Cruisin’ on the Dream Machine: an interview with Matthew Melton

dream_machine_the_illusionAs I sit in Starbucks, sucking the bandwidth off their free wifi signal while not actually buying anything (yeah, screw the man!), listening to the hypnotic, psychedelic fuzz rock of The Illusion, the debut LP from Dream Machine, I ask myself, “isn’t it strange how nearly half a century ago, the first Coven album, Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls, was deleted by the record label that put it out only a month after they released it because they were worried about the shock and outrage it would have generated among Christian conservatives in America?” My mind continues to wander, and similarly I think, “isn’t it crazy how the same year that the first Coven album came out, the MC5 got in a WHOLE heap of shit just for shouting ‘kick out the jams, motherfuckers!’ at the beginning of the title track on their first album?” Times sure have changed since Kick Out the Jams had to be hidden behind the counters at records shops; because of ONE word, kids had to show that they were at least 18 years old if they wanted to buy it!

And ain’t it a hoot how, when I was talking to someone who worked at a record shop in Grand Rapids, he told me that all the parents were freaked out that their kids were listening to these new fandangled bands with names like Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper, who apparently worshiped the devil, sacrificed animals onstage… or possibly even PEOPLE!!!

And I think, “what would piss off, shock and outrage the kids and adults of the current year?” Self mutilation? Done. Onstage defecation? Done. Throwing bloody tampons at the crowd? Done. Inverted crosses and pentagrams? Done. Putting a dildo up Jesus’ anus? Done, done and done again! Defecating on a drawing of the Prophet Muhammad while burning the Koran and wearing Indian feathers and a yarmulke? Okay, that one hasn’t been done yet. But Dream Machine might as well have done it considering the quagmire they put themselves in when guitarist/singer Matthew Melton, formerly of the power-pop band Warm Soda, and keyboardist/singer and Melton’s wife Doris openly bashed the United States’ liberal immigration policies, political correctness and feminism.

They soon found themselves getting booted from their record label, Castle Face records, and forced to fend for themselves in a sea of politically correct hipster hostility, which is one of the reasons they left their hometown of Austin, TX to Amsterdam. Their story became something of a cause celebre for people on the right or just anyone fed up with stifling political correctness, and it appears that many people have come to their defense; albeit privately for fear that they too will get a mob of anorexic, glasses and skinny jean wearing nerds or bearded fatsos on their asses.

The music on The Illusion is catchy as heck; the male Melton plays heavy, fuzzed to hell guitar riffs; the female Melton waxes speedy and melodic on what sounds like a Farfisa; the two alternate on lead vocals; the songs are all short; and the whole thing will send you on a 1968 time warp to some dimly lit, underground catacomb, where a bunch of stoned out hippies gyrate to flashing strobe lights; ya know, like the Alice Cooper scene in Diary of a Mad Housewife. Oh and Doris kinda resembles Michelle Phillips from the Mamas & the Papas.

I interviewed Matthew Melton via email, and he gave me well thought out, lucid answers that are remarkably bold considering how sensitive the dweebs in the music scene really are; fer Chrissakes, I got booted from a Melvins group for dissing on ambient noise music and professing my love for the Nuge. Sorry for setting the emperor’s clothes on fire, dudez. If it were 1975, and he were Eric Clapton, then maybe Melton’s views would not be so bold. But that was then, and this is now. In a culture where every form of degeneracy is permitted and celebrated, there seems to be a bit of an insurrection going on….

Savage Hippie: Let’s get the juicy stuff out of the way. You were recently kicked off of Castle Face records for making some “ugly” remarks. In one of your interviews, your keyboardist and singer Doris is quoted as saying, “The choice to move to Europe was guided by a lot of factors. American musicians (hopefully not Europe too) are getting increasingly politically correct and it started getting on our nerves.” And then you say, “So excited to be moving to Europe, but I will always consider myself a red-blooded American. And just like the waves of refugees pouring into Europe I will also not be learning any new languages or culturally assimilating.” And later still, Doris says, “I agree with Matthew on that. ICE is just doing their job, and I’m glad they’re finally starting to work on deporting criminal illegal aliens too. It took ages for me to get my green card here legally and because there’s so many illegals coming in they make it hard for the people who do want to become part of American society the right way. They’re handing out free money to people who come here illegally, but when you want to work hard to become an American citizen to start a family they make it so hard on you, and expensive!” You HAD to have known what kind of response you would get from an overly sensitive music scene, so why the loose tongue?

