The name HEYU can mean two things: Hope for Every Young Underdog, or Heaven-Enforced Youth. Brand New Company's newest brand (pun intended) brings a breath of fresh air to the Philippines' VTuber scene by introducing its first generation, RE:NEGADE.
Introduced as "your friendly neighborhood punks," RE:NEGADE is composed of rebel robot rapper (and former dead person) Jacki3, siren songstress Gemi9 (who insists she's not a mermaid), and vampire sorceress rock star Ru VII. On top of them is Mugen, the rabbit mascot-like omnipotent being who is running the show as it speaks in all caps.
NewsDrop has taken glimpses of RE:NEGADE's debut streams to understand their stories and how they came to be. Following their first band meeting held just this week, we put them in the Spotlight to learn more.
Jacki3: What's Beneath that Robot Build and Tough Attitude?
Jacki3 (say Jackie or Jackie three) may be the shortest among the bunch, but they're packed with lots of life experiences. Y'all need to read their story.
NewsDrop: We lost count of how many times you said "y'all"—is it safe to understand that you grew up overseas?
"Look, 'y’all' has been in my vernacular since I was a kid, it feels weird not to just say it okay! But if yer asking if I’ve lived in the same town that all 3 of us do now, it’s a no.
"I’ve been moving around since I was 5, different cities and states even. Up until the whole thing with Ru though, that was the most permanent I’ve been in. It wasn’t the best (nor safest) of cities, but hey it was good and cheap."
You appeared to us as a strong, independent person; but we also know that behind the scenes, you've suffered a lot. What is your biggest inspiration moving forward in the face of all these adversities?
"I wish I could give ya a profound answer like, 'I’m inspired by the people around me' or some sh*t (not to say I’m not) but if I’m gonna be truthful, I’m inspired to just not die in a ditch somewhere HAHA.
"When you’ve been through as much sh*t as I have, you kinda get into this headspace of comparing everything to what you’ve been through. Oh, forgot to do the groceries so now there’s only cereal and milk at home? Still better than having to convince your younger siblings to sleep early so they’d 'forget' about dinner. So really, you’re in this mindset of 'I’ve already been at rock bottom, so I guess the only way is up'.
"Sure it’s made me tough, but do I wish I didn’t have to go through all that crap? Every damn day. But sometimes these are the cards you’re dealt with and ya just gotta learn how to play poker with Uno cards."
There's a reason why they hate their foster parents Martha and Steve so much for abandoning them.
Between voice acting or singing/rapping, which of these two are you most comfortable doing?
"Damn, Mugen might hate me for this HAHA but it’s definitely voice acting. It was a pastime for me and my siblings that whenever we got to borrow a book from the library, we’d kinda make a play of it, like a script reading.
"Cable and the internet was practically nonexistent in the house, so we had to make do with what we had to entertain ourselves. Pretty much why I got an arsenal of random voices and accents at my disposal.
"With regards to music, I’ve never been much of a musician, that was more Blake (brother) and Juniper (sister). But that [doesn't] mean I love it any less. If anything, being in a band is what kinda got me back into it and actually pushed me to getting better.
"Don’t tell em I said this, but Ru and Gemi are great and patient teachers. I’m glad they let me stay even if I don’t bring much to the table."
Though we give no assurance that the two wouldn't know about that.
Gemi9: She's actually a Metalhead?
Don't let Gemi9's (say Gemi-nine) cute appearance (or her huge irises) fool you—she's got a heck of a taste in music, introduced to her by her mom when she was a child, as they hide in a place where music is outlawed.
It's been a week; do you think the misconception about mermaids and sirens still exist? Would you form a crusade to debunk this misconception?
"I believe it still does and it’s not gonna vanish that easily, but I have, at least, cleared it up to people who have met me since debut.
"And yes, I’m on a mission to let everyone know that sirens have WINGS not fishtail. Also, we haven’t seen that 'missing' person on that poster…"
We also missed that. We'll check her debut stream again and get back to all of you soon.
We learned from your story how your mom introduced you to music. Could you tell us the best song she played on the Otamatone?
"This is difficult... she played the best songs on the Otamatone. I would have to say, 'People = Sh*t' by Slipknot. Be sure to give it a listen."
Two questions: WHY and HOW? We do want to hear it for real. Gemi9's mom is as hardcore as her.
We were blindsided with your song choice during your debut, no cap. What led you to choosing that song?
"Oh, uh… Ru VII and Jacki3 actually requested it after we had a karaoke session and heard me sing "Killing In The Name" the first time.
