The Musicians

Melati Olivia

Melati is a founding member of Choke the Word, having derived the concept for a six piece progressive rock project in the early months of 2008. She has been a vocalist for musical projects since she was 16 years old, having received training in Speech-Level-Singing for several years, and has always been drawn to the heavier musical stylings of rock and metal vocalists. In addition to her role as a vocalist, Melati also plays guitar and has contributed to the writing process on the songs on the band's first album.

As the voice of the band, Melati strives to create an element of tension and provocation with her lyrical subjects, ranging from social commentary to views on the divergences of religion. Her viewpoints often encapsulate a point-counterpoint perspective as she constructs a somewhat satirical annotation of the world and its unique inhabitants. When not writing music, Melati can be found on the slopes in the mountains, nailed to a plank of wood, going 50,000 miles per hour down a hillside of frozen water, or playing with her Shiba Inu, Gama.

Melati’s favorite color is red. Like blood. BLOOOOOOOD!
Cameron Hays

Cameron broke his mother’s heart by forsaking his classical training on violin and viola to play rock music. His love of deep sustained booming sounds is etched on his soul (or at least the skin on his right shoulder in the form of a tattoo).  He received a bachelors degree in ethnomusicology (Google it) and is never happier than when writing new material for the band, feeling that his strengths as a musician are in composition rather than performance.

A long-time composer of electronic music, Cameron has been frustrated with how to translate his electronic work to live performance. The solution in Choke The Word was to use a Roland PK-5 pedal keyboard to trigger electronic samples with his feet while playing bass. Cameron primarily plays a Pedulla bass with an expanded upper register with Ampeg and Nemesis amplification.

When not performing with the band, Cameron works as a social studies and music teacher at an alternative high school. He has a graduate degree in the psychology field, but promises not to use his intimate understanding of the human mind for evil purposes. His proudest musical achievements are co-producing Choke The Word’s album and performing at Red Rocks Amphitheater.

Cameron’s favorite color is grey. The color of his cold, dead heart.
Mike M.

Mike is a man with simple pleasures: soccer, strong alcohol, super hero movies, the Broncos, the Street Fighter video game, and rocking the hell out on guitar. Early in his tenure with Choke The Word, Mike tore his ACL in his right knee and had ligament surgery, making him the only member of the band with pieces of a cadaver implanted in his body (making him immune to zombie outbreak). The rest of the band secretly envies him for this.

Mike plays Music Man guitars (a seven string, and a six string with a dropped tuning) through a Fractal Audio AxeFX Ultra and Mesa Boogie amps and cabinets.

Mike’s love of chocolate milk is almost as legendary as his hatred of Phillip Rivers.

His favorite color is blue, despite the fact that his English football team of choice is Arsenal.
Gracie Stean

In this band of many strings, Gracie's are the cutest, as hers are on a pink sparkly electric violin.  She plays a custom electric violin with crystals and LED's which light up the stage, making you forget for a just a moment that Choke The Word's music tends toward the dark side.

Gracie loves playing rock music, as it quickens the pulse more than the classical music she is trained in.  Plus, it's a special treat to play on a 5 string violin, piped through an L.R. Baggs Para DI and a variety of Danelectro effects.

Gracie has studied with violin greats such as Mrs. S.L. Wann and Drs. A. Brandolino & J. Rutland, and has played in many orchestras including The Central Missouri University Symphonic Orchestra, The Kansas City Philharmonia. She currently lends her talents to the Arapahoe Philharmonic Orchestra.

When she isn't on stage Gracie is chasing down her active sons (one human, one K9), admiring their cuteness, and showing them the world!

Gracie’s favorite color is pink, shocking absolutely no one.
Allison Allain

Ali designs and implements software by day, with a particular interest in artificial neural networks.  However, by night Ali is a classically trained cellist making her first foray into this new world of rock.  She began singing and playing the piano; then cello, bass guitar and pipe organ.  After a meager attempt at the "family business" (jazz), Choke The Word’s academic form of rock seemed to be a better fit.

Ali's electric cello is a DIY rig.  A full-size beginner cello (plywood) in poor condition, with a 4"x6" hole in the side. The cello is stuffed full of violet decorative lights and upholstery foam to prevent feedback.  A K&K branded bass pickup is placed on the bridge, running through a L.R. Baggs preamp.  Fun fact - The hair on Ali's bow is worth twice as much as the bow itself.

Ali is a special and unique snowflake who refused to pick a single color, but her favorite combination is black with silver.
Chris Ortega

Chris’ past is mysterious and the band knows very little about his life before they found him naked and twitching in a crater in the middle of a cornfield. Unable to remember anything, Chris began to exhibit a predilection for drumming while the band tried unsuccessfully to find out his identity. This may, actually have been due to the band locking him in a small room with only a drum kit and refusing to feed him until he could hold a steady beat (they really needed a drummer at the time).

Chris’ favorite color is green, which may in fact be the only color he can see through his alien optical system.