The Make Pretend is the indie rock project of NYC artist Jason Verlaine.
Raised in the majestic wilds of western Massachusetts, Verlaine relocated to NYC in 2002 in pursuit of everything… and lots of it. From late nights dancing with men dressed as unicorns at the Boiler Room to afternoon tea in the Plaza Hotel, Verlaine’s ubiquitous Moleskine was bursting with stories to tell. And so he told them.
Taking the stage for the first time in 2008, Verlaine dabbled in the worlds of standup comedy and storytelling, regaling audiences with observational quips and tales of debauchery. He eventually found his true voice — one much darker but lined with the unbridled aspirations and enthusiasm of youth — in writing and performing music. Thus was born The Make Pretend.
The Make Pretend brings together Verlaine’s songwriting and vocals in close collaboration with Matt Keating and Greg Wieczorek (Norah Jones, Joseph Arthur, Autumn Defense) to produce an infectious set of tunes driven by an indie spirit and a diverse sound that calls to mind influences such as The Smiths, R.E.M., and Lou Reed. The result is The Make Pretend’s debut album, FORTUNE FACTORY — a record that will at once jolt your body into motion and invite you to bed.
FORTUNE FACTORY retraces Verlaine’s New York City experience, creating an amalgam of snapshots in time viewed through a foggy lens crafted by Russian Tea Room trysts and Page Six wisdom. The lead single and opening track, “Sorry I Let You Down,” opens with Verlaine looking into a mirror, lamenting, “I was living on an island half full of dreams / in a future that never came,” but the melancholic beginning builds to a soaring chorus of “down / down / down,” leaving Verlaine with a buoyancy that only comes from an accepted doorstep apology.
From Verlaine’s twisted tale of unrequited love in “Welcome to the Circus” to the slow burning “Standing on the Moon,” the duality of dream chasing persists across the entire album, creating a moody soundscape that invites reflection while demanding a charge toward the future, not unlike the city itself. As Verlaine sings in the concluding words of the record, “New York… Yeah, Yeah.”
Live performance photos by Antun Zvonar
All other photos by Reyner Joelianto
Fortune Factory album cover design by Reyner Joelianto
The Make Pretend logo by Jason Verlaine