Sept 2018 Natalie Music Interview: Japan debut

Caption: The unique K-Pop girl group burdened with the ‘Nightmare’ debuts in Japan




The unique K-Pop girl group burdened with the ‘Nightmare’ debuts in Japan

Dreamcatcher, a Korean 7-member girl group, is set to release ‘What-Japanese ver.-‘ on November 21st through Pony Canyon. Dreamcatcher debuted on January of last year, and has been promoting while presenting ‘nightmare’ as their concept and adopting a heavy rock style as their characteristic. Music Natalie interviewed the 7 members, and asked them about the lead track of their single, which is the Japanese version of ‘What’, the lead track of their 3rd mini album, ‘Alone in The City’. We also asked them about the characteristics of the group as well as the personality of each member. There is a relationship chart of the members inside the article.


Interview, text: Onoda Masaru Photography: Tsukahara Takaaki Interpretation: Hwang Ja-seon


A group that emphasizes the coolness and strength of women

—First, could you explain Dreamcatcher’s concept, and what the group’s characteristics are?

Siyeon: I think a distinct trait that no other K-Pop group shares is how we set forth Heavy Metal sounds prominently.

JiU: The music videos are also uniquely made, and include storytelling elements.



Siyeon: The music videos for every song we’ve released so far are connected.

Sua: The theme of the overall story is “nightmare”, and the story continues to unfold little by little.


—What kind of story has been unfolded up till now?

JiU: Girls who were living in a peaceful world exterminate a spider, making the spider god angry. In the story, the girls are cursed and are burdened with Nightmares.

Gahyeon: Have you heard of the talisman called dreamcatcher?


—It’s the one with the feathers hanging from a ring.

Gahyeon: That’s right! Dreamcatchers are talismans made by Native Americans to chase out nightmares.  It’s said that the spider god gave it to a boy who saved a spider. But us members who killed the spider, on the other hand, were cursed with the nightmares.


—It’s filled with fantasy elements.

Dami: It is. It’s a very sad fantasy.

Yoohyeon: Among the numerous girl groups with shiny concepts in K-Pop, I think we are unique in that we emphasize the strong and cool side of women.


—The ‘Nightmare’ concept is definitely an unusual one in the K-Pop scene. What did you think when you were first told of this concept?

Sua:  It was a genre without a precedent, so I was worried, thinking ‘Can we do this well?’ But once we actually started promoting, we were able to absorb it more smoothly than I thought.


—By the way, were there times where you went ‘This is a nightmare!’ during everyday life?

Siyeon: When I couldn’t find my passport at the airport was a real nightmare…

JiU: That was flustering. We  said ‘first, let’s search for it together’, but Sua had Siyeon’s passport for some reason.

Sua: I couldn’t understand it myself. It was like, ‘Why do I have this?’ It’s the biggest mystery in Dreamcatcher history. (Laugh)

Gahyeon: Though it’s cliched, it was when I lost my cell phone. It’d be bad if my phone got lost or broken, so I always keep it in a sturdy case.


The Leader loves dad jokes

—From here on out, I want to hear more about the personality of each member. Can each member be introduced by the other 6 members? Let’s start with the leader, JiU.

Yoohyeon: JiU is a model leader for the group. You could say that she presses the places that need to be pressed. She cares takes care of each member mentally as well. She is always carefully watching what state the other 6 members are in.

Handong: I also think that she’s a very positive person. When such a person stands in the front, it encourages the whole group.

Sua: Though she likes dad jokes a lot. (Laugh)

Siyeon: Every joke she tells is old. She only tells jokes that were popular a long time ago. They’re not upgraded to newer versions at all. (Laugh)

Caption: What she’s interested in these days

I’m interested in studying how to look sexy.  (Laugh) -JiU


—(Laugh) Let’s keep going like this. Next, Sua.

JiU: Sua is fun to be around! Unlike me, her jokes aren’t outdated either. (Laugh)

Dami: She’s also mischievous. For example, there are times where she’ll point at nothing and shout ‘ah!’ I wish she’d stop doing that. (Laugh)

Gahyeon: Dance, vocals, rap… Sua has great performance skills all round. She’s good at everything, and is charismatic, too.

Siyeon: To give you some information that even the fans don’t know, her hands and feet are tiny! They’re like a baby’s. (Laugh) What was your shoe size again?

Sua: 22cm! They’re not baby sized. They’re about the size of an elementary schooler’s at most. (Laugh)


The first member that fans think of, Siyeon

—Moving on, please introduce Siyeon.

Gahyeon: I often ask Siyeon for advice about vocals. She always tries to give me all the knowledge she has. She’s very kind and I rely on her.

Yoohyeon: When you talk to someone who knows Dreamcatcher, Siyeon would probably be the first member they think of. It feels like she fits our concept that well. She’s also the main vocal.

Handong: She takes impeccable care of herself. In both regulating her diet and maintaining her figure, she’s really perfect!

Sua: Siyeon has a definite style of her own. She selects clothes that suit her well as her everyday wear as well.


Caption: What she’s interested in these days

I search for songs that fit autumn well, and relax while listening to them.


