CEO Lee Joo Won of Happyface Entertainment recently sat down for an interview with Star News, where he talked about DreamCatcher’s debut and non-mainstream concept, and shared an update on the company’s plans to debut a boy group with Woo Jin Young.

Lee Joo Won began the interview by talking about DreamCatcher’s debut. He shared, “Prior [to their debut], members JiU, SuA, Siyeon, Yoohyeon, and Dami promoted as the five-member group MINX. Gahyeon and Handong weren’t a part of the group then. When we launched MINX, K-pop girl groups had similar styles at the time. The majority of visual concepts were generally cute, lively, or innocent. There were concepts with school uniforms as well, so MINX promoted with a lively concept fitting the trend.”

He continued, “However, the market had become too much of a ‘red ocean’ [when opportunities for profit decrease due to a crowded market]. Since competition was fierce, we didn’t get results. We thought that we wouldn’t be able to see the light with this kind of concept, so we thought a lot for a long time. Eventually, we changed tracks. We came to the decision that we should do concepts that others weren’t doing. We decided internally to try again with a girl group style that didn’t exist in Korea, a girl group concept that didn’t happen very often. The five members of MINX, at the time of their debut, had all received praise, and had had a long trainee period. Because they were talented, we were confident that they would be able to take on any concept.”

When asked what kind of style the group had ended up going with, Lee Joo Won answered, “The point of launching DreamCatcher was doing ‘what others don’t do.’ To show a clear change, we added the youngest member Gahyeon and Chinese member Handong. We decided on a darker concept and a non-mainstream music style after discussion. We went with a slightly fierce kind of music, but it was different than ‘girl crush.’ If we had to put a genre on it, you could say it had a rock base with a pop-metal style. On top of that, we put on a nightmarish view of the world.”

Lee Joo Won was then asked to evaluate the group’s influence in Japan. He explained, “To be honest, I don’t think there’s a lot of big change in mainstream K-pop girl groups’ music. I think the mainstream is the cute, lively, innocent concepts which TWICE or Apink show. Because of their activities, fans abroad have gotten used to mainstream music. As DreamCatcher’s music is not mainstream, fans abroad will find it unfamiliar. Japanese fans still recognize DreamCatcher’s music as not mainstream there. However, we believe that the group’s style of music can become mainstream abroad, and are working hard to promote there. DreamCatcher is currently preparing for their upcoming November debut in Japan.”

On the group’s other fans abroad, he commented, “We’ve already successfully concluded concerts in South America and Europe. We have fans from Brazil, Columbia, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Portugal, Spain, and more. They empathize with and support DreamCatcher’s world view.”

Lee Joo Won then spoke about the group’s promotions with their latest comeback. He compared their new album with their previous title track “You and I,” explaining that while “You and I” expressed a fantasy-like nightmare with an older setting, their new concept portrayed a nightmare about the stress that everyone goes through in modern times. He said that the album signals the end and start of a new chapter, one where they could empathize and communicate with people, while still maintaining the character that they’ve had since their debut. He added that their music style is more energetic, and laughed as he said that the atmosphere in their music video is brighter than before but still not very bright.

When asked what kind of girl group he wants DreamCatcher to be, he replied, “I personally want DreamCatcher to be a girl group that does a lot of concerts. I hope they grow to become a girl group focused on performances. In terms of a goal, I hope that they become a girl group that can hold performances in a concert venue with 20,000 people.”

Lee Joo Won concluded by talking about other idol groups. He shared, “Currently, we’re preparing to launch a new boy group. I think Woo Jin Young, who placed No. 1 on JTBC’s ‘MIXNINE,’ will be included. They are practicing with the goal of debuting in 2019.”

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