T/N: The term “fictional world” in this article refers to the world-building and creation of a fictional universe as it applies to storytelling in music, similar to cinematic universes for films.
On their 5th year since debut, they’ve been building a steady international fandom…
Their invitation to Spain’s Primavera Sound is a first in K-pop
With a unique concept to differentiate from innocent girl groups
Nightmare ㆍ Dystopia fictional world…Dreamcatcher’s powerful growth
“We deliver music that empathizes with social themes…
Even though the lyrics are in Korean, we are happy that our fans all over the world like it”
[Herald Economics = Reporter Ko Seunghee] As soon as the seven “fairies of dreams” make their appearance, the comment section is instantly filled with the name “Dreamcatcher”. This happened when it was time for them to sing their new song that was released this summer, “BEcause”. Amazement followed, saying, “It’s totally like they came out straight from their music video”. In the comment section dominated by English, Korean fans joined in using a popular phrase (originating from Street Woman Fighter). “So cool, so cool, our unnie!” This took place at the Indonesian Week event of 2021 Mokkoji Korea, which was streamed live through YouTube on the 14th. On this day, Dreamcatcher introduced seasonal Korean snacks and played a bingo game with their fans. Siyeon gave a great tip, saying, “If you’re going to vacation in Korea, make sure you bring cash so you can try bungeo-ppang and hotteok”.
With this year being their 5th year since debut, Dreamcatcher is a “hallyu-dol” that represents K-pop. Dreamcatcher paved the way with overseas performances rather early on [in their careers]. Their past activities that they carried out in earnest have led them to build a steady fandom. Their 2019 performance in Belgium brought together 4000 fans from all over Europe. Their activities so far have been paying off, bringing them meaningful results. They are the first K-pop idol singer to be invited to Spain’s Primavera Sound, which will be held next year in June. It is for this reason that they participated in the 2021 Mokkoji Korea event. This is due to the judgement of the organizer, the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange, who stated that “Dreamcatcher is the right group to promote Korea’s diverse culture”.
The Dreamcatcher members, who we met on the 14th at Dongdaemun-gu’s Vspace in Seoul on the set of the event, said, “Many fans from overseas recognize us often. It still feels like a dream that we’re able to perform at Primavera, and it hasn’t quite hit us yet”. Member Yoohyeon said she’s also studying Spanish early in order to prepare for next June. “I took a small break in the middle of it due to COVID-19’s influence, but I’m working hard on it again. I’m still in the beginning stages, but I want to communicate with local fans”. (Yoohyeon)
The members are also realizing their international popularity. Surprised, SuA said, “There are so many English comments whenever we upload a video” and Dami said, “It’s so fascinating that foreign music officials or band musicians have made reaction videos to Dreamcatcher’s music videos”. The region where Dreamcatcher is the most popular is the United States. JiU said, “If you look at our recent online concert ticket sale statistics and our YouTube music video views, we’re the most popular in the United States”. SuA, who was quietly listening, added shyly, “I think it’s probably because they have a lot of land, and that’s why there’s a lot of people watching us”. (laughs)
The process of how Dreamcatcher gained their international popularity is special. Their unique fictional world and concept that differentiates from other groups and their musical message have played a big role. In fact, the expression “cool unnies” suits Dreamcatcher quite well. Since the beginning, they were already far off from a typical girl group concept. It’s because “innocent”, “sentimental”, and “refreshing” are words that do not exist in Dreamcatcher’s dictionary. Even starting with their genre, they pursued rock and metal. That is why bands from overseas have uploaded reaction videos.
“Nowadays, we’ve diversified our music tastes and genres, so it’s easier to get [into music]. When we were younger, we thought rock would be a genre that’s quite far away from us, but now there are lots of bands and band competitions, so there have been more opportunities to approach it”. (Dami)
“Nightmare” and “Dystopia” that have come from their dark fictional world and concept are Dreamcatcher’s identity, and it is the leading engine that has driven them to grow after 5 years since their debut. Of course, when thinking back on their debut, they were half worried and half excited. Yoohyeon said, “Normally girl groups are innocent, and we worried a lot about what would happen if our unique concept didn’t work out”. SuA said, “On the other hand, I thought that we were able to express ourselves well”.
