just gonna sit there and wait for help to come.

KHAi (N): Yeah, just listen to music. 

Team East vs Team West

Joie (W): I think it'd be cool, but I don't think we should be a part of it again. Maybe we can come on as like guests to cause chaos. We could be, like a lifeline. So each team has four lifelines and it'll be each of us.

evanturetime (E): Something like the guest chef on 'Masterchef' on the show. Yeah. It'd be great. It'd be great drama. 

Joie (W): I think it'd be really cool and I want to see that other people do it. Maybe more crazy pairings.

evanturetime (E): Yeah, there's tons of other producer and artist combos that just crazy just by the location they stay in. It'd be mad fun to just see what kind of rojak music they can come up with. I feel like to see Josh Wei, he's always been so quiet. And he's been working so nicely with Lennard and Snakeweed. So I think it'd be great to introduce them as the east side, one of the legendary places and a mainstay in the music community. So Josh, along with Lennard, it would be a great combination. 

Marian (E): I don't know where they live, but I think Fox would be really cool. Just because, like, in terms of music, he offers so much. In terms of singer-songwriters, I think Jean Seizure would be really nice. Because like, he also offers a lot of like, chaotic energy, but also he's a great writer.

evanturetime (E): Actually Tim De Cotta would be cool. He's so noisy.

Marian (E): Oh yeah! You should pair him with like someone who's like super young.

HAVEN (W): I want to see Zie from brb. and Disco Hue because he's from the North side. Such a chill guy but I think if you play with like a chaotic person you'll get the pressure and I want to see that.

Joie (W): I think I'm gonna say Charlie Lim. 'Cos he's becoming more comfortable now. I feel like when you know him on a personal level, he's very different when he sings when he's out of the stage and behind the scenes. Yeah, he's he's different and I feel like it would be really cool to see him stuck with very chaotic energy because he will 100% absorb and then eventually just give in to it and it'll be very funny.

Marian (E): Also for Jean, she's damn buff, so all the physical challenges confirm she can. 

HAVEN (W): I want to see the R&B boys, you know from Def Jam like Fariz [Jabba], Yung [Raja].

Joie (W): Rappers with death-metal character.

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Catch Hometown Heroes every Wednesday on YouTube, Facebook Watch, and Instagram TV.

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