Caption: Each of our members has an amazingly deep understanding of our songs
Members: JiU Yoohyeon Siyeon SuA Gahyeon Dami Handong
Featured on the April 2019 issue
Interviewer: Miho Takahashi
Dreamcatcher is a 7-member K-Pop girl group. They debuted in Korean on January 2017. They have also released ‘What -Japanese ver.-‘, their first Japanese single. We were curious about their ‘Nightmare’ concept, and about how their musical style centers around heavy rock sounds. As the group released their second Japanese single, ‘PIRI~Fue wo Fuke~-Japanese ver.-‘, we seized the chance to have Dreamcatcher appear for the first time on our magazine, and had a lengthy conversation with all of them.
–First, how was the ‘Nightmare’ concept, which you’ve been setting forth since your debut, born?
JiU: Our agency first came up with it, and it took shape while we talked about it together.
Gahyeon: We wanted to present a team color that would be different from other groups.
–You each have a Nightmare assigned to you. What do you think about them?
Gahyeon: I am ‘the dream where you fall from high places.’ In Korea, they say that having dreams where you fall from high places means that you’ll grow taller. So when I first heard it, I thought it got assigned to me because I’m on the shorter side within the group, to tell me to grow taller.
–I see. Another assigned Nightmare that I found interesting was Yoohyeon’s ‘dream where you wander unfamiliar places.’ How does Yoohyeon herself feel about it?
Yoohyeon: I think that the ‘unfamiliar places’ can also be understood in a non-physical sense, that the situation you find yourself in is completely unfamiliar. So it seemed very mystical to me.
–Were you each basically told that ‘this is your Nightmare’?
–And like the two members who already told us, you each have your own interpretations of them. Now, another unique trait of Dreamcatcher is its heavy musical style. Can you give us your thoughts about your style?
Siyeon: I’d liked rock even before becoming a member of Dreamcatcher. So I’m very passionate about our style.
–Which band do you like, Siyeon?
Siyeon: ONE OK ROCK….. (In Japanese) is a band I like.
–Oh! I’m happy that a you mentioned a Japanese band. Are there other members with Japanese artists they like?
ALL: (In unison) BABYMETAL!
-Oh! Do you all like rock a lot?
Siyeon: No, we like music, regardless of genre.
Gahyeon: During live performances, we often cover songs that each of us likes.
JiU: I like Mika Nakashima’s ‘Sakurairo mau koro’.
–There’s another thing that I’m curious about. You all dance on stage. How do you feel about dancing along to these heavy Rock sounds?
SuA: When I saw BABYMETAL’s performance, I thought it was amazing and novel, how a band would go on stage along with the dancing members. Still, since all 7 of us dance, I thought that to express our powerfulness, rock sounds would fit perfectly, like with BABYMETAL. I feel like it allows us to convey our spirit-filled performance to everyone.
–Among Korean groups that sing and dance, there are many that are ‘bright’ or ‘cute’, but groups that could be described as ‘heavy’ or ‘dark’ like yourselves are hard to come by. How do you feel about this uniqueness of yours?
SuA: I really like that about us. Still, we’re not just dark and chic. We have bright songs and we also show off our cute side. We are a group with many faces.
–Uh huh. I see that, especially now that I’ve met you in real life. So you’d like fans to see your various faces as well?
Dami: (In Japanese) We’ll do our best!
–Dreamcatcher has a deep world.
JiU: We’re immersed in it ourselves. (Laugh)
–When I watched the music video, I felt that a lot was being conveyed through your rich facial expressions. What do you think about as you perform?
JiU: Each of our members has an amazingly deep understanding of our songs. So we’re able to be completely absorbed in the world of the song. We carefully read the scenarios and have a deep internal understanding of the world we’re expressing. That shows in our facial expressions and gestures, I feel.
–Do you think about becoming the main character within the song, or something similar?
JiU: I think Dreamcatcher has two selves. For me, I have my original self, and myself as a Dreamcatcher member.
–Along with such deep elements, ‘PIRI~Fue wo Fuke~-Japanese ver.-‘ also contains parts that feel like cyphers that transcend borders. These parts, such as ‘Pirireul Burora’, ‘Pil-lil-lil’, make the song catchy. Do you want everyone to hum along to these parts, or to dance along to these parts?
Siyeon: Yes. We do say ‘this song is very addictive’ when we introduce the song…(In Japanese) The choreography is also easy to follow!
SuA: I want the song to be so widely known that people all over the world think of ‘Pil-lil-lil’ whenever they hear the sound of a flute.
