Athena Desai as Hilda Voxpop

Photo of Athena Desai

Born in the States to an Indian father and a Filipina mother, Athena was destined to have a foot in two worlds, and a tenacious penchant for defying the odds.

Music was a critical form of expression for a tiny girl with a huge heart who feared she would never truly belong in any one tribe or place. Writing poetry, traveling the world, exploring multiple religions—all of this helped her see at a young age how perspectives could change according to where, when and how you lived.

In 1998 she began an eight-year career in journalism that spanned some of the most significant events in recent history, but it was a change of career and location that brought her back to music.  Athena’s health had suffered during her time reporting, and she’d used Chinese medicine to survive that time. She got her Masters in Acupuncture and Oriental medicine in 2011.

A few years later when her family had to move to Singapore for her husband’s work, she was prohibited from practicing acupuncture, and she took on playing and writing as much music as possible. Athena realized music could no longer be relegated to a distant pastime; it changed who she was, how she was living and how her purpose would manifest in the world.

Athena released her debut EP Alchemy of Ashes in 2017.

“My aspiration is that whoever listens to that record pulls back their own veils, and opens those doors where dreams have been knocking and won’t go away. When we share what’s real for us, we give each other the courage to dance outside the box.”   

Interestingly, this is not the first time Athena and Chris Mandra have worked together: Their continuing project Drunk with Honey (with international superstar Afro House producer N’Dinga Gaba) released Flutterbi in 2019 (Drunk With Honey-Flutter Bi ) with several other songs long in the works to be released… “soon”!

Lizzy Dean Holyfield (1965 – 2020)
as Sweets Mackson

What can you say about a mountain of a man with a commensurate heart?

I have known Lizzy Dean Holyfield since 1992 when he waited on me in a pizza place in Baltimore. We were together in the celebrated band Great Mutant Skywheel from 1997 – 2004 and most recently Lizzy sang in the group OSAKA BIRDS made up of me (Chris Mandra) and Dmitry Zhukov.

When it came time to choose a singer for Sweets Mackson, Lizzy was the first and only choice. 

His cruelly early death in Oct 2020 unfairly ensured that all of the “Scratch Tracks” we recorded would never be improved upon and would end up being his final, definitive statement as a musician. 

He is missed daily. 

Marcus Tucker as Tungsten

Marcus Tucker is a voice actor, rapper, singer, and writer from Northern Virginia.

He makes music and performs under the moniker, 3SIDEGOOF. On top of pursuing his dreams of making a living from his music, he hopes to add more voice acting roles to his resume.

He can be reached via email. His instagram is @maxgoof3.

FiFi Mandra as D.N. Shirley

Hi! I’m the voice actor/singer for D. N. Shirley in the game! Unlike Shirley though, I’m an actual kid! My name is FIFI Mandra, I’m 16, and I’m the child of one of the creators of the game! I’ve been singing all my life, because of how musical my family is, and getting to be a part of the game has been so much fun!!

My father and I wrote D. N. Shirley’s songs together, and the whole process has been amazing! It’s been interesting to play her because I’m nonbinary myself, so it’s been fun to get to play a character that’s different than she seems because I relate to that a lot. She sings like a little kid, but is an adult: I sing like a girl, (in the game at least) but I’m not.

My favorite song has to be Candy Bear, because you can so easily tell who my dad and I are as people and how close we are, as well as how the writing and singing process was really just messing around.

This game has been in the works for such a long time, and I’m so grateful that you, reading this, were excited about it and contributed to it. Thank you so much!

It’s hard to understand, but the whole thing just came out of an idea, how everything does, and it’s an honor for us for you to have been interested in it! 

I’m still on a journey to get better at singing, and if you’d like to tag along you can follow me @combatforwombats on instagram.  

Thanks for reading!

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