K-Pop — Dreamcatcher Recall
Dreamcatcher’s “Road to Utopia” Ends, Climbing An Idol Show Ladder To New Crossroads
Dreamcatcher’s 6th mini album promotions end, but not before show appearances and surprises cap off exciting news in early March 2021.
This past week saw the formal end of “Dystopia: Road to Utopia” promotions, as Dreamcatcher wrapped up fansigns but also ended up in a couple of new places to talk shop with some of the best-known idols in the industry serving as MCs. I’ll be writing a retrospective on these promotions, much as I did for BOCA’s, where I take a look back at all the achievements and fun moments of this early 2021 Dreamcatcher comeback. I hope you, my small but regular reader base, look forward to it.
For now though, we come to the end of the line for “Road to Utopia”. When it comes to K-Pop comebacks, they’re always a rush of frenetic activity and constant updates, and when they come to an end, it always feels like they’ve gone by so fast. It seemed like only yesterday that Dreamcatcher was kicking off their 6th mini album release on January 26th, and a little over a month and some change later, it’s soon to be another memory of Dreamcatcher growth coupled with iconic performances.
The end, however, was far from a fading away into the comeback schedule night for K-Pop’s well-known rock/pop girl group. Part of the reason for this were two highly-anticipated appearances by some of Dreamcatcher — one on Eric Nam’s long-running “K-Pop Daebak Show”, which just crested over 100 episodes (Dreamcatcher was episode 101) and the other on MAMAMOO Moonbyul’s relatively new endeavor on the Naver NOW network, “Studio Moon Night”.
On Eric’s show, the Korean-American idol veteran engaged Handong, Yoohyeon, and Dami on a variety of topics, including the storyline behind “Dystopia”, how the members handle being out and about on tour and in international places, and what they’d like to be working on in the future. Eric’s wanted Dreamcatcher on the show ever since he met them while hosting their Meet and Greet at KCON:TACT Season 2, and while it took several months to do so the appearance was well worth it. I’ve gone back through the “K-Pop Daebak Show” archives and it’s an excellent show, and friendly to international fans due to its tendency to conduct much of the dialogue in English.
Dreamcatcher’s episode was mostly in Korean (the video above has subtitles), but that didn’t stop viewers and listeners from being entertained and pleased with Eric drawing out everyone’s participation and allowing each member to provide some fun and insightful comments in response to his questions. I highly recommend you check it out if you haven’t already — if for anything else to see a normally reserved Dami flex a bit of her English skills and reveal not-so-subtly that she’s a fan of Eric’s, Yoohyeon talk about one of the group’s dream collaborations, and Handong reveal an interesting concept she’d like to try in the future.
MAMAMOO’s Moonbyul played host to a slightly different Dreamcatcher member mix, with SuA, Siyeon, Dami, and Gahyeon appearing on her Naver NOW show. This was a highly-anticipated interaction, in part due to it being an extremely long time since members of either group were seen together (more on that in a second), but also because of the fact that Moonbyul is an appropriate fit to interview Dreamcatcher. Like Dreamcatcher, Moonbyul, along with her fellow members in MAMAMOO, bucks many trends in K-Pop, from the normal expected “Korean idol beauty standard”, to musical style, to Moonbyul herself eschewing normal idol fashion, perception, and attitude to become successful (check out her single “Eclipse” for just one example of this). Much like Dreamcatcher (though on a much bigger scale), MAMAMOO and Moonbyul, in particular, have made their successful way on non-traditional approaches to the industry.
What some InSomnia might not know is that the last time that MAMAMOO interacted with anyone from Dreamcatcher was way back in 2015 when members of Dreamcatcher were, of course, in a much different concept as members of group MINX. If there were two groups that followed completely opposite trajectories from the time that this picture was taken, I’d be hard-pressed to find them, as MAMAMOO rocketed to success through raw vocal talent and high-visibility wins on popular shows such as the well-known classic song re-interpretation show “Immortal Songs”, earning them the moniker of “monster rookies” and huge popularity, while MINX, unfortunately, was lost in a crowd of girl groups with similar concepts. But most of you, I gather, know what happened from there.
It took a re-debut, a slow but rising bunch of momentum, and MAMAMOO’s manager playing them up constantly, but the road eventually led Dreamcatcher back to MAMAMOO, and it was well worth the wait for 90 minutes of fun. Moonbyul’s known for having high energy in her own group, but even she was surprised at how bright and hyped up Dreamcatcher was. It probably helped that part of the contingent who went included endlessly-energetic SuA, who gave Moonbyul a gift in the form of a candy necklace and, along with the other members, were loud and boisterous in response to most of Moonbyul’s questions and the show’s game of helping fans who had questions about life situations. If Byul is saying that A)she’d have trouble keeping up with Dreamcatcher on Karaoke night due to their energy and B)she felt that Dreamcatcher set the standard for hype level for future guests, I’d say they did something right.
MAMAMOO fansubbing group MoomooSubs is running a poll on which of Moonbyul’s recent episodes to subtitle into English, so if you want to hear more about Dreamcatcher’s appearance on the show, be sure to vote on Twitter.
I’ll be talking about this more in the retrospective, but it sure seems that even though it’s taken a while, Dreamcatcher’s fellow idols in the industry, many of whom MC or run shows regularly, appear to finally be taking notice of the determined girl group with the rock concept from a smaller company. It’s a veritable ladder of idol and radio shows that has been climbed this comeback and you love to see it.
