In Music

Dark Horse Project hits pay dirt

Liv Mueller -- aka Liv Lovely, after her successful run fronting killer local trio The Lovelies -- is one of the city's best talents. She's got a throaty roar of a voice, skills as a songwriter and guitarist and the look of a rock star. So, it's little surprise that the debut disc by her band The Dark Horse Project has been getting some attention.

The eponymous 11-song disc -- packed full of melodic, but hard-hitting, brash rock and roll -- was self-released in 2005 and has now been picked up by Dalloway Records. And one of the songs from the record was featured in the new Courteney Cox show, "Dirt," this month. The record was recorded with Mark Hutner and Ethan Allen (Throwing Muses, Better Than Ezra) and Grant Curry.

The Dalloway deal, says DHP drummer Dan Niedziejko (Dorian Gray) -- who has been in the band since last January and join Mueller and multi-instrumentalist Josh Rickun -- is the product of Mueller's reputation.

"The label is run by two partners who were familiar with the Lovelies and knew Liv was a very strong talent. The CD made its rounds by virtue of a buzz that had developed once it was completed. There were some other indie labels, but we went with this one based upon good vibes and a very ambitious artist-friendly one record deal. There were other more established indies with track records, but we went with this start-up because they were the most enthusiastic, generous and promised us the most control over the product. We will see if it was the right call! They are taking on a lot by starting a label basically from scratch and signing us."

Dalloway re-released the disc in November and steps toward success have come quickly, says Niedziejko, in the form of the TV exposure for a start.

"Our publishing company shopped it to some production companies -- they liked what they heard and opted to use the "Danger" track. More is in the works ... more TV and Film potentially. ('Dirt') aired on Fox. (The song) was played during the first scene during the first episode."

DHP has also landed in the coveted CMJ chart. The band was second in the top 200 adds to college radio.

"We are very pleased; college radio is liking us," Niedziejko enthuses. "All three of us have been playing music most of our lives, it's great anytime that's validated."

In the meantime, DHP is prepping for the future by staying focused, says Niedziejko.

"(We'll) continue to play shows throughout the Midwest. We are writing songs like fiends. As a three-piece we are
really coming together. We have almost enough material for another full-length album. We're starting to consider our pre-production on these tracks. Recording to follow, but not until we make more strides spreading the current record."


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