Jon has been answering a lot of questions on his formspring page (feel free to go there and ask him anything!), and someone asked about the details of the Nightmare story. Here it is:
So this needs a really long explanation but I’ll give you the shortened version. Maybe if I do an interview where I can speak someday I’ll explain it in more detail.
Feel free to ask if you want me to elaborate on or clarify anything.
Tracks 0.5 and 0.5.2: Meet You In My Dreams / Broken Record
“Meet You In My Dreams” was originally meant to be the first track on Nightmare, followed by “Broken Record.” However, the circumstances at the time the album was recorded dictated that they weren’t to be included. Bits and pieces of “Meet You In My Dreams” are explained here, but not as in-depth as I could probably get. If anyone wants me to elaborate on the meaning of those two songs and their place in the story, I will. Both songs, as well as track 3.5, “The Panting Dog,” are available on “We’re All So Bored…” which is a continuation of the “Second Chance for Worst Impressions” EP. If we ever get to the point where we want to put out a deluxe edition or something, they’ll definitely be on it, in order, to complete the story.
Track 1: What Are We Fighting For?
The Character wakes up miserable, in the middle of a hellish war – literally and figuratively. “What Are We Fighting For?” is really about being manipulated and following orders without questioning them. I felt like certain people in my life were doing just that – following others without question and hurting themselves and others in the process. It’s also about my fascination with modern media and how the public is so influenced by it. It bothers me, the way that people come to conclusions without knowing all of the facts. In the story, The Character doesn’t want to fight, but he’s quickly finding it necessary. At the end of the song, he declares war.
Track 2: Nightmare
“Nightmare” is a continuation of the war, and it’s very angry and bitter at heart. The lyrics have meaning on a lot of different levels. In part, it’s about being hurt and blaming the other party for the degeneration of a relationship and their unwillingness to put the time and effort into it to keep it going (“you can’t say you gave it all you had – you can’t say you gave it your best shot – but I can.”) In the context of the story, it blames the other party for their part in starting the war and their refusal to help end it. It’s also about arrogant/snobby/cynical people and how much that behavior disheartens and angers me. “…with no respect for anyone that you deem less than you, it’s so pathetic…”/”..tearing out the insides of my heart..” This song actually went through a ton of changes in the demo stage, and I have 4 full band demos that are all different, both musically and lyrically. We might eventually release them for everyone to hear.
Track 3: Dr. Doctor
“Dr. Doctor” is about The Character dealing with the constant war (both in reality and inside himself) and using drugs to cope with the anger and frustration that is building. The bridge is the first mention of a lost love – the girl of/in his dreams (she’s first referenced in “Meet You In My Dreams,” which is really the first song of the Nightmare story.) The phrase “if you’d come home and just hold me close, never let me go, I’ll stop… Screw that!!” really begins to hint at some sort of addiction. At the end of the song, The Character screams, “I’ll be there, once I knock myself out…” meaning that he is using the drugs to meet the girl of/in his dreams. I imagine that while he’s screaming those words at the end of the song, he is being carted off by security after the doctor realizes that he’s insane.
Track 3.5: The Panting Dog
Technically, the next song on the album should have been “The Panting Dog,” where The Character is committed to a mental institution after he goes crazy at the doctor’s office. During this time, he’s being observed by “white coats,” or evil doctors, which I imagined to be a sort of hellish experience. “Sitting on my tail like a panting dog” is very much about the sexual frustration that I would imagine being in a mental institution would bring. The line “I know [that] you know you didn’t mean it when you said goodbye – there’s no goodbye…” also gives off a creepy vibe that sort of makes you think, “maybe he actually is a bit crazy…” (For the record, I am not that crazy!!! It’s just a story!!) You begin to realize that at some point the “girl of/in his dreams” left him in the real world and he’s begging for her to return.
Track 4: Sink Like An Anchor
“Sink Like An Anchor” is the song I decided to use as the idea for the album art. I imagine The Character to be in full-on Hell. An old beat up ship (symbolizing The Character in the story) is trying to make it’s way toward the light while demons and angels fight for control of the ship in the air above and in the sea below. I feel like the violins at the beginning are a symbol of transitioning from one reality to another, which is somewhere between The Character’s dream world and the real world. This song sort of takes The Character back to the war, which has progressed to a full-fledged epic battle of good and evil inside himself. In the song, The Character is forced to walk the plank for the wrong reasons (being sold out), and the lyrics discuss his thoughts and his taste for revenge while he’s floating out in the water. The line “when I give up, I’ll swim to the bottom and breathe” means that he would never give his foes the satisfaction of feeling that they were the reason for his death and when and if he was ready, he would do it himself, on his own terms. It really has multiple meanings for me, and can be interpreted in a lot of ways. It’s a symbol of The Character’s self-destruction. At the end of the song, The Character vows to haunt the dreams of the enemy who abandoned him. (FYI, although it conveys some self-destructive language, this song is NOT about suicide, which I don’t condone.)