In addition to the show appearances, we had Dreamcatcher continuing down previously traveled variety roads, and ROLLING’s “Transonglation”, where idols sing in multiple languages to their promoted music tracks, has always been one of the most fun to be on. This was Dreamcatcher’s 3rd appearance, but 1st with all seven members, with Handong finally joining the mix. True to their word from last time, ROLLING put out a literal buffet for the girls (there was even a chocolate fondue fountain), but also decided to lightly troll them a little by making them practice for the multi-lingual version of “Wind Blows” in varying tempos. I won’t spoil the outcome for you, but I would highly recommend checking out the video to see if Dreamcatcher makes it 3/3 for acing the challenge with Handong’s help.
The Idol Ground appearances continued on the NADOL channel as well, with main vocalist Siyeon getting into the hot seat to answer a few questions and talk about how far she’s come since her last time on the show. In particular, it was nice to see Siyeon have a bit more confidence in herself, which, if you’ve read my perspective on her recent success over the last year, should come as no surprise. On a side note, that bent fork in the preview is like that for a reason, and I’d encourage you all to check out the video to see why. Let’s just say I should hope never to make Siyeon mad.
Lastly, on the official front, we had some pretty significant happenings. Let’s start with the fun stuff first — Dreamcatcher’s release of the 15 million music video view reward for “Odd Eye”. After giving us previous comeback outfits and full-on zombie versions for prior promotions’ view rewards, I was curious to see what we’d see this time from the group. We had a bit of a more informal entry this time around, but one that was no less chaotic, as Dreamcatcher released a “random box” version of “Odd Eye” that involved the group playing a game to determine pick order for unknown costumes and props to wear while performing. This didn’t disappoint, especially when a couple of the costumes were revealed in particular. True to their professional form, Dreamcatcher still managed a hectic yet hilarious costume-filled performance of their latest title track, and it’s definitely worth checking out.
But the randomness of a costume performance wasn’t the only bit of chaos. The first of these happenings involved Dreamcatcher’s Lightstick, the first of its kind, and advertised well in advance that it would be open for sale on March 4th. InSomnia ready to open their wallets to pick up the reasonably-priced lightstick flooded the Official Dreamcatcher website, causing its performance to dip into the abyss and creating all kinds of slowdowns and crashes as fans struggled to pick up even one of the apparently 4700 (per an investigation into the item page’s source code) that were on sale. The lightstick was sold out in a matter of hours, and I would speculate that were the site able to remain stable it would have probably been within minutes.
This was obviously a good sign for the fandom’s growth and demand for a product that normally gets picked up by more hardcore followers of a group, but the site experience was so poor and the stock so small that it prompted a heartfelt apology from Dreamcatcher Company CEO (posted on their official fancafe on Daum and translated by Dreamcatcher fansite 7 Dreamers) for the site issues, along with a promise that they would restock by the end of March, along with the wizard-like robe that was supposed to also have been released. Responses like this are why I keep supporting the group and company — Dreamcatcher’s exponentially huge success over the past year makes fans forget sometimes that relative to the industry, Dreamcatcher is from a small company, with fewer avenues and financial flexibility to seek better partnerships and riskier business ventures such as higher initial lightstick production. Thankfully, most fans appeared to understand and appreciate the statement, and are more than willing to wait to get their hands on the merchandise, even as local fans in Korea are already receiving theirs.
It turns out that Dreamcatcher Company wanted to ship these lightsticks starting on March 5th for good reason, and that’s because they’re planning for their third online concert at the end of the month. While we’ve heard potential hints about a new concert on the horizon from members in snippets from vLives, I’d hazard a guess that very few people expected it to happen so soon, and also in the form that we’re getting. According to the concert’s event page on the MyMusicTaste website, the concert will span two nights, with one being a more acoustic/unplugged set while the other will be the rock-focused performance event that we’ve been seeing for the last two concerts. Both will be backed by a live band and feature new and fresh content from the group, with a mix-and-match set of pricing options that allow for plenty of choice in terms of concert consumption, merchandise, and more.
This was obviously huge and exciting news, but it also confirms what a recent Arirang K-Pop radio appearance revealed — that Dreamcatcher’s CEO told the group they were going to be very, very busy. Even though “Road to Utopia” promotions are now over, the next month or so will be absolutely consumed with preparations for a brief set at KCON:TACT Season 3, the ramp-up to their Japanese album release titled “Eclipse”, and now this two-night Dreamcatcher music performance, with all things that go with it (what will likely be subunit performances, new takes on old songs, and expected and new performances of Dreamcatcher’s growing discography).
Aside from all that, here’s some other bits of Dreamcatcher news you may have missed over the past week:
- Dreamcatcher’s upcoming “Eclipse” Japanese album release finally had the details about its normal and limited editions revealed, along with vendor-exclusive benefits. Of note, however, was that the unidentified new Japanese track on this album was revealed to be named “Don’t Light My Fire”, composed by the same person who did Dreamcatcher’s late 2020’s Japanese track “NO MORE”.
- Dreamcatcher had a fun little 7-member vLive where they talked about and watched a laughing compilation from Dreamcatcher content creator insomnicsy, spoiled that the self-made music video and 20 million view video were coming soon, and had a bit of fun playing the Mafia game again.
- The 4th Dreamcatcher’s Note video for their “Odd Eye” behind-the-scenes promotions was released, guaranteed to make you hungry as Gahyeon got into a large bunch of Baskin Robbins ice cream on her own, Handong makes sure that some fried chicken isn’t going to waste, and JiU chows down on some bread she discovered.
But if the members are to be believed, being this busy is just the way they like it. As long as they’re happy and the company is treating them well, then InSomnia, of course, are more than willing to reap the benefits of such a constant stream of content and appearances. We’ll likely see just the briefest of respites from said content over the next week, but I’m sure there’ll be plenty to report on as we end one road (to Utopia) and start off on the next one towards even more Dreamcatcher goodness. I’ll be here to recap next week, as usual, as we move towards the countdown to Crossroads.