INTERVIEW: Hunter Valentine’s Kiyomi Dishes on Love, Music and Marriage Equality

Courtesy of Hunter Valentine

Sexy lesbian rock group Hunter Valentine toured through Seattle last weekend.  Hunter Valentine is comprised of Kiyomi McCloskey (guitarist and lead vocalist), Laura Petracca (drums), Vero Sanchez (bass), and Aimee Bassada (keyboard and guitar).

Having been featured on the third season of Showtime’s THE REAL L WORD (TRLW), their increased popularity has women everywhere swooning over Kiyomi’s bad-girl demeanor. Don’t believe all that you see on TV ladies! I chatted with Kiyomi and can tell you that she’s a much softer person than TRLW producers would have you believe.

CH: I was among the many that got tickets to your sold-out show at The Mix on Saturday.  So how do you like Seattle?  

KM: I love Seattle – it was an amazing show.  Great crowd.

CH: I got to see first-hand see just how crazy some of your fans can get.  There were women literally climbing over others trying to touch you.  Did you ever think you’d be to that level?  

KM: I don’t know, you work hard and hope for the best I guess…I didn’t think that fans would be that intense, but we really, really appreciate the love that they showed.

CH:Hunter Valentine is constantly touring, about 2/3 of the year.  What has been the band’s favorite city so far?

KM: I can’t even pick a city – we go across the country and you’re traveling for so long you come to appreciate what each city offers you.  We love being in the south but you don’t necessarily want to be in the south the whole time, then you go to the northwest and it’s different.

I love the city we live in, which is New York City, those are always good shows.

CH:When did your interest in music start?

KM: I started playing guitar when I was 12 years old  I had a really strict guitar teacher, so I put it down for more than a year.  My mom found a guitar instructor who was cool and a writer himself.  He made it really fun for me. Once I incorporated the writing, it really got my interest.

CH: Was there a particular artist you looked up to or that you’d say inspired you?

The Mix/Crystal Houtman

KM: There’s so many different artists that inspire me. Strong rocker women like Joan Jett that had lengthy amazing careers…or I love what Kings of Leon do and their work ethic. There’s lots of people that I admire.

CH: The name Hunter Valentine…who came up with that? 

KM: You know how you have those movie star names or porn star names where it’s like your first pet and street you grew up on?  It’s my really good friend at the time’s, let’s say, “movie star” name.

CH: Do you find that being an all-woman LGBTQ identifying band creates any obstacles for you that others don’t have to overcome?

KM: Sometimes, but at the end of the day I feel really lucky to have the support of that community.  Being in a band, you can’t get better support than from the queer community…but being in a band alone creates it’s own obstacles.

CH: We learned on TRLW that you have (or had) “Regional Reps.” Do the other band members have them, or is this Kiyomi-specific?

KM: I don’t have reps any more because I’m in a committed relationship with Lauren Russell, but I did pass the torch onto my band mates Laura and Aimee and they’ve continued it well.  Regional Rep has really become a thing, some people get it and the humor behind it.  Hunter Valentine has a very strong sense of humor and if you don’t get our humor you don’t get Hunter Valentine.

CH: Does Hunter Valentine have a rule against dating fellow band members?

KM: Yeah, I don’t think that’s a good thing to do…there’s already enough relationships when you’re in a band you’re trying to juggle.  It just gets too messy. I’ve seen it happen in other bands.

CH: When you’re listening to music rather than playing it, who’s on your playlist?

KM: I just bought the new Metric, I really like Kings of Leon, I like Lady Hawk, I’m a sucker for shitty pop songs. I’m not even going to say.

CH: What’s your favorite shitty pop song?

KM: Uh…I’m a sucker for Taylor Swift.

CH: In November the state of Washington will vote to approve or reject Referendum 74 which would protect (Approve) or take away (Deny) marriage equality to same-sex couples in Washington State. Living in New York and being from Ontario where you have the freedom to marry,  do you believe in equal rights?

KM: I believe in equal rights.  I don’t necessarily feel like I need to get married, but I feel like I need the same rights everyone else has.  I’m lucky enough to get married in my own country and my girlfriend is American so we could get married in New York.  But even if we got married in New York, it doesn’t cross over to other states, so I think there needs to be equality across the nation.  We’re getting there but it’s going to be a process.

CH: And finally, can we here at the The Seattle Lesbian say that Hunter Valentine is for the approval of Referendum 74?

KM: Absolutely, absolutely, I can’t believe you even asked that.

Hunter Valentine’s new album Collide and Conquer comes out October 23. Find out more about Hunter Valentine and Kiyomi right here.

Also On The Web