Track 5: Take Cover (Burn)
“Take Cover (Burn)” is sort of a jab at people who manipulate to further themselves at the expense of others. It’s also a jab at anyone who didn’t believe in The Character (or me) in one way or another; i.e. “you pissed on my dreams.” It’s sort of my warning to stay away from this person, because you’re going to get fucked over. This was actually the last song I wrote for the album, a few weeks before we went into the studio.
Track 6: Haunting Me
“Haunting Me” gets into The Character’s feeling of being trapped, both in his own mind and in his living quarters (“this place is haunting me to death”) and how he’s using drugs to cope with his feeling of hopelessness and emptiness (see “Dr. Doctor”). “These thoughts of death invade my mind” is very much showing the effects of drugs and how they eventually make you lose perspective on life and living. It also hints at a relationship going sour and The Character not caring. “You swear the drugs have got my brain… I can’t complain.” My favorite line is “I smoked the sense out of my brains, because it takes away the pain, the thought that I might never be someone who you can believe in…” The apartment I was living in at the time inspired a lot of the lyrics. I hated that place.
Track 7: Last Time Again
“Last Time Again” is about remorse for hurting people close to you. At this point, The Character really is a full-fledged addict, and he’s begging his significant other (who also is a version of the girl of/in his dreams) to give him another chance and not to give up on him, even though he’s proven he can’t be taken at his word. “I’m falling down the stairs for you” is a feeble attempt at justifying his behavior, but it’s really just begging the girl to stay. “Hold on…” It’s actually a pretty sad and personal song, if you take time to read between the lines. Every line is based on a specific event that happened in my own struggles.
Track 8: Orange Case
“Orange Case” is continuing the theme of addiction and relating it to flying in a plane. Going up, coming down, and begging for forgiveness from the person you’ve disappointed, again. (See “Last Time Again.”) It’s a cycle every addict goes through. At this point, The Character has lost all hope and all sense of being in control (“God couldn’t save me now, I’m in too deep there’s no way out.”) By the way, the “black box” not only symbolizes the mysterious black box of an airplane – it’s also where I used to hide my cigarettes from my girlfriend.
Track 9: Streetlights
“Streetlights” signifies a change in The Character. The ongoing war, both inside him and with the outside world, as well as the influence of the drugs he takes to cope, have completely turned him to the dark side. It’s all about fulfilling primal instincts and letting go/attempting to hold on to what you believe in, whether it be religion or life in general. I imagine the character standing up on stage and eyeing a girl in the audience, who is staring at the character. The girl completely abandons her morals and gives into her taboo desires. It’s also about having sex in a car. This one was co-written with Ted Bruner, by the way!
Track 10: Tired Of Waking Up
“Tired Of Waking Up” is a turning point in the album. It’s where The Character turns to himself and realizes what he’s doing to both himself and those around him and why. He looks back at the life he had with the “girl of/in his dreams” and realizes all of his “dreams of fun and fame” have vanished. It references being “locked up for being sad” which goes back to “The Panting Dog.” It’s all about reflecting, letting go, and accepting what life has brought. All in all, it symbolizes The Character moving on.
Track 11: Bring Me Home
At the end of “Tired Of Waking Up,” you hear some of the violins and rain from previous tracks, as The Character travels back to his dream world one last time to say goodbye to his love. The girl of his dreams.
I imagine “Bring Me Home” to happen in the same place where “Meet You In My Dreams” occurred. A lonely one bedroom apartment, or hotel-like room, at night with heavy mist all around, making it impossible to see anything else or go anywhere else. A place between Heaven and Hell – sort of like the house in the movie “The Others” with Michelle Pfeiffer. It’s all about letting the demons go, and it’s a really sad song that sort of puts everything in perspective. My favorite line is the chorus: “I worry about everything every time I close my eyes, so before I fall asleep, let’s keep the TV on tonight, ’cause you’re afraid of the dark, and I could use the light.” He finally says goodbye to the girl of his dreams and lets go of it all. “Goodbye, my love, goodnight.” I imagine them “holding each other close” (Dr. Doctor) and falling asleep together. (See my other explanation of this song below to see how it relates to “Jacob’s Ladder.”)
Track 12: If This Is Where It Ends…
“If this is where it ends, where do we begin?” is a way of saying that everything repeats itself, almost as if The Character is living in an ever repeating purgatory/hell. It represents the pattern of addiction, war, and anger, and the hell that they put people through. I imagine that through the entire album, The Character was in a place between life and death, and his “love” either left him because of the drugs, or he eventually died, and he was basically haunting her, in his dreams, which was her “real world.” It’s hard for me to explain this part. She never looks at him, especially during the first song “Meet You In My Dreams,” which sort of implies that he wasn’t really there. Sort of like the movie “The Sixth Sense” in a way. It’s also very much like “Jacob’s Ladder” in the sense that he died in the war (which could symbolize addiction, among other things), and it’s all about the point between life and death.
All in all, Nightmare talks a lot about the use of drugs to cope with life’s difficult situations, but it’s truly a message about the destructive nature of addiction and how it ultimately leads to death.