Dream Machine: Whether or not we knew it at the time, our interview ended up being a modern day political correctness test for society which a lot of people failed miserably. Even when we look at it now, all we really expressed was that we want to live in a place governed by law and order where people haven’t gone completely insane with political correctness. The people who freaked out so much did so mostly because of accumulated political frustration and peer pressure. The reason that we know that it was a fake outrage and nothing more than mere social media virtue signaling, is because we didn’t receive a single email from an upset person asking for any clarification, discussion, explanation, or condemnation for any part of our interview. Not even one! If people were genuinely concerned with things we said, someone would have reached out to say: “Hey man, what’s up with that?” or “We hate you guys” or SOMETHING! We feel completely vindicated because the backlash completely proved our point about how Facebook has become an echo chamber vortex that breeds reactionary weaklings. Most of the people who were freaking out so much are the same ones that adamantly defend modern technology to the death, unable to see the damage it is causing to our general well being and independent thought. We saw a couple the other day at a bus stop and the lady was holding up an iPad to her husband open to another couples profile shouting: “Why aren’t we happy like they are!” I think it’s actually a very serious problem, I could go on and on about it. 

Savage Hippie: Similarly, those remarks might have gained you some new fans from the political right. Are you happy to embrace any fans of your music even if their views might not be completely kosher? Clearly Dream Machine isn’t a political band, but do you guys stand for any parties, politicians or views, or do you basically keep that stuff to yourselves?

Dream Machine: At the end of the day, we consider ourselves musicians, not politicians and we don’t affiliate with any political or ideological party but we’d most likely fit in best as libertarians. People on the right will like us because we reject the poisonous group think of the alt-left which has become nothing less than a cult of unthinking zombies. That’s why we decided to oppose Facebook from the beginning, because it is the arena that the regressive left uses to radicalize their unsuspecting subjects while at the same time rendering their lives disharmonic and subservient. You don’t need a political affiliation to know that you need to avoid that! It’s common sense. 

Savage Hippie: According to another interview, you released The Illusion on Castle Face records, referring to the owners as your “homies.” Do you still consider them your homies? Did you phone ’em and say, “what the fuck guys? Thought you had our backs?”

Dream Machine: I did at one point, I mean they released 6 albums of my music over a period of several years. But it’s clear that they reacted out of fear and now I honestly feel bad for them now because so many people noticed the integrity they lost by kicking me to the curb in an attempt to appear virtuous to their customer base. It may have worked partially how they had hoped but it mostly backfired in their face. It worked out for us in the end because we gained such an overwhelming outreach from thousands of new fans, record labels, booking agents, etc and we’ve already ended up getting more exposure than we would have staying with Castle Face. Another weird factor in all this is that so many hundreds of people including other artists on their label and people in the music scene reached out to us expressing how they felt what they did was a pathetic move and they completely support us and saw nothing wrong with common sense opinions we gave, but also said that they could not speak publicly about it for fear of facing scrutiny from the angry mob. At least we were able to create a discussion so people can see for themselves which side of history they want to be on. 

Savage Hippie: Running through your music is a sort of, how do I say it, anti-degeneracy message? Once again, quoting Doris, she says, “The people I see here in Austin sleep with a different person every week. It just doesn’t make sense to me. When you sleep with that many people it can’t mean anything, it has to be meaningless. Everything is meaningless nowadays.” Seems like there’s almost a Christian message running through your music, or maybe not? Do you worry people will say you guys are a buncha squares, or do you fundamentally advocate monogamy over the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle that other bands in the “scene” seem to be all about?

