K-Pop — Dreamcatcher Recall

Dreamcatcher’s Expansion In Japan, Return to vLive, and December Gear-Up

Dreamcatcher ends November 2020 ticking off a long-awaited checkbox in Japan and remains busy heading into December.

Dreamcatcher poses after their latest fansign for Dystopia: Lose Myself. Twitter credit: hf_dreamcatcher

Expanding into new territory for themselves appears to be the name of the game for Dreamcatcher heading into the last month of the year. Never content to sit on the laurels of their proven success, the news from this past week seemed to point to the group finally getting to a place fans have wanted them to go since their debut in 2017.

In some ways, it’s possible this was subtly signaled in some of the group’s recent individual activities. Siyeon got out of her prior rock-based OSTs and covers singing an emotional, plaintive-sounding ballad for a revenge drama. SuA had a very not-so-loud-SuA ballad cover of her own. Dami broke her dry spell of special clips with an all-vocal cover of well-known track “Rockabye”. And of course, Dreamcatcher’s latest Japanese release, “No More”, featured an anime-style lyric video with a manga artist depicting a strong-willed character fighting back against online hate commentary.

King’s Raid Anime image. Twitter credit: jp_dreamcatcher

That last one was probably something that Insomnias should have maybe picked up on as a hint as to what was coming next, as the official Japanese Dreamcatcher account shared the exciting news that Dreamcatcher would get to provide the OP track for the back half of the current “King’s Raid” anime series. Needless to say, the reaction from the fandom (and perhaps from the girls themselves) was something like “finally!”.

I’ve been following the group since early 2017, right after 2nd title track “GOOD NIGHT”, and even then, people in the small, but growing fandom that would eventually be known as Insomnia wanted Dreamcatcher to sing an anime opening track. The fast-paced, rock style combined with their fantasy/horror aesthetic from the nightmare series of title tracks is one that fans say naturally lends itself to the now-signature quick cuts and dramatic, wind-blown character shots that typify most anime openings. And it obviously doesn’t hurt that anime fans sometimes identify with a series in part based on that hard-hitting, energetic OP, and get interested in an artist or group who sings it as a result.

Dreamcatcher x LiSA mashup, featuring “Chase Me”, “GOOD NIGHT”, and “Crossing Field”. YouTube credit: Miggy Smallz

All you have to do to prove this is lookup “Dreamcatcher AMV” on YouTube and find the myriad of results that come up from fans who believe it’s a perfect marriage of styles. The mashup I’ve linked above is just one such entry. The best part is that if “King’s Raid” is familiar-sounding to you, it should be — the mobile game of the same name developed by Vespa is the very collaboration that Dreamcatcher Company engaged in to produce now-iconic late 2019 title track “Deja Vu”.

Vespa’s Lyric Animation video for “Deja Vu” by Dreamcatcher. YouTube credit: KING’s RAID Official

I know that some fans were a little bit skeptical about Dreamcatcher Company’s decision to collaborate with a mobile game developer on a title track, but the results basically show they knew exactly what they were doing. Looking at the numbers and the wide-ranging appeal of the song itself (a more hybridized version of Dreamcatcher sound that continues to this day), this was likely the beginning of Dreamcatcher’s solidification in the mid-tier of K-Pop groups and part of the reason Dreamcatcher has enjoyed an exponential rise in fandom and awareness in 2020.

When we look back at the group’s history, I’d daresay this collaboration will end up being a watershed moment for them. Getting to sing the Japanese language OP for a portion of the “King’s Raid” anime episodes (currently titled “Eclipse” and not to be confused by the absolute banger of a track of the same name by MAMAMOO’s Moonbyul) is the checkbox that Dreamcatcher maybe doesn’t get to tick off if they don’t set up this collaboration. I’m really looking forward to it and the new fans that will no doubt get curious about Dreamcatcher because of the song.