We are giving away free digital copies of Nightmare! There are two ways you can score your free copy:
- Send an e-mail to email@example.com with first and last name, e-mail address, and zip code for you and anyone else that you think would enjoy a copy of Nightmare.
- Get anything from our online merch store.
Offer for a free copy ends at 1,000 people, or by this Sunday, November 15 at noon CST. Feel free to tell your friends!
If you’d like to pick up a copy of the album with your name in it, check out the following links:
As always, you can pick up a digital copy from the following places:
Thanks to everyone that has already picked up a copy of the album! Please take a moment to review it on the “Reviews” tab of our Facebook page.
- Jon, Brandon, Tom, and Brian
Hey all! Thanks so much to everyone that helped make our CD release party a huge success. Now, here’s some news!
- We just posted some new dates on our Shows page, so check them out and RSVP on Facebook when you get a chance! We’re also working on some additional dates (more info about that below).
- Thanks to everyone that has picked up a copy of Nightmare! We have a review tab on our Facebook page and we would love to hear what you think. If you don’t have a copy yet, you can get it from LivingInANightmare.com (recommended if your name is in it!) or on iiTunes!
- If you have a blog or podcast, we would love for you to include and/or review our music. We have a wide selection of songs on the PodSafe Music Network at MusicAlley.com, so feel free to use them. If you do, please let us know so we can add you to our website! Also, if you happen to work for or run a school radio station and are interested in playing our stuff, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with info on your school and station and we’ll send you a CD ASAP.
- We’re interested in booking Friday and Saturday night shows at some colleges and other venues within 5-7 hours of St. Louis (Chicago included) between now and the end of December (after which we plan to hit the road full time). If anyone can offer some assistance with setting up shows in their hometown or direct us to appropriate venues to contact, please e-mail us at email@example.com with more information.
Thanks again to everyone for your support! Anything you can do to help spread the word about the new CD is much appreciated!
- Building Rome
If you’re anywhere near the St. Louis area, we’ll be playing acoustic at the Hot Topics at West County Mall and South County Mall in September!
… and don’t forget:
September 18, 2009 @ 8 pm – Nightmare CD Release Party
6161 Delmar Blvd
Saint Louis, MO
Both Hot Topic shows are free, and Nightmare will be available at the show on the 16th! Also, don’t forget to text the word NIGHTMARE to 88188 to enter to win backstage passes to the CD release party and get a free ringtone!
See you soon!
Hey all, we just put up the preorder for ‘Nightmare’! When you order, you’ll be automatically entered into a contest to win Building Rome merch! Every week, we’ll draw a random name to receive an autographed prize pack, which includes a t-shirt, copies of all of our music, and more! Plus, the first 100 copies are signed! Exclamation points!!!!!
*All preorders will be shipped on Friday, September 11!
- What Are We Fighting For?
- Dr. Doctor
- Sink Like An Anchor
- Take Cover (Burn)
- Haunting Me
- Last Time Again
- Orange Case
- Tired Of Waking Up
- Bring Me Home
- If This Is Where It Ends…
Hey all, we’re really sorry the new songs didn’t go up today, we’re trying to do too many things at once right now and it turns out we weren’t as ready as we thought we were. However, we PROMISE all the new stuff will be up on Tuesday – songs, photos, MySpace stuff, presale info, etc. Add us on MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter and you’ll definitely be the first to know when it hits!!
Text the word NIGHTMARE to 88188 and you’re entered to win a pair of backstage passes for the show on September 18! One (1) grand prize winner will receive a pair of backstage passes, a pair of meet and greet passes, and a signed copy of the new CD. Four (4) first prize winners will receive a pair of meet and greet passes and a signed copy of the new CD. Both grand prize and first prize winners will receive early entry to the venue. Everyone that enters will receive a free “Dr. Doctor” ringtone!
TEXT CONTEST RULES:
- Prizes consist of backstage passes and/or meet and greet passes ONLY. Concert tickets must be purchased separately.
- Winners will be chosen randomly.
- Transportation to the event will not be provided.
- Meet and greet will begin at 6:15 pm on Friday, September 18. Winners will meet 15 minutes prior in Suite 100 at The Pageant.
- Winners will be contacted by phone on September 15, 2009. Winners not responding by the following day will forfeit their prize and a new winner will be drawn!
Click to see full-sized
BUILDING ROME presents ‘NIGHTMARE’
CD Release Party
September 18, 2009
The Pageant – St. Louis, MO
Come out to The Pageant on September 18 and prepare to get your face rocked off by Building Rome, This Is Energy, Last Nights Vice, Our First Summer, and Without A Face (Redbird Records)!
Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 day of show with a $2 minor surcharge at the door. Tickets go on sale Friday, July 17 at 5 pm. Pick them up here from Ticketmaster.
If you don’t live near St. Louis, don’t worry – you’ll be able to pick up a digital copy of the album on iTunes or you can get an actual CD from our online store. Presale for the album will begin on Saturday, August 15. More details to follow!
RSVP to the show!
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