Austin band Dream Machine dropped from label following ‘ugly opinions’ on immigration, feminism

Photo via Dream Machine

‘[W]e know in our hearts that we aren’t racists or fascists.’

Austin-based metal band Dream Machine has been dropped from Castle Face Records following “ugly opinions” on ICE, immigration, feminism, and sexual assault, according to a statement from the label posted to Facebook Friday.

Dream Machine is made up of Matthew Melton, who previously played with Warm Soda, and his wife Doris. The couple commented on hot-button topics in an interview last month with Still in Rock, a French webzine.

The interviewer asked the band to “criticize something about the music world,” and Doris Melton pointed to “horrible feminist bands.”

“They’ll make songs about being ‘sexually assaulted’ or about how ‘empowering’ abortions are or some shit and it’s fucking retarded, they’re embarrassing themselves,” Melton said in the interview.

Matt Jones, who runs Castle Face Records out of California along with John Dwyer from rock outfit Thee Oh Sees, posted the label’s statement.

I posted this story to Facebook myself without reading the whole thing, and boy do I regret it now,” Jones said in the statement.  

Earlier in the band’s interview with Still in Rock, the discussion had turned to threats of deportation for international bands that played unofficial shows at South By SouthwestMatthew Melton said deportation is a “fair and just consequence” for rule breakers—but that bands should “play unauthorized shows anyway.”

“It’s just a threat anyways, instead of throwing a temper tantrum and acting as if they are entitled to come to the United States and do exactly as they please, they should just be cool about it,” Matthew Melton said.

Doris Melton moved the conversation to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  

“ICE is just doing their job, and I’m glad they’re finally starting to work on deporting criminal illegal aliens too,” Melton said.

The label announced it would donate proceeds from Dream Machine’s latest album to a yet-to-be-determined charity.

“Castle Face does not agree with the statements on ICE, immigration, feminism, and sexual assault and they are in no way representative of Castle Face or the other artists on the label,” Jones said in the statement.

Dream Machine defended opinions expressed in the interview with a follow-up statement.

“First of all, we know in our hearts that we aren’t racists or fascists and we fully denounce all forms of hatred and intolerance,” Doris Melton said in the statement.

She said as an immigrant from Bosnia, she felt justified in her comments “as I am the things that most people seem to want to protect; a woman, an immigrant, a refugee and somebody who is a descendant of muslim[sic] grandparents.”

“As for my comments on feminism, I was merely commenting on the fact that I feel that most female musicians tend to almost always sing about and support feminism and all I was saying is that I do not support all sides of feminism,” Melton said.

Here’s the full statement from Castle Face Records:

We’ve recently been made aware of some ugly opinions Matthew and Doris Melton of Dream Machine gave in a recent interview in Still In Rock, as part of the promotion for their Castle Face LP that came out last month. Castle Face does not agree with the statements on ICE, immigration, feminism, and sexual assault and they are in no way representative of Castle Face or the other artists on the label. While we can’t do much about this record that’s just last month come out, or the 5 or so before it, we will not be working with them again. As independent record label runners, band members, and generally busy humans ourselves, we don’t always pore over everything that’s written about us or the artists on the label, and I posted this story to Facebook myself without reading the whole thing, and boy do I regret it now. Both John and I are appalled. We’ve urged them to make a statement, but it’s no longer our prerogative to be financing, promoting, and endorsing their music any more than we already have. For our part we’re going to find a decent charity to donate our end of the profits from the record to, though something tells me this won’t exactly send it flying off the shelves. Peace love and respect to all humans, refugees, and victims of violence – we’re horrified and ashamed by this and we appreciate people being upset but respectful in letting us know how they felt about it.

Dream Machine’s statement in response:

First of all, we know in our hearts that we aren’t racists or fascists and we fully denounce all forms of hatred and intolerance. I am a female immigrant from Bosnia and have immigrated twice, once as a refugee from Bosnia to the Netherlands and once to the United States. I made these comments because I felt I came from a position to do so as I am the things that most people seem to want to protect; a woman, an immigrant, a refugee and somebody who is a descendant of muslim grandparents as well as a great-grandfather who fought in the Yugoslavian Partisan army in the second world war. He killed approximately 100 nazi’s and fought for the freedom and liberation of his country. In return, he was killed, as well as 4 out of his 6 children, leaving my great-grandmother alone and stranded. If there’s one thing that we are absolutely not, it would be fascists, racists or anything of the sort. As for my comments on feminism, I was merely commenting on the fact that I feel that most female musicians tend to almost always sing about and support feminism and all I was saying is that I do not support all sides of feminism. We condemn any form of sexual assault or acts against women based on their gender. I think there are certain problems in third wave feminism that need to be addressed, but I do feel the original meaning of feminism is a beautiful one, giving women the freedom to be whoever they want to be. We didn’t wish to hurt anyone but we do believe rock music and punk music aren’t safe and should stay that way. Punk was never about fitting in, it was about expressing differentiating views no matter what the cost is and I think the music scene has been overly active with left-wing politics, so much so that anyone disagreeing with them is immediately dropped from their label. For the comments on immigration, the only thing I commented on is that I was glad that ICE is deporting CRIMINALS who come here (part of gangs, for example), not innocent people. Of course we’re not against immigration, otherwise I wouldn’t be here myself! Either way, this will not hold us back and we will continue to make music and want to thank all the people that are standing up for us, we truly appreciate it.

Read the full Dream Machine interview with Still in Rock here.

H/T Brooklyn Vegan

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