POZ Decade: Armor For Sleep - Dream To Make Believe

by Zack Zarrillo - Jul 2, 2013

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Armor For Sleep's Dream To Make Believe was released ten years ago in June, and PropertyOfZack is launching our next Decade feature in honor of the album today. We have commentary on the album from frontman Ben Jorgensen and POZ team members Zack ZarrilloAlyssa McKinley, and special guest Joe Cubera. Enjoy and reblog to let us know your thoughts on Dream To Make Believe ten years later! 

How Dream To Make Believe holds up in 2013
When I listen to the album I think back to when I was 17 writing those songs. I was still learning so much about writing, singing, playing guitar, and everything else that comes with being in a band…when I listen back I hear that learning process in me, but I also remember what I was going through and the feelings of growing up that made the album what it is. It’s kind of like a diary from that time in my life. Sometimes reading your journal from years ago can be strange, but it’s cool to know that a part of me from a different time in my life is always out there. – Ben Jorgensen of Armor For Sleep

It feels young. It feels inspired. It feels confused. If Dream To Make To Believe hit you when you were in your teenage years, it most likely holds up and hits you now just like it did then. If you were to listen to the album for the first time in adulthood, you may not be able to make it through. Like Ben said, it feels like looking into a diary — his or your own. Albums like Dream To Make Believe take us back to a different time and headspace. - Zack Zarrillo

Most important track on Dream To Make Believe
The most important track on Dream To Make Believe is undeniably “Raindrops.”  The longest track on the album, clocking in at just under five minutes, is the track that established Armor’s dark, lamenting style. ”Suffocate me all you need, I won’t breathe, but it’s okay,” Jorgensen repeats with a sad sincerity as the music ebbs in and out. It’s classic early-2000s emo, but not to the point of being trite or cheesy, which is more than a lot of bands from that time period can say.  

The song treads a fine line between being a ballad and being a jam.  The heart-on-sleeve vocals leading into a synth breakdown with pounding drums provide an engrossing and unique listen. The intertwining of elements, such as death and unrequited love, is basically what Armor For Sleep came to be known for. In a sense, the track serves as sort of a prequel to “Car Underwater,” which was arguably the band’s most popular song. With a few tweaks, “Raindrops” could have easily fit on What To Do When You Are Dead. A fan favorite, and one of the songs that really defined what Armor For Sleep was, the importance of “Raindrops” is second to none. – Joe Cubera

Was the band successful in following up Dream To Make Believe?
I guess what surprises me most about it is the lifespan that it’s had and the feedback I still get from it. It’s an honor to know there are people out there in the world who connect with something that I put out there. Even though I have grown from the person who wrote that album, it still is a part of me. – Ben Jorgensen of Armor For Sleep 

I was too young to be a fan of Armor For Sleep around the time either of the band’s first two albums were released, but I can imagine the anticipation fans felt for a follow-up to Dream To Make BelieveDream To Make Believe was the start of a new wave of emo in the early-2000s, and it must have caught many by surprise. That kind of surprise makes for powerful attachment and desire for something even greater. Enter: What To Do When You Are Dead.

Dream To Make Believe is a pure album. It captures youth, struggle, and hope — both in terms of the band making its debut, and for a young Ben Jorgensen. What To Do When You Are Dead is a totally different beast. It is powerful and dark in its aggression, steady with excellent writing, and complete with a concept that holds up over time. The band managed to one-up themselves in every way that made them special beforehand, and took their new capabilities to create one of the most memorable and relatable concept albums we’ve seen from our corner of the music scene in a long time. If you are a fan of mid-2000s emo, I can’t imagine a world where What To Do When You Are Dead isn’t a favorite. - Zack Zarrillo 

Legacy of Dream To Make Believe
DTMB's legacy to me is really Armor for Sleep's legacy to me. The album kicked off our entire career and made us who we were. We would grow from the foundations we built with that album, so everything great I experienced with the band was all really due to that first record. Dream to Make Believe also taught me a valuable life lesson. Even though it sounds raw to me, and even though I can critique a million parts of the album, I understand that it really resonated with people because the songs came from a real place. I would bet the same is true for all kinds of art- movies, paintings, writing etc. The methods, the neatness, the gloss of any process is irrelevant if there is no truth or emotional weight behind what’s being created. – Ben Jorgensen of Armor For Sleep

During a time when emo bands were a dime a dozen, Armor For Sleep managed to hone a sound that would set them apart: a sound that was just good enough to lead them to a path that would only bring more success to the band as it progressed. Dream to Make Believe was one of the first albums that would bridge a gap between indie and the substantial wave of alternative emo that Armor For Sleep would eventually be a part of. 

While their memory may lie more significantly with their follow-up releases, it was Dream to Make Believe that put Armor For Sleep in the position to continue at all. The 2012 farewell tour was heavy with these early tracks and fan response was a testament that the tracks off of this dreamy conceptual album are tracks that will remain dear to them well beyond the bands breakup. – Alyssa McKinley

How Dream to Make Believe changed AFS’ future
The situation around the album’s release was a little bit strange. We did our first “real” tour ever (which happened to be with Midtown, Taking Back Sunday, and Recover,) a week after we had wrapped recording the album in L.A. We had been playing some shows locally for the year before and people were starting to sing along to the demos that we sold at our early shows. We hadn’t secured our deal with Equal Vision Records once we were done recording the album, so because of that it didn’t wind up coming out until almost a year after! By the time it came out we had already amassed a small but loyal group of fans from across the country so the release was a celebration of our beginning as a band and we were happy and also relieved that it finally came out. – Ben Jorgensen of Armor For Sleep

First impressions can be everything, especially in the music industry. Dream to Make Believe was the first true impression that Armor For Sleep would have on their future fans and their first chance to prove themselves on Equal Vision Records. The opening track that shares the band’s name was an introduction to the album, but more importantly, the introduction to the bands career: the beginning of the establishment of an identity that would be carried with them for years to come.

Dream To Make Believe began to foster a sound fan base that would only grow with their sophomore release, What To Do When You Are Dead, arguably the most important release of the bands career. Although Dream To Make Believe wasn’t the album that launched Armor For Sleep into mainstream success, nor was it the album with the most iconic tracks of their discography, it was an album that served as a crucial stepping stone to the more memorable aspects of the bands career. - Alyssa McKinley

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    Crazy this album is ten years old. This was my fucking jam.
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    I haven’t been listening to Armor For Sleep for 10 years, but 4 is good enough. I remember when I first got Dream To...
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