Hunter Valentine is a rock trio from Brooklyn via Canada and is made up of vocalist/guitarist Kiyomi McCloskey, bassist Adrienne Lloyd and drummer Laura Petracca. Lesbian life interviewed Kiyomi Mcloskey - artistic, clever, edgy, with an outrageous work ethic and speaks straight from the heart. Hunter Valentine’s band members are independent, focused, and well seasoned, with surprisingly mature attitudes at such young ages. Lesbian Life had the experience of sitting down with the lead vocalist, guitarist and song writer of the dynamic trio, here is what this rising rock icon, had to say.
Lesbian Life: Hunter Valentine…you know I have to tell you, when Kathy from Lesbian Life emailed me about doing this interview, I thought the name Hunter Valentine represented one person, but when I looked at the link I discovered it was three, risky, dicey, chancy young women who are rock stars in their own right. Thanks for sharing this time with me today Kiyomi.
How did you guys come up with the name Hunter Valentine?
Kiyomi McCloskey: We wanted to create a fictional character that sort of represented all of those adjectives that you were describing - you know like risky, dangerous, sort of like the ultimate heart breaker kind of person. So it’s suppose to like sound like it is one person but, the name really represents an attitude which it’s sort of like this don’t give a shit attitude. But it’s, many different things. Hunter Valentine doesn’t really have a gender and that’s another element of what we were trying to bring into the whole thing. This person who walks around breaking hearts all the time but he or she doesn’t even know that they’re doing it. We’ve all encountered somebody like that in our lives whether it was the person who stole your sweetheart in high school, or whatever. So it represents, that attitude.
How did you guys meet?
I was 17 in Toronto Canada and I was…kind of like a punk ass little kid sneaking into girl bars when I was under age. I meet Laura in one of Toronto’s older gay bars and she saw me sitting a the bar with my friend. We were clearly under age, and she came up to me immediately and started talking to me about music. I found out she played drums. I said yea, I play in a band because I had been playing around Toronto since I was about 15. We really hit it off. We stayed out until the wee hours talking music and watching live music. Three months after that I needed a drummer, and all I could remember was that her name was Laura and she worked in this restaurant and it was a huge restaurant, so I called the restaurant and I was like describing what she looked like and I basically tracked her down and then we met up and we started playing together and the rest is history.
So how did Adrienne come into the picture?
Laura and I played for about a year when we parted ways with some musicians. We were looking for a bass player and I had a mentor at the time who was an older musician. She’s sort of like a queer pop icon name Lorraine Segato. She was in a band called The Parachute Club
. She knew Adrienne and introduced us. We had our first rehearsal and decided it was a good fit and played our first show as Hunter Valentine at a Pride Toronto event six years ago.
I’ve heard about your dirty basement magic. What was it like during those rehearsals, could you guys feel something big was about to happen?
I had a vision of doing this and succeeding and doing it as a career. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I was 17 years old, but for some reason I knew…like in the beginning Laura was on her way to becoming a big chef you know and for a while I had to convince her. I’d be like listen…you know if you just stick with me, stick with this kid, we’re gonna do something, we’re going to travel the world and a few places. Once we all committed, which was after the first year, we were on a mission. So when we were in those rehearsals we were extremely focused. We would practice six times her week.
When did you know music was your passion, I mean did you grow up thinking, I want to be a musician in a rock band?
Yea, I mean as a kid and as a teenager I always had such a high respect for music and I held it so high, like I didn’t actually think I could do it as a career, I didn’t think it was possible. I met this female songwriter. She had a teacher who she introduced me to. He was actually a local songwriter in Toronto and I started off with him learning other people’s songs. I knew that he was always going out and playing shows himself, so I started asking him to play me new songs that he’d written. I was really, really, really, intrigued by the songwriting and liked how you crafted a song. Putting it together it was a really interesting creative puzzle to me. I become more and more interested in it, to the point at the end of a lesson I would be like “Hey, I wanna play you a song now.” (laughing) And that’s when I really knew I had a passion for playing music myself, and that I could do it.
Do you guys write your own material, and if so how do you go about coming up with a song?
It’s always different, whether the lyrics come first, or the melody. It’s always a different or unique process, but usually it will come from a cool hook, or a cool drum beat that somebody’s got, just playing around. I still do write some of the songs in my bedroom. But yea it’s always different.