Dami: Yeah. She usually likes to wear Hip-hop style clothes.

JiU: You know how when you describe someone’s face, you use expressions like ‘dog-like’ face, ‘cat-like’ face? Like that, I think Siyeon’s face could be called ‘wolf-like’, or ‘coyote-like’. She gives off a chic, cool impression but actually likes to joke around and laughs a lot too.


Off stage, Handong is a complete angel

—Handong is the only Chinese member.

Handong: Yes.

Siyeon: Handong truly is an angelic being. Even though Dreamcatcher is a group with the ‘nightmare’ concept, Handong is a complete angel off stage. (Laugh)

Sua: What I find amazing about her is how considerate she is. It’s to the point where I think ‘Could anyone be more considerate?’ She is a person that keeps everyone in mind. On top of that, she’s friendly and fun to be with!

Siyeon: To sum up Handong’s presence on stage in one sentence, she’s elegant! She moves like how water flows.

Gahyeon: She is graceful. Such elegance.


—Next up is Yoohyeon.

Dami: Yoohyeon is a practice-aholic. She takes lessons very diligently, so I always think that I need to learn that from her. Another thing that I’m envious about Yoohyeon is that she doesn’t gain weight despite eating! It’s unfair. (Laugh)

Siyeon: First off, Yoohyeon is nice! Since she compliments my straight long hair and tells me that it’s pretty. (Laugh)

JiU: I think it’s charming how though she seems innocent, she displays sexy expressions from time to time.

Sua: She also watches Youtube often, so she’s very aware of recent trends. Performance-wise, she gets what she’s learnt done accurately.  She’s fundamentally diligent.

Caption: What she’s interested in these days

I like window shopping. I also often shop online. -Yoohyeon


Of self-proclaimed lovely personality, Gahyeon

—Next up, what kind of member is Dami?

Yoohyeon: Dami is almost like a chameleon. Dreamcatcher has songs in many different musical styles. But regardless of which track it is, she seems to blend into the music and makes it her own.

Sua: We often learn from how Dami performs on stage.

Siyeon: About her personality, first and foremost, Dami is kind. She’s someone who takes care of people!

Handong: She’s not the type that talks a lot, but is the member that does what she needs to do quietly. She’s trusted by everyone.


—Lastly, the Maknae, Gahyeon.

Siyeon: First off, Gahyeon is filled with aegyo! She seems to give off aegyo without effort in everyday life. (laugh)

Dami: Being the maknae, she often acts all child-like to others. She is the one with the self-proclaimed lovely personality after all. (Laugh)

Gahyeon: Saying it’s self-proclaimed…That’s harsh. (Laugh)

Caption: What she’s interested in these days

As the maknae of the group, I’ve been interested in looking for places where I can spend a relaxing time with the other members.  –Gahyeon


Yoohyeon: But she listens carefully to what other members have to say.

Sua: Not only is Gahyeon friendly, she’s also smart. I’ve heard that she even got first place in the entire school on a test once.

Gahyeon: Uhuhu… I’m most confident in Math.


Dreamcatcher member relationship chart


The emotions contained in each word of the lyrics are real

—On November 21st, your Japanese debut single ‘What-Japanese ver.-‘ is to be released. The lead track of the single is going to be the Japanese version of ‘What’, the lead track from your 3rd Korean mini album, ‘Alone in The City’. What are the points of note within the track?

Yoohyeon: First, vocal-wise, I think you can enjoy the distinct voices of all seven of us.

Sua: This was the first time we recorded in Japanese. We tried our best, but there may be places where the pronunciation and such don’t sound quite right. Still, the emotions contained in each word of the lyrics are real, so I’d like everyone to feel those emotions.


—Was the recording challenging?

JiU: Yes. It was challenging as expected. It took longer to record than the Korean version.

Siyeon: Unlike in dialogue, there are accents and tempos in a song. I found that pretty difficult. ‘Sing this part in a weak accent’, and other nuances like that were challenging to express. Still, it makes me very happy to think that the Japanese version of our song may be put in karaokes.


—Have you ever felt any differences between Japanese and Korean fans?

Dami: Korean fans seem to feel uneasy if they don’t get everything recorded. So, when we are on stage, they all turn their smartphones towards us. Japanese fans, on the other hand, don’t begin filming until they are told that ‘photography is allowed.’

Caption: What she’s interested in these days

I recently got a new phone, so it’s been fun searching for cute cases and decorating it. –Dami


—Korea definitely has a well-developed fancam culture.

Gahyeon: What surprised me when I saw our Japanese fans was how all of our guests sincerely listened to our song. I felt that they didn’t just want to shout out, ‘wah-!’, and that sincerely listening to music was firmly established as a culture.

Sua: They definitely have different styles for cheering for us, but I think Korean and Japanese fans are identical in that they passionately love Dreamcatcher.


Sua loves sunagimo

—Does everyone have Japanese artists they like?

Sua: For me, it’s Arashi.

Sua: ONE OK ROCK for me! They also utilize hard rock sounds like Dreamcatcher.

Yoohyeon: Though she’s not an artist, I’ve come to like the actress Komatsu Nana while watching movies.


