Armor for Sleep Q&A: Ben Jorgensen Talks When We Were Young Festival, New Album, Tour and More

Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

Hailing from New Jersey, Armor for Sleep recently returned with The Rain Museum, the first album from the the alt/rock/emo band since its reformation in 2020 and first album since 2007.

Currently out on the road with fellow Jersey rockers Hawthorne Heights, Armor for Sleep also participated in the When We Were Young Festival, delivering an energetic set of songs to a gathering of dedicated fans inside the Neon Tent at inaugural Las Vegas festival, with an additional performance coming up on Oct. 29.

Prior to the first show on Oct. 23, Rock Cellar caught up with front man/band leader Ben Jorgensen for a chat about his band’s renewed activity, the Warped Tour vibe of the festival and more.

Rock Cellar: So, Ben, Armor for Sleep made it to When We Were Young, after the hiccup caused by Saturday’s cancellation. But I hear you and the band made the best of the unexpected day off?

Ben Jorgensen: We woke up thinking we were going to play the festival. When the message came through to us that they were cancelling for the day, we spent about 15 minutes being really bummed out. But because this is a festival full of bands that come from the DIY punk scene, I immediately started getting flooded with calls from my friends and other bands who were like, “Yo, we can just play an indoor show for everyone who’s in town.”

Pretty soon after that, J.T. from Hawthorne Heights, who we’re on tour with right now, called me up and said that he talked to the folks at the Strat, where the band is saying. He talked to the hotel manager, and they were like, “Yeah, you guys can play in this little corner if you want,” so we had two hours to get a show together.

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We put up a post about it, When We Were Young reposted it, and within 15 minutes, probably about 10,000 people showed up to the casino. There were probably like 3,000-5,000 people in there, we played stripped-down acoustic sets. Because if we did a full band performance in there, it was probably going to be like borderline a safety issue. But it was amazing, and I hope that the people were there have a good memory.

Rock Cellar: It feels like events like yours and some of the others that took place around town that night are exemplary of the vibe of the whole festival and the aesthetic of what everybody’s here for — the community aspect of everything.

Ben Jorgensen: It’s probably the one factor that made this scene big to begin with, this thriving community of friends and a thriving fan base that came out to see and support their favorite artists, you know what I mean? In retrospect, it’s kind of obvious why we did this, because that’s why the scene got big in the first place.

Rock Cellar: Warped Tour is gone, but in a way this is Warped Tour, you know? It’s a nostalgia trip, but they did bring in some of the younger acts like Meet Me at the Altar, Jxdn, acts like that to balance it out a bit. It’s cool to have it back in our lives like this.


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Ben Jorgensen: Yeah, absolutely.

Rock Cellar: Armor for Sleep has played some album shows and re-released What to Do When You Are Dead on vinyl, but does the band plan on doing the same for your debut, Dream to Make Believe?

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Ben Jorgensen: I’ve always said that the What to Do When You Are Dead reunion shows happened because there was such a strong undercurrent of people basically annoying us until we played the shows. So yeah, if there comes a point in time where people are just badgering us to do a Dream to Make Believe tour, we’re open to it. So we’ll see.

Rock Cellar: I recently saw Midtown open for My Chemical Romance, and I’d somehow never seen them back in the day. And I read [Midtown front man] Gabe Saporta was Armor for Sleep’s manager early on? What role did he play in the early days of your band?

Ben Jorgensen: Gabe was definitely like a big brother to us. He he actually went to the high school that I went to, my older sister is four years older than me and Gabe was in her grade. So by the time I was a freshman in high school, he had just gone to college. But he always knew about me from being Leah’s little brother. When I was 13 years old, I put on a show with his old band, Humble Beginnings.

He was always kind of like a big brother to me, and when Armor came out, it really affected him. It was at a period of time when Midtown wasn’t touring, and he saw something in us that he wanted to be involved with. He took me and the band under his wing, and left an imprint on who we are as a band because of how he stepped in.

Rock Cellar: You also just released a new album, The Rain Museum, your first in 15 years. How has reception been for that one so far?

Ben Jorgensen: The Rain Museum came out a month ago, yeah. For us, the impact of our albums we don’t really see until sometimes a year or two after they come out. It’s still so close to coming out, we’re doing When We Were Young, we’re on tour with Hawthorne Heights. This is actually the first time I’m getting to see what the reaction is like. Three nights ago was our first show on tour with Hawthorne Heights and our first show since the album came out, so so right now it’s it’s up in the air.

So we’ll see, but I do know that we put out an album that we love and that we care about, and at the end of the day, we’re satisfied with that. If people like it and connect with it, that’s just a bonus.


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