Edmonton band won’t choke

By Chris Tihor

Choke is one of those bands that if you like them, you like them a lot, and if you don’t, well, you just don’t.

"We’re completely a love them or hate them band," say Clay Shea, bass player of the Edmonton-based group. More and more people have discovered Choke’s melodic speed punk sound, and include themselves in the love ’em category. Shea has reason to believe that this trend will continue with the release of Choke’s new album, There’s A Story to This Moral, April 23.

"We put a lot of time into this record," says Shea. "Once we got time to start writing, we just stopped everything else we were doing. We even stopped playing shows for about six months."

Shea says this time was more than extra effort. Over the last six monthes, Choke focused their efforts on songwriting in particular.

We just wanted to get back into writing good songs as a whole," he says. "Songs that to the average person may not necessarily sound that brilliant, but that the musician types and the people that have really seemed to take to us in the past will still definitely appreciate." Hopefully this change will translate effectively to fans.

"The songs are a lot more graspable on the first listen, than the last album–a little bit more melodic but still Choke," says Shea, pointing out that this did not compromise their sound. "It’s by no means intended for a bigger market though, I don’t want to sound like it’s softened up."

Touring has helped Choke expand their fan base. On April 19, they will begin three months of touring that will take them from Edmonton to Newfoundland and all the way down to Florida. While touring has been rewarding for Choke, it hasn’t always been easy, particularly south of the border.

"Our first U.S. tour was pretty sketchy, and the second one seemed to have more bad shows than good ones. The third time we went, which was last year, we focused more on the east coast and had a lot more luck," he remembers. "There were a handful of shows that really stood out because we had a fan base that we didn’t even know existed."

A great relationship with their label, Smallman Records, made learning much easier for Choke.

"Smallman has just been great," says Shea. "We’ve worked together to make both the label and the band grow. With a great label, a growing fan base, and a new album, Shea, sees only a bright future for his band."

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