Among the K-Pop idols currently in existence, Dreamcatcher is the one team that touts the most novel musicality, which sets them apart. This 7-member team utilizes Rock+Heavy Metal colored electric guitar melody lines as their basis to express dark, heavy themes. In this way, they have built up a dedicated fanbase, centered overseas rather than domestically.
With their <Nightmare> series, starting in 2017 and spanning 3 years, they have presented fantasy-horror themed music videos and well-defined dance performances, not even giving a glance to love songs. While the K-Pop market moves towards well-defined fandoms, Dreamcatcher has almost made a genre for themselves.
The <Dystopia> series they launched last year enchanted fans with an even more intense musicality that is almost an expansion of their previous world-setting. Their first studio album <Dystopia : The Tree of Language>(Released February 2020) and its lead track ‘Scream’ portrays hatred towards a person (i.e. witch hunts or hate comments) through allegories, incorporating the scream of the attacked and oppressed in its well-defined rock sounds.
On the other hand, the followup release, the lead track ‘BOCA’ of their 5th mini album < Dystopia : Lose Myself >(Released August 2020) incorporates Moombahton, a ‘trendy’ genre that seems far removed from Dreamcatcher’s previous sound, bringing in change. They touch on the damage done by hurtful language and depict the desperate despair of modern man.
Dystopia’s final iteration, built in ‘Nu Metal’
In the third installment of ‘Dystopia, < Dystopia : Road to Utopia >, released on the 26th, they announce the last phase of the oppression and hate depicted throughout ‘Scream’ and ‘BOCA’.
The intense ring of the electric guitar that has symbolized Dreamcatcher is still there, but the utilization of the sound shows big changes. Instead of the fast, sprinting style of the past, we find a structure that is close to Nu-Metal(A crossover style of metal that incorporates alternative rock and hip hop elements). This lets one know they lay stress on Dreamcatcher’s trademark style of utilizing low-tone rap parts. With Siyeon, who has borne a large part of the team’s songs, at the center, the other members such as Yoohyeon and Sua manage to put in vocal performances that hit more deeply emotionally than ever before. Add to that a powerful and skillful performance that would put a lot of boy groups to shame, and the team does well in a hip-hop style track as well.
‘Odd Eyes’, often used in anime to set a character apart from the others, denotes the two different views of objects in the track. The bitter lyrics which depict a search for a utopia, containing ideals and hope, and the realization that reality is just the opposite, is a fitting end to the <Dystopia> series.
The next track, ‘Wind Blows’, connects the EDM of the first half and the rock – Dreamcatcher’s trademark – of the second half, counteracting some of the darkness of ‘Odd Eye’. Yet in ‘Poison Love’, they take up a restrained synth style. Even in a short album, they do all they can to present a diverse tracklist.
Acquiring a passionate fanbase: A dedicated producer team + well-defined themes
Dreamcatcher could pursue Rock Metal sounds, a genre outside the mainstream in today’s world, in no small part thanks to the solid direction of their agency and the ability of the team’s dedicated producers, Ollounder and LEEZ. Starting with the debut track ‘Chase Me’, to ‘PIRI’ and ‘You and I’, the pair has created almost all of the team’s lead tracks. Even in the B-sides, the Ollounder-LEEZ duo’s composition and lyric contributions take up a large portion.
In today’s K-Pop industry, where collaborating with overseas composers has become common, this is perhaps an unusual choice. Still, in terms of providing musical consistency, it became an ideal choice for Dreamcatcher. Thanks to the pair’s work, Dreamcatcher has navigated the girl group market where approachable, light images abound, while presenting a dark image that goes further than many boy groups. They have thus slowly cut out a fanbase for themselves. Domestically, some still feel that they are strange, difficult to approach. However, the fact that they have created a team color that nobody else could achieve while managing to grow continuously serves as a model case in this industry where only the fittest survive.
Though they faced difficulties, having made their first debut as a 5-member group called Minx in 2014. They failed to make much headway, and the team was reformed into the Dreamcatcher we know today. Still, after a hard march that went through Europe, Latin America, and other continents, the 7-member team is now a good model of K-Pop reaching overseas audiences.
Last year, they grew enough to see an album(Dystopia: Lose Myself) sell nearly 100,000 copies alone (99,746 copies on the Gaon charts), which is comparable to popular girl groups of the day. With their new track ‘ODD EYE’, the future that faces Dreamcatcher this year is sure to be an ‘Utopia’.
Source [Reporter Kim Sang-hwa]
Translation by 7-Dreamers Hojoon
Please do not take translation without credit.