Dream Machine: We are on the cusp of a polar shift in thinking. We looked around only to observe that the way people are living today is not bringing them happiness but misery and emptiness. The group think mentality of social media is largely to blame; You stare into the screens long enough and you begin to lose perspective and your reality becomes warped. We aren’t classically religious, but if you pause and consider where we are going as a civilization, what the future might look like going down the neo-liberal path, it doesn’t look very good to us. It’s what I would envision the roman empire to have been like right before they got destroyed. Everyone becomes so glutinous and decadent and they are too busy guzzling wine and having orgies to care or notice that their civilization is crumbling all around them. We are reaching a point where radical neo-leftism has become the mainstream, and conservatism becomes the new counter-culture. Now it literally feels rebellious to be starting a family with my wife. We’ve come full circle. 

Savage Hippie: All right, ENOUGH with political questions; let’s get down to the music. Why did you leave Warm Soda, and do you have plans on going back to them? I take it Dream Machine is a full time band and not a side project.

Dream Machine: Warm Soda had fully run it’s course. I mean once you make 4 albums that sounds almost exactly the same you know it’s time to try something different or you end up making wallpaper music. Dream Machine is our full time operation now and it’s already off to an interesting start! 

Savage Hippie: Since the obvious reference points to a lot of people are going to be Iron Butterfly, Blue Cheer, the Doors and maybe Jefferson Airplane… would that cover it, or was there anything else specifically you were influenced by? I mean, I’d die if you said you were influenced by Power of Zeus or Black Widow.

Dream Machine: Our influences include Power of Zeus, Birth Control, Curved Air, Lucifer’s Friend, Eloy and Gun! (editors note: I had never before heard of the German progressive rock band Birth Control. Their album Operation is awesome! Thanks Matthew!)

Savage Hippie: Also I looked all over the site, but I couldn’t find out who the bassist and drummer are in the “I Walked in the Fire” video. Is that info somewhere, or are you keeping them anonymous?

Dream Machine: We had already let our band mates go before any of this controversy came up because we are moving to Europe and we found a new European rhythm section. Our bass player in the USA couldn’t commit to the European tour because of his job so we figured it made the most sense to start a new group over there.

Savage Hippie: In your interview you say, “The debut Dream Machine album is like a warm up compared to the 2nd album we are arranging now which is completely piano based.” What like, there aren’t going to be any geetarz on it? Don’t tell me you’re going to turn into Emerson, Lake and Palmer or the first Atomic Rooster LP!

Dream Machine: It’s got guitars, we just meant that we were writing the album mostly on the piano, not recording it that way. We are in the middle of it right now and there are some heavy rocking songs on there. Think if Atomic Rooster had one Hell’s Angel in the band on guitar. We just recorded the drums and bass for the whole thing, now starting to add in guitars, piano, organ, synth, vocals, etc. I think people will be happy with our new album, It definitely blows the first one away.

Can’t wait to hear it! \m/

Get their stuff from Fuzz City records.

Listen to The Illusion on their Bandcamp page.

Watch their video:

But DON’T look for ’em on Facebook because you ain’t gonna find ’em there!

4 thoughts on “Cruisin’ on the Dream Machine: an interview with Matthew Melton

  1. Great interview and a solid band. I bought their album on Bandcamp purely because they are shitlords and it turned out to be a great listen.

  2. I also discovered Birth Control and a few other Euro 60s/70s gems by going through Matthew and Doris’ likes on Youtube. I also discovered Savage Hippie by doing a FB search on these two. What an awesome interview and I’m impressed by how well grounded their thought processes are in regards to the goings-on with politics, political correctness, and SJW landscapes in this day and age. I do have to say, as a huge fan of the Stranglers and keyboardist Dave Greenfield’s jamming solos, Doris’ control and ability to belt out some awesome solos herself, I instantly was drawn in and I’m digging the album. I also bought it on Bandcamp and can’t wait to see how the next album turns out.

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