SuA and Performance Director Hwang Sooyeon rock out on vLive. YouTube credit: insomnicsy | Original vLive

But it’s not like Dreamcatcher didn’t get back to familiar territory this past week, either, and that showed up in the form of them returning to semi-regular vLives. We haven’t seen much of them on the platform — perhaps in part because the vLive app changed its interface, and perhaps also because they’ve just been busy with what they have coming up next — but it was nice to see a couple of appearances nevertheless. The highlight of these was most definitely SuA and Performance Director/Choreographer Hwang Sooyeon performing an impromptu singing and dancing mini-concert for the audience.

We’ve seen Hwang Sooyeon on vlive before (briefly), and that short exchange was likely only a sneak preview of what the group’s (and main dancer SuA in particular) relationship is like with her. From official content it seems they’re quite close, but seeing Hwang Sooyeon basically turn out to be A)the third member of “Loudcatcher” (with SuA and Gahyeon being the other two members), B)likely as funny, laid-back, and chaotic as the girls themselves and C)get to showcase that she’s got plenty of her own singing talent to go with her iconic choreography chops was a nice treat for vLive.

But perhaps just in case you weren’t sure about how good Sooyeon is even after that vLive, perhaps the video below from her time in contest/idol survival show Produce 101 might convince you.

Hwang Sooyeon-focused performance of 4 Minute’s “Hot Issue” from Produce 101. YouTube credit: Mnet Official

While she eventually decided to go the behind-the-scenes route rather than the idol route after her long period as a trainee at Happyface Entertainment (now Dreamcatcher Company), the K-Pop industry’s loss is Dreamcatcher’s gain. We can hopefully look forward to more vLives featuring the mastermind behind Dreamcatcher’s now-iconic recent choreography.

Untact Live Concert announcement, featuring Dreamcatcher. Twitter credit: hf_dreamcatcher

But of course, it wouldn’t be a Dreamcatcher Recall without hearing about something that the group has upcoming, and we discovered that in December, Dreamcatcher will end the year with at least one more concert appearance with Interpark and MixChannel alongside four other artists or groups. Dreamcatcher’s the only girl group in the mix, and for a 100-minute show, that means we may get at least a 20 minute-ish set from Dreamcatcher (certainly enough for both of the Dystopia title tracks and just a couple from their vast catalog of b-sides for both albums). Fair warning that this is a ticketed event costing money, and unlike KMDF, MU:CON, or other appearances the group has made, there will be no VOD put up afterwards. It’s definitely your choice if you want to take advantage of what will be (especially in these pandemic-laden times) one of Dreamcatcher’s last performance appearances of the year.

Dami, Handong, Siyeon, and Gahyeon pose for the camera with new looks. Twitter credit: hf_dreamcatcher

You never know, though — we could get one more surprise from the group. The picture I started this recap with featured brand new hair colors or styles for all seven members (with Gahyeon’s bright purple, Yoohyeon’s dark green, and JiU’s return to “GOOD NIGHT” era pink streaks being the ones that stuck out to me). Speculation is already rampant as to the timing of their next comeback given the new looks, and while both “Scream” and “BOCA” had around a 1-month lead time between new hair colors/styles and the release of title tracks, it’s my opinion that we won’t see the third installment of Dreamcatcher’s “Dystopia” series until sometime next year (January, or February). History from the last few years appears to support this:

  • 2018 — “You and I” (May, delayed from March), “What” (September)
  • 2019 — “PIRI” (February), “Deja Vu” (September)
  • 2020 — “Scream” (February), “BOCA” (August)
  • 2021 — ???

Will we see an announcement in December that Dreamcatcher will ring in the new year with a trip to “Utopia”, as JiU has constantly referred to for their next release? Might it be a surprise holiday present instead? Nobody knows for now, but you can bet I’ll be here to report on it either way.

See you next week, fellow Insomnias!

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Frank Sanchez

Lifetime geek dual-wielding in the tech and games industries for over a decade. Builder of walls of text. Shameless Asian pop lover.