"To be honest here, I’m quite confused how others are surprised by my song choice. I used to play it a lot with my mother when we’re especially growing fond of human music, we thought it was catchy."
It is indeed catchy.
Ru VII: The Vampire Awakened by K-pop
RE:NEGADE's leader Ru VII (Full name: Rulavivianeth Uphopianathia S. Evendragoth—say Ru-vee or Ru the 7th) had a band at first, but she made one regrettable decision which led to her bandmates' demise. She hid and slept... perhaps for a hundred years, only to be awakened by... K-pop.
This is the first time I've heard of a vampire awakened by K-pop. That lived in my head rent-free, so much that the questions we asked were formed around that fact.
We've never heard of a vampire who woke up to K-Pop until now. For the benefit of those who are not aware of you, could you tell us what is that exact song which woke you up?
"It was definitely a BIGBANG song, 'We Like 2 Party'. How can I not wake up to a bop? But yeah, BIGBANG was what brought me into the blackhole of K-POP. And honestly they walked so the newer groups can run and soar!
"Although seriously, I woke up because I guess I realized there’s really no point to keep sleeping–it won’t really atone for my past you know? I’m very hopeful about being in your universe for sure, and for what HEYU has in store for the future of RE:NEGADE."
Personally speaking, I recommend having that song played while you're in the office.
If you were to meet a superstar K-pop group or personality who do you want to meet and why?
"Honestly if I meet literally ANY idol I’ll be the happiest vampire in the whole multiverse. But I guess, right now, I would very much like to meet my queens, XG. They are probably THE group that I was a fan of from day 0. Like, when they weren’t even popular yet, I was already following them and basically telling everyone I know about them (like pre-debut era–and I still rave about them until now!)
"They are soooo talented and so badass. I wanna meet them so I can ask how and where they get their swag."
Thank you for the recommendation, Ru.
Of all the songs you prepared for your K-Pop karaoke stream, which song do you like the most?
"I honestly love them all, so it’s hard to pick just one! But I guess if I must, I’d say Hard to Love by [BLACKPINK's] Rose is a current favorite.
"When I saw her perform it live, it became such a core memory–more than just another song I hear on the radio. I also loved hearing the band play it live, I can still hear it in my head right now!
"The message of the song and the lyrics also get to me, ‘cause if you really analyze the storytelling in the song, it’s actually really sad, like you’re destined to be alone because you aren’t the easiest person to love, but with such a fun beat, a sort of self-awareness, I guess? And it gives a carefree point of view about it."
RE:NEGADE as a Band
After asking each of them one-by-one, it's time to band them together and have them answer more questions.
We've already gone two weeks after your debut, how would you describe your community and the experience?
Ru: "I’m genuinely so touched at how supportive everyone is. The energy of the community really gives us so much encouragement to keep going. It was nerve-wracking to debut, but once we got the hang of how things worked, it became really fun."
Gemi9: "I’m not even sure how I got here… But the team and the community has been welcoming and supportive since day one, and I’ve been feeling inspired since."
Jacki3: "Imma be honest, I didn’t think we’d get this far but here we are and damn, it feels good to have people actually be excited with us. We can only hope that we don’t disappoint y’all because damn, we got so much in store for everyone and y’all ain’t ready for this."
"Anarchy. Chaos. W O R L D D O M I N A T I O N."
What is the biggest challenge in preparing for your debut streams?
Ru: "Everything was challenging–learning and polishing all the technical stuff, writing and recording for our upcoming music releases, planning out our content–we seriously couldn’t have done it without such a crazy talented team behind us. They weren’t kidding when they said we’d be 'heavenly-enforced'."
Gemi9: "Calming my nerves."
What should we look forward to RE:NEGADE in the future?
Ru: "A loooooot of music, games, crazy collabs, and fun random original content."
Gemi9: "Just us making fun of our failed attempts (and hopefully, finding success in it)."
Jacki3: "Anarchy. Chaos. W O R L D D O M I N A T I O N."
Ru: "Please ignore Jacki3."
Capping things off, we asked the band if Mugen, the all caps-loving mascot being, is touchable.
Ru: "I’d honestly love to see you try (But he likes being called cute)."
Gemi9: "I don’t know, can you?"
Jacki3: "DM us if you still have your hands after doing that."
If you want to know more about HEYU beyond the talents, Brand New Company's creative director Rob Cham to Spin.ph about the agency's direction.
Alongside enforcing things unto the youth, Mugen has a mixtape playlist on YouTube.