caught up with Ben Jorgensen from Armor For Sleep
at the Electric Ballroom in London just before
the band were due to take the stage supporting
us a brief history of the band for people who
have never heard of you.
A brief history, I guess… We started in 2001 and we started recording a
bunch of demos around New Jersey and just giving them to our friends. In
the process, Equal Vision Records from up state New York caught one of our
demos and wanted to sign us. So we signed a deal with them and put out our
first record in 2003 called 'Dream to Make Believe'. We toured our butts
off for like, a year and a half, then we went and recorded our second CD,
which is called 'What To Do When You Are Dead'. That came out three months
ago and we've been touring all year so far to promote that CD.
did you come up with the name Armor For sleep?
I guess when I started the band I was kind of, like, retreating in my room
and I kind of couldn't really fall asleep, so I started playing music. I
guess that's really when everyone does. I guess I just thought of the name
Armor For Sleep, because it was really, the music was keeping me from passing
out! Which was something I was procrastinating on.
was it like writing "What To Do When You Are Dead"?
It was cool, it was definitely different from 'Dream To Make Believe'. We
wrote it in between tours. Whenever we were home for a couple of weeks,
we could get together and practice and write some songs and doing 'Dream
To Make Believe' we didn't tour at all. So it kind of came from sitting
at home and doing nothing, and 'What To Do When You Are Dead' was conceived
in a storm of craziness!
made you want to write a concept album?
I don't think we ever thought about it like we were going to go in and write
a concept album. I just think that's how we naturally think about albums.
I think unless something changes us, we're more inclined to write an album
that has a kind of theme running through it. Or just something that you
can latch on to. 'Cause those have always been the records that I've been
able to latch on to the most.
of your albums do you prefer?
I think I like both of them for different reasons. It's kind of like, asking
which one of your two kids are your favourite, you know? In fact, they both
have their flaws and their strengths. I really couldn't choose one.
album artwork is awesome; who came up with the
ideas and design and colours for that?
Well I kind of had a very specific idea in mind for what I wanted the cover
to be like. For the second book too. It actually took a bunch of artists
until somebody actually got the picture. But I think for this, we kind of
wanted a literal image of what the album was about. And so I kind of wanted
this weird Edward Scissorhands -ish like, weird empty town with some guy
floating above looking down on everyone.
you think your dreams can affect your reality?
That's an interesting question. I think, yeah. I mean I think that's kind
of like, evolutionarily, I think the reason of dreams was to give people
pictures of stuff they have to do in their lives. Like, sometimes I have
dreams; sometimes someone will be shady to me, and I'll have a dream where
I'll really like, lash out and yell at this person. And I wake up, and it's
like "oh this person's not so bad". When you sleep, you kind of pick up
on small signals that maybe you overlooked during the day. So I think sometimes
they can reveal things that maybe you don't realise when you are awake.
it been touring with Fightstar? Any random stories
from the road to share?
I guess every day for us is random here. It's a new place, everything we
see is completely new to us. It's kind of hard to pick one thing.
the best band you have ever toured with and why?
Best band ever? Maybe this band called Recover from the States that we tour
with. We're really good friends with them and they kind of, get the shit
end of the stick. They don't really get appreciated that much, but knowing
what other bands they've influenced, I know how important they are. I know
that bands will keep being influenced by them in the States for a while.
It's kind of sad to see them play and to see no one really get it, or care
what they're doing.
do the UK shows differ to shows back home?
Well I kind of feel like we're playing for the first time again, because
we've never played here before. It's like, people haven't built up their
opinions about us yet and we get a fresh start for everyone. I just think
that's really cool.
the crowd response been like so far on this tour?
It's been awesome. There are people at every show that at least know who
we are. I definitely didn't think that would happen. And we played a headlining
show in Oxford, and that was sold out! Like, three hundred people had come
to see us. That blew my mind, that was crazy! It's just weird, that something
you do so far away from someone else, can affect them. You know?
the best and worst thing about being on tour?
I guess the best thing is meeting new people, being in new cities, having
an adventure every night. The worst part is, the obvious thing is, missing
your family, missing your own bed, missing the comforts of home. Which is
something I never thought I would miss. After a while, I think anyone gets
are your musical influences?
A lot of British bands actually. I like Radiohead and The Smiths. Joy Division.
Also bands like Nirvana, Saves The Day, Lifetime. A whole bunch.
is your favourite album of all time?
Probably OK Computer. Or, Dark Side of the Moon. Or Nevermind. Or… Discovery
by Daft Punk is really good.
your favourite song to play live and why?
Um, I guess I like playing 'The Truth About Heaven', it's a song off our
new CD. We started opening with it. I think when we started playing it,
we were really shaky with it, and I was like, 'is this ever going to feel
normal?'. Sometimes you just have to get used to performing it. But now,
we've been playing it for a couple of months and it just feels really good
to play. And I like it.
do you see your band in 5 years time?
Hopefully still making records. And, I don't know. It's such a hard industry
to be in. If you succeed in this industry you probably did something shady,
so I just hope if we succeed, we never compromised our integrity.
for your time and do you have a message for your
fans that read this?
I guess, just thank you for listening to us, if
you live in the UK. It's really cool for us.