Q&A with Arms For Elephants

Minnesota post-hardcore group, Arms For Elephants have just released their debut full-length, My Judas Scene. With a goal to create honest, emotional and relatable music, the band wrote songs that were just as therapeutic for their fans as they are for themselves. We recently had the chance to chat with the band about My Judas Scene and the stories behind the album. 

Fans can pick up My Judas Scene now HERE and check out the music video for their track, "The Laws That Guide My Feet" below.

Interview by Shannon Shumaker

Can you tell us a little bit about Arms For Elephants, for any readers who may not be familiar?

Arms for Elephants is a post-hardcore/alternative rock band based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. We strive to make honest music that is therapeutic and stands out in an over saturated music scene. 

I know it’s a pretty generic question, but I have to ask because it’s such a unique name - what is the meaning behind the name Arms For Elephants?

The word "arms" refers to protection..as in weapon/firearm. The "elephants" is a metaphor for the vulnerable, or defenseless. Yes, I know elephants are very big and strong, so how could they be vulnerable or defenseless? Yet, even with their huge size, they're extremely vulnerable to poaching. So in effect, the name Arms for Elephants means protection for the defenseless.

You just released your new album, My Judas Scene - what does this album mean to you?

This album is extremely personal and honest, so we had to put a lot of ourselves into it. It's also our first full length CD, so it's extremely exciting just to be able to hear and share what we've been working on for the last year. Through the process of developing our sound, we're all really happy with how it ended up and we intend to only progress more from here. 

You’ve mentioned before that you strive to make music that is therapeutic, so how was the writing process for My Judas Scene therapeutic for you?

We try to make our lyrics as relate-able and universal as possible, and we want to reach people who are particularly depressed and lost. Music is really cool that way, you can affect people on a chemical level and really help them change the way they look at something or even begin a healing process. Since we write from our own experience, our own music becomes extremely therapeutic for us as well. After finishing a song and stepping away from it for awhile, we'll listen from a listener's perspective and realize that the words are often what we ourselves needed to hear. 

Are there any lyrics on the album that you’re especially proud of?

Honestly I'm proud of all of them, because they're vulnerable and honest...often bringing us outside our comfort zone as writers. One of my favorites is from the bridge of the title track, "My Judas Scene": "Every failure is only smoke and mirrors. Every setback is just a lesson to be learned. I will not be swayed by empty promises. I will stand up on your word, Lord. I will stand upon your word when you say 'I'll never leave you.'" 

The first song you released from the album was  “The Laws That Guide My Feet.” Can you tell us a little bit about this song? What makes it special to you?

This song is special for several reasons. We think of it as kind of an anthem for the lost and broken, so that alone sets it apart for us. One reason why it was chosen as the first single is because it encapsulates our overall sound really well. Also, it has a lot of dynamics both lyrically and instrumentally, and has probably the most memorable hook on the album. 

My favorite track on the album is “Separated” because of how emotional it is. Can you talk about that song a bit?

I'm glad you appreciate it, because we tend to overlook that song as it's not in our current live set. "Separated" has a lot of substance lyrically, but the overall meaning comes down to just a few simple lines in the end of the song and the chorus. The line "All I wanted was you" repeats towards the end, and this line represents God's voice. Then the chorus hits big for the first time with our response to Christ dying on the cross, "You took the fall for me, so we wouldn't be separated...and I won't doubt you anymore." Obviously there are a lot of Christian themes in our music, but we chose not to label ourselves as a "Christian band". We want our music to be therapeutic for everyone, regardless of whether or not they share our faith. This song in particular seems to hit home with a lot of people, and it's the kind of song you can show your grandma without freaking her out...so that's cool.

Now that My Judas Scene is out, do you have any other big plans for 2015? What’s next for Arms For Elephants?

We're going to be filming a music video for our first single with HM Magazine's Kyle Lehman, and working on new material the rest of the year. We also plan on booking festivals for next summer, and going wherever this adventure takes us!

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

Thanks for having us! I'd just like to add that if you're reading this and you decide to check out our music, don't hesitate to shoot us a message. We're always open to talking with people about anything... whether it's casual or about your struggles. Let's be friends.  

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