Pretend You’re Happy use indie rock to encourage reverence and catharsis in everyday life. Based out of Brattleboro and Burlington, VT, the band plays in a variety of live forms. One night they might be a stripped down acoustic 4-piece, the next an 8-piece electric entourage including two drummers, a doublebass player, and a clarinet-noise player. Their music takes influence from divergent genres such as folk, classical, and hardcore. Songs present poppy lullaby-esque vocal melodies surrounded by shifting textures, from 3-part violin harmonies to screeching static and detuned guitars.
Acoustic guitar compositions by Jeremiah Morelock Brown were the initial points of inspiration that formed these now richly orchestrated pieces. Formerly known as “Mantits”, Jeremiah gained some recognition throughout the DIY Acoustic Punk movement for his sarcastic solo releases including a split release with Vermont band Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains. In 2005 Jeremiah retired the “Mantits” title to start Pretend You’re Happy with Jeremy Bernozzi (drums) and Mikey Cham (doublebass). Eventually the list of collaborators on the project grew to include Lauren Bernozzi, Nicholas Gangel, Forrest Mulerath, Jonas Fricke, Ruth Garbus, Seqouyah Leaf, Timothy Findlen, Ron Schneiderman, Caitlin Senni, Ike Wittman, and Flash-C. During the summer of 2007 a decidedly hi-fi recording full of introspective lyrics, quirky yet lush orchestration, 9 parts pop and 1 part dissonance was completed. “Pretend You’re Happy” is a rare album that brings to mind some of the finer moments of recordings by Neutral Milk Hotel, Sufjan Stevens, Polyphonic Spree and The Decemberists all while maintaining a strong and original voice of its own.
With their official 2008 release on Fake Four Inc. and DIY Bandits Pretend You’re Happy is determined to spread their word further than ever before. Today they routinely play throughout the New England area at DIY punk venues, bars, and coffee houses with additional members including Joanne Chapman, Michael Schneeweis, and Scotty Thunderlips. As for long-term goals, the group is more focused on process than on destination. As their music displays and their lyrics profess, they are looking forward to playful expansion and exploration.