“Pil-lil-lil” is Dreamcatcher’s signal as they attempt to escape the Nightmare
–I also felt that the musical style wasn’t just heavy rock anymore. It became more dancable and melodic, incorporating many elements that make it very trendy. Performance wise, the Raps are sharp around the edges, the vocals are gentle and sad, and it felt like there were many points of note within the song. Tell us how you felt after singing or rapping for the song.
Gahyeon: This time round, I tried out rapping for the first time. The thing that I kept in my mind the most was ‘the attack’.
Siyeon: (Gesturing) That beating feeling?
Gahyeon: (Laugh) In terms of the vocals, I was given directions to perform certain parts sweetly, sadly, and the like. I kept those in mind.
SuA: Regarding the vocals, I tried to avoid simply following the letters and paid a lot of attention to the pronunciation and the like, so that the listeners wouldn’t get bored.
JiU: ‘Pil-lil-lil’ isn’t a real word in Korean, either. It is Dreamcatcher’s signal that we send as we attempt to escape the Nightmare. We talked a lot and put a lot of thought into how we would do the song, saying ‘Doesn’t this feel better?’
-You sang in Japanese for this single. Was there anything that you found difficult or ended up liking?
Siyeon: I found ‘If you could hug me (抱きしめてほしい)’ from PIRI very memorable. The lyrics mean the same thing in the Korean version as well. I closed my eyes and imagined that nobody was left, that I was the only one left behind. The emotions that I felt from that are still with me.
Dami: I’m the main rapper of the group. In Japanese, you have to use more syllables compared to the Korean version no matter what, so it was a challenge to say the lyrics clearly.
SuA: Also, in Korean, there are sounds called ‘Badchim (Stop consonant)’, so a syllable can end with a consonant. In Japanese, all syllables end with vowels. Because of that, the song feels somewhat different. So I thought maybe the song was going to sound off. But when I heard the finished track, I realized that it had it’s own unique feel to it.
–So each version has its strong suits.
–When I hear something like that, I want to compare the song to the Korean version.
SuA: They’ll give you slightly different impressions, I think.
–I also listened to ‘GOOD NIGHT-Japanese ver.-‘, and ‘Wonderland-Japanese ver.-‘ on the B-side. It was clear that you were trying out diverse styles of music. Please tell us if there were points that you found difficult or liked while singing the Japanese version.
Handong: ‘Wonderland-Japanese ver.- is a very mystical song. It makes you feel like you’re inside something infinite. It felt fresh for us too while we were singing it.
SuA: I always thought that a Japanese version of ‘GOOD NIGHT’ would allow us to convey our charm even better. And then we did it, and it really was like that. I think it’ll be a real crowd pleaser at concerts as well.
Gahyeon: Yeah. It’s a song that works well in Japanese too.
JiU: The lyrics for it were suprisingly easy to pronounce.
SuA: We re-recorded the rap part for the Japanese version. As I listened to the song, I realized that my tone for the rap part was lower compared to the original Korean version. The fans liked it, so I got totally pumped. (Laugh)
–GOOD NIGHT-Japanese ver.-‘ is deep, but also includes cute parts like ‘Tik tok tik tok’.
Dami: That part was really challenging. In Korean, it’s 4 syllables, but in Japanese, it becomes 8.
–I see! What impression do you have about Japan and Japanese fans?
Siyeon: (In Japanese) They’re cute! It feels like there’s a lot of shy middle aged ladies, and it’s cute. But it’s not like we can see them every day. When they see us for the first time in a long time, some fans burst into tears from joy. It hurts to see that. I want to come to Japan to meet with them as often as possible.
JiU: Even in concerts, as soon as we go on stage, the Japanese fans stand up and listen to us. They don’t sit down until the members tell them to. They’re that respectful towards us.
–You have been active not only in Korea and Japan, but world wide. K-POP is also drawing world-wide attention. Dreamcatcher, within just two years since debut, is building up some impressive records, such as reaching 5th place in the iTunes World Album chart. How do you feel about it?
Gahyeon: It doesn’t feel real.
SuA: I keep thinking, ‘really? THE iTunes that I know?’ (Laugh)
–(Laugh) Still, you probably do hope that people from around the world would listen to, and dance along to your songs, right?
All: Of course.
–I’ll look forward to your activities, not only in Japan, but world-wide. Lastly, please send Japanese fans a message!
Yoohyeon: Soon, we’re going to be holding concerts in Tokyo on May 2nd and in Kobe on May 4th as a part of our Asia Tour, ‘INVITATION FROM NIGHTMARE CITY’. To meet your expectations, we’re doing our best to prepare for them. We’ll be glad if lots of you come to play with us.