October Project is an American pop rock band that was signed to major label Epic Records from March 1993 to June 1996.

The members of the band during that time were Mary Fahl (lead vocals), Marina Belica (keyboard/vocals), David Sabatino (guitar/vocals), Emil Adler (piano/vocals), and Julie Flanders, the band's lyricist, who was not a performing member at the time. Urbano Sanchez, the band's percussionist, is listed as an additional musician on the two albums released by Epic, and appears in band photos from that period, but was not officially a member of the band.

The lineup since 2001 has been: Belica (lead vocals), Flanders (vocals), and Adler (piano/vocals). Both Sabatino and Sanchez occasionally perform with the group live. The band has also performed regularly with Martha Colby (cello), Chris Benelli (percussion), and Craig Benelli (guitar).

Flanders and Adler are the band's primary songwriters.

Early stages

Flanders and Adler began writing songs together while still in their teens growing up in Montclair, New Jersey.

Flanders and Belica met as freshmen at Yale University. In their senior year they collaborated with Adler to write the musical revue Measure By Measure. In 1981 they were accepted as a team into the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, studying first with Lehman Engel and then Maury Yeston. Other students in that class included Michael John LaChiusa and Gerard Alessandrini.

Adler and Sabatino met at a jam session in New York City. At the time Adler was finishing his Master's thesis in music composition at Rutgers University. Together with their friend, Paul Byrne, they started a music production company, Tritone Productions. In 1985 they built a recording studio in a New Jersey garage, which Adler would eventually use to produce the first demo recordings of singer/songwriter Lee Feldman and Sufjan Stevens' college band, Marzuki. October Project would use the studio as its home base during its developmental phase.

Flanders met Faldermeyer (later Fahl) in New York City and introduced her to Adler in the summer of 1989. The songwriters immediately made plans to form a band around her.

The band spent eighteen months in Tritone's garage studio refining their instrumentation and arrangements, and occasionally changing their configuration. The initial lineup (as of October 1989) included Paul Byrne (guitar) and Mark Huntley (drums/vocals). Byrne and Huntley left after a few months. Sanchez was later recruited as percussionist and was invited to join the band, but declined in favor of retaining sideman status.

The band was without a name during its developmental phase. The name "October Project" was inspired by the title of a file folder kept by Adler, containing chord sheets and arrangements, and which referred to their intent to book a first gig by the upcoming October--a goal they missed by one month. The band played its first gig in November 1991 to a capacity crowd at the Bond Street Café in New York City.

The band quickly earned a devoted following by playing regularly at many of the music clubs of downtown Manhattan, including The Speakeasy, The Sun Mountain Café, Beowulf, CB's 313 Gallery, and The Bitter End. It was at CBGB's that they were first heard by their future manager, Peter Ciaccia. They soon took up residence at the original Café Sin-é on St. Mark's Place, where they often traded sets with other artists of the time, most notably Jeff Buckley.

Major label

In 1993, the band was signed by Michael Caplan of Epic Records, a subsidiary of Sony BMG. In November of that year they released their first album, the eponymous October Project, recorded in Nashville, produced by Glenn Rosenstein and engineered by Jay Healy. The band toured throughout the US for much of 1994, opening for several acts, including the Crash Test Dummies and Sarah McLachlan, and appearing on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. They produced two music videos that year, one for each of their released singles, "Bury My Lovely" and "Return To Me." The latter single was included in the soundtrack to the motion picture, Blown Away, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Jeff Bridges.

After a nine-city promotional tour of Europe the band returned to Nashville in early 1995 to record their second album, Falling Farther In, produced by Peter Collins and engineered by David Leonard. It was released in September 1995. A headlining tour of the US included additional players Julian Coryell (guitar), Kevin Jenkins (bass), and Craig Thatcher (drums). Among the artists who opened for October Project on that tour were Joy Askew, Jane Kelly Williams, and Once Blue (composed of Jesse Harris and Rebecca Martin).

In June 1996 the band's contract with Epic was terminated without official explanation from the label. The band members decided to discontinue their mutual involvement.

November Project

Songwriters Flanders and Adler formed a new band, November Project. The members were Mary Anne Marino (lead vocals), Julie Flanders (keyboard/vocals), Emil Adler (keyboard/vocals), Rob Friedman (guitar), Mike Visceglia (bass), and Doug Yowell (drums). The band was managed by Jeremy Morrison. In 1999, November Project released a five-song EP, A Thousand Days, co-produced by Adler and Friedman. In 2000, the group disbanded citing artistic differences.

A full-length album, partially funded by fans through the band's web site, and co-produced by Adler and guitarist Gerry Leonard, was in production prior to the team's dissolution. The album was not released.

October Project re-formed

After working together in the studio and performing at several venues as OP(iii), Flanders, Adler, and Belica chose to reunite in 2001. In March 2003, the trio released a six-song EP, Different Eyes, produced by Adler. In June 2006, a tribute album, October Project Covered, was released, featuring performances by sixteen independent artists of songs by Flanders and Adler.

October Project was inactive from 2006-2010. A new web site was launched in July 2010, wherein it was announced that the recording and production of a full-length studio album is underway.

In 2011, October Project announced two "Live at the Loft" shows, on July 21 and 22, at a private loft in SoHo in New York City. The lineup was Belica, Flanders, Adler, Sabatino (guitar), and Chris Benelli (drums).

Related developments

Marina Belica

Current lead vocalist Belica has also been pursuing a career as a solo artist under the name "decembergrrl." She invited former team-mates Flanders, Adler, Sabatino, and Sanchez to participate in recording a version of October Project's single, "Return to Me", sung by Belica and produced by Adler. The cover became the feature track of Belica's five-song EP, decembergirl, released in 2000. Belica also composed a full-length instrumental album, One Sky, released in 2003, produced by Randy Crafton and Chris Cunningham.

Mary Fahl

Former lead vocalist Fahl has been pursuing a career as a solo artist. Her writing collaborators have included Bob Riley, Ramsey McLean and Glenn Patscha. In 2001, she released Lenses of Contact, a four-song EP of her collaborations, produced by Jeffrey Lesser. Signed by Sony Classical, she released a full-length album, The Other Side of Time in 2003, also produced by Lesser. In 2006, Fahl recorded From the Dark Side of the Moon for V2 Records. The album, produced by Mark Doyle and David Werner, is an interpretation of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon. Following the restructuring of V2, the album was put in storage for several years. It is set to be released late 2011.