—I see. There are a lot of K-Pop artists who say they look forward to the food the most when they come to Japan. Is Dreamcatcher similar?

JiU: I’m the same. The best is definitely Sushi!

Yoohyeon: Wagyu(Black cow beef) is also the best!

Sua: For me, it’s sunagimo (Chicken gizzard)!


—Sunagimo?! Where did you eat it?

Sua: I wanted to try it even before coming to Japan, but there really wasn’t a chance to try it. But yesterday, I came across it in a convenience store! Even the sunagimo from a convenience store felt amazingly delicious. I thought, ‘it really is different in Japan’. (Laugh)


—There are a lot of Japanese-style Izakayas in Seoul as well these days.

Sua: That’s true, but the Japanese-style Izakayas in Seoul don’t serve Sunagimo for some reason.

Handong: Then how did you come to know sunagimo’s existence?

Sua: My dad cooked it for me once. He bought raw chicken gizzard and cooked it at home. I also helped him with the preparations. There are sunagimo dishes in Korea as well, but they seem to be cooked differently.

Caption: What she’s interested in these days

These days, I’ve been really into searching for places that I want to travel to. –SuA


Handong: Since coming to Japan, I was moved by how delicious Gomadare (Sesame sauce) was!


—Do you mean the Gomadare salad dressing?

Handong: No, the sauce that you dip shabu-shabu in. I went to eat shabu-shabu with our staff and members, and it was so good that I ended up getting the Gomadare refilled 5 times. (Laugh)

Siyeon: I’ve always liked Tamagoyaki (Japanese egg rolls). Korean egg rolls have a lot of vegetables in them and are inflated softly. But the Japanese egg rolls are sweet and are delicious in a different way. They are the best! I love both of them.


There is nobody better than her in cooking ‘Ichiran’ instant ramen

—The seven of you are living in the same dormitory. Do you cook for yourselves?

Sua: We do cook various things, but the food that we get to cook overwhelmingly often is Ramen. Yoohyeon in especially great at it. There’s probably nobody better than her in cooking ‘Ichiran’ instant ramen!

Yoohyeon: We buy ‘Ichiran’ instant ramen in bulk in Japan, and eat them little by little in Korea. The important point is putting the powder soup base in before the water begins to boil. The taste definitely gets a lot better if you do.

Dami: Other than ramen, we’ve also made Vietnamese Spring rolls often.


—Has Hadong ever treated everyone to Chinese food?

Gahyeon: I don’t think she’s done that. She has cooked some herself and eaten it on her own, though. (Laugh)

Handong: I like hot pots. I put plenty of spices in my hot pots, but there are members that can’t eat spicy foods. So I use a small pot that take single helpings to cook hot pot and eat it alone.

Caption: What she’s interested in these days

I’ve been focusing on skin care. Off days are especially important. I need to let my skin properly rest…


Sua: I haven’t cooked sunagimo, as you’d expect. (Laugh) But I have cooked abalone at our dorm.

—Abalone is a luxury ingredient in Japan.

Sua: Actually, my aunt is an abalone trader. (Laugh) But the kitchen is difficult to use in our current dormitory, so I can’t do serious cooking. That’s bothersome.


We want to appeal to the Japanese audience with a strong heart

—You’ve visited Japan a few times now. Has your Japanese improved?

Siyeon: No, not yet. But I did memorize ‘ukeru (受ける: receive, accept)’ recently. Sadly, it’s still difficult to accept our leader’s dad jokes. (Laugh)

JiU: I’ve memorized ‘kidoku suru- (Already read)’. This Japanese word got memorized naturally while using KakaoTalk.

Sua: I first heard of the gag ‘Hyokkori han’ in Japan.


—Hyokkori han isn’t really a gag. It’s the name of a Japanese comedian. (Laugh)

Handong: The Japanese I memorized is ‘tokimeku (ときめく: for the heart to throb)’.


—Oh, finally, a word that befits an idol. What recently made your heart throb, Handong?

Handong: These days, every day makes my heart throb, since we’re meeting Japanese fans…

JiU: A perfect answer. (Laugh)


—Right now, You are visiting many different parts of Japan for promotions. Is there a place that you’d like a visit? (The interview was held in mid-October)

Yoohyeon: Disneyland!

Gahyeon: Hot springs! I want to visit hot springs in Hokkaido.

Handong: Universal Studio Japan! It’s in Osaka.

Siyeon: I want to go shopping in WEGO~

JiU: Okinawa is also great. The sea is pretty. Since we’re debuting in Japan, I want to visit many different places!


—Lastly, please tell us about your attitude towards your Japanese debut.

JiU: In order to promote properly in Japan, for now, we’re just going to do our absolute best. We’re going to come together and appeal to Japanese audiences with a strong heart!

Siyeon: It’d be great if we could hear our songs being played while walking around shopping in the streets of Japan. We’ll study hard and work hard to make that happen.

Dami: We’ve just come from Korea, so our pronunciation and word selection may seem off to Japanese audiences. But it’s a first new step for us Dreamcatcher, so please watch over us kindly!

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