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Interview: Hunter Valentine

5 min read

Over the past decade Canadian foursome Hunter Valentine have been making ripples on the alternative rock scene and collecting quite a substantial fan-base along the way.

The band, which consists of vocalist and lead guitarist Kiyomi McCloskey, drummer Laura Petracca, bassist Leanne Bowes and Aimee Bessada on guitar and keyboards, have toured the world and performed alongside some of musics most iconic, including filling the support slot for Cyndi Lauper’s 2013 She So Unusual 30th Anniversary tour.

The band have recently announced a return to the road for the Ladykillers tour which starts in Philadelphia on September 25th and currently takes them into mid-October, ending with a show at New York’s Mercury Lounge on October 19th. Ahead of the tour we were lucky enough to have a chat with front-woman Kiyomi McCloskey about the bands influences and upcoming U.S tour dates. Here is what she had to tell us…

Brendon Veevers: Hi Kiyomi. You have recently announced that you will be taking to the road at the end of the month for your Ladykillers Tour. Can you tell us a little about your plans for these newly announced dates and what type of show fans might expect to get?

Kiyomi McCloskey: Hi Brendon. We are very excited to bring the Ladykiller Tour back! Fans should look forward to a high energy, loud rock show. We have a lot of new songs that we will be playing for the first time, but we will also be bringing back some oldies into the mix.

BV: You tour quite relentlessly and the upcoming Ladykillers Tour is set to add an extension to your work on stage. What do you love the most about performing live?

KM: We love seeing that immediate, emotional reaction from fans. There really is nothing like playing live.

BV: What’s the band like on the road? Do you go wild or is it more of a tame affair? Any crazy stories or fan encounters that have happened on tour in the past that you can share with us?

KM: We have been touring for a long time, so I feel like we have definitely had our share of crazy times. We always put the music and live show before any craziness though.

BV: Are there any cities or venues that you will all be particularly excited to plan on the upcoming tour?

KM: Honestly, every city holds different memories for us on stage. we’re excited to just be out there again. Texas does hold a special place in our heart though..maybe it’s because we’ve been going there for a long time and started our fan base from the ground up or maybe it’s because of that Texan hospitality.

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BV: Who inspired Hunter Valentine? What artists have been the most influential to the band?

KM: We love big dramatic bands like, MUSE, Queen, the Distillers, QOTSA etc.

BV: Tell us about the long-term vision of Hunter Valentine. Aside from creating kick-ass music, what message do you hope to deliver to fans of your music and to fans of music in general?

KM: We hope that we encourage our fans to believe that live, authentic music is still alive and well. We would like to show people music that has honesty in it, is truly the best kind out there.

BV: You were documented in Season 3 of the hit TV show The Real L Word in 2012. How did the opportunity to appear in the show come about and what do you think the show has done for the band profile?

KM: The casting people contacted our booking agent and had us audition via Skype. The rest is history…The Real L Word exposed our band to people on more of an international level. We never thought that it would have that kind of reach and we couldn’t be more grateful for it. We are consistently meeting new supporters that have discovered us through the Real L Word.

BV: If you could collaborate in any way with another artist or band, who would be in your Top 3 and why?

KM: 1. Freddy mercury: because he is a genius 2. Amy Winehouse: she was a raw, amazing, honest talent 3. Muse: we feel like they would teach us a lot as a band

Hunter Valentine
BV: What do you think it is that each band member brings to the table that makes Hunter Valentine such a solid unit?

KM: Leanne is the calm one with the most common sense and she has the ability to understand each of us really well and explain our points of view to one another.

Laura brings up the energy no matter what. She can turn a negative situation into a rainbow and make us ALL believe it’s gonna be just fine!

Lisa Bianco is brand new! However, her belief in the band and work ethic makes us feel like we can conquer anything.

Uhhh and me.. I have no idea.. You would have to ask them.

BV: Last year you had the fortune of joining Cyndi Lauper during her She’s So Unusual Anniversary tour throughout the U.S. What was that like, did she offer you any advice and were you all fans of Cyndi before taking on that role?

KM: Cyndi was an amazing artist to tour with. I will never forget that tour for the rest of my life.

As a performer, she taught me that night after night, you need to command your audience and take them where you want. Whether you do that with showing your vulnerability or power, it’s all about keeping them engaged. That woman works her ass off on tour.

BV: When can we expect the next Hunter Valentine album to land and what might we be able to expect with the new record?

KM: I think realistically in the new year. Honestly, right now..I have no idea what to expect. All of the songs are very different to me, but I think all share the common ground of growing up.

BV: Aside from the upcoming tour, what else is in the pipeline for the rest of the year and 2015 that fans might be able to look forward to?

KM: Well, the biggest thing right now would be a new record, which means lots of tours, new music videos and Hunter Valentine world domination.

Hunter Valentine’s North American Ladykillers Tour starts on September 25th at the North Star Bar in Philadelphia. Click here for a full list of tour dates.

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