“I’m confident that all of the Dreamcatcher members are talented and solid. I think that it was a concept that could show better synergy. Usually, it’s not easy for groups to have their own concept, and it’s not easy to create a unique story either, but I think that we’ve done a good job so far”. (SuA) With this concept as their foundation, the members’ own values and thoughts are embodied in their music. Starting last year, the Dreamcatcher members have participated in songwriting. SuA said, “I think that Dreamcathcer’s content is presented in a way that everyone can enjoy and relate to it, regardless of nationality or gender”.
“There are a lot of Dreamcatcher songs that incorporate social issues. For “BOCA”, it has malicious comments as its main subject, and we tried to capture a message that many people could relate to”. (Yoohyeon)
Due to their slightly “powerful concept”, the members have experienced many changes in the past 5 years. There has also been a change in their vocalization. Handong said, “At the beginning, I sang in a gentle and soft voice that didn’t match rock music, but I tried to polish it so I could pull off the rock genre better”. “When we first debuted, no matter how powerful the song was, my voice sounded young, but now that’s not the case”. (SuA) “I hear people tell me to ease up, and they ask whether I’m growling too much (laughs)” (Siyeon). For Dami, the change was in her personality. “Since I was young, I was shy, not good at public speaking, and I had the personality that made me feel like I’d cry if someone told me to do it. But now, I’m full of confidence, and I feel so relieved when I step off the stage”. (Dami) “Girl crush” Siyeon has gained support by fans due to her “refreshing remarks”. During a live broadcast, she responded to a malicious comment saying “just because you have a hole under your nose doesn’t mean it’s a mouth”, and the video is still a hot topic even now. “I don’t know if it’s because of our concept or what, but they like it even when we say those kinds of things”. (Dami)
T/N: The phrase “just because you have a hole under your nose doesn’t mean it’s a mouth” is used to tell people to be careful of what they say.
The seven members all have different tastes, personalities, and values. Starting with the maknae Gahyeon (ISTP), SuA (ENTJ), JiU (ENFP), Dami (ISFJ), Siyeon (ENTP), Yoohyeon (ENFJ), and Handong (ISFP) all have different MBTI types. Yoohyeon said, “I think Dreamcatcher’s fictional world has helped our each of our members show their individuality”.
Their five-year-long career has changed Dreamcatcher very much. They succeeded in debuting as Dreamcatcher after overcoming the failure of their time as Minx (debuted in 2014). The members have come this far today after enduring their trainee days, the longest of which being half their lives. SuA said, “After our intense activities, I return to worrying about what new dream Dreamcatcher should dream of. By building these close friendships with my members after all this time, I feel like I’ve achieved everything. If there’s a bit more I can achieve, I’d want to know each and every one of my members a little better. That’s my wish”. (SuA)
Gahyeon said, “We’ve achieved a lot, but there’s even more I want to achieve. We debuted and gained many fans, but we haven’t hit the top yet. I want to hit the top, and I want to see what’s up there.” It is a new dream of theirs to enter the domestic music charts as well. “When we can’t enter the chart, I get depressed on the album release date when we should be happy. I want to enter the music chart”. (JiU)
“I think Dreamcatcher has gotten our chance thanks to many of our sunbaenims who have paved the way so nicely. I’m always thankful. I feel that music is a culture that transcends nationality and language. If many people around the world can relate to us and are happy after listening to us sing in Korean, I’m happy and satisfied with that”. (Siyeon)
They still have a long way to go. There is a bigger path that is waiting for Dreamcatcher. They also look towards the future far ahead of them. “We’re fairies related to dreams, you know.” JiU lowered her head and burst into real laughter at the mention of words that don’t fit their disposition or concept. “We’ve only expressed nightmares all this time, but we want to tell of other dreams like prosperous dreams or prenatal dreams”. Dami said something like a prediction. “I think we can become a girl group that lasts for a long time (laughs)”.
Translation by 7-Dreamers jiulily
Please do not take translation without credit