Punk Out's Kat Hamilton spoke with Kiyomi McCloskey, vocalist and guitarist of Toronto's Hunter Valentine, about the band's upcoming tour and hiatus.
Interview by Kat Hamilton
Punk Out: You are currently preparing for your upcoming tour, which is your last, at least for a while. How are rehearsals going?
Kiyomi McCloskey: They are going really well! We have actually been working our asses off these past couple of months. We have four records and want to pull out all of the, “classics,” as well as giving the fans an introduction to the new record.
PO: What are your favorite songs to play live from your upcoming EP, “The Pledge?"
KM: We don’t know yet, because we haven’t really played them the way we have recorded them yet. It’s pretty exciting as a performer to have this much material to work with.
PO: Your “So Long For Now” tour kicks off the bands hiatus. How does it feel to be taking an extended break from a band that’s been over a decade in the making?
KM: It is a very strong mix of emotions. We are all excited for the future and what it holds for us as individuals, but we love hanging out on the road together and have a great musical connection. Hunter will always exist, it’s something that is built inside of us. That’s why it’s “so long FOR NOW,” not forever!
PO: How has this phase of Hunter Valentine affected your sound? If at all?
KM: This phase kind of set us free in terms of creativity. We had no one to answer to, but ourselves and our long time supporters. I think the sound is a little bit poppier, but it still has that dark HV edge to it.
PO: Did you know when writing the EP that this would be the last (for now) for Hunter Valentine? Did that effect the songwriting?
KM: We have never sat down and said, “Now we are going to write a record.”
These songs are from various times since the last record. Some of the songs we knew that the band was done-ish, but not all of them. There is a sense of sadness to it, because of that, but there is also a strong sense of pride. We are very proud of how far we have come and what we have achieved.
PO: Your new single, “Blackout Nights,” has been stuck in my head! Is a music video headed our way? How does the song reflect the sound of, “The Pledge?”
KM: I hope there will be a music video. We’ll have to wait and see... This is definitely a stand out song. I think the catchiness of it reflects the record.
PO: Hunter Valentine has been closely linked with the LGBTQ+ community. Do you feel like your shows reflect this connection? What would you say to your queer fans if given the chance?
KM: I think that in general our shows are inclusive of all communities. I like to believe that this is what makes a Hunter Valentine concert so unique. You could show up with your straight, football playing friend, your transgender grandmother, your hippie stoner friend and your republican boss and I guarantee everyone would have something in the show to relate to and they would also all have an awesome time!
To the queer fans I would say, thank you for showing us so much beautiful support over the years and thank you for not being afraid to be who you are.
PO: Do you feel as though queer/ LGBTQ+ artists have a responsibility to be involved in social issues?
KM: I believe that every artist should stand up for what they believe in, no matter how big or small your stage or platform is.
PO: Can we expect new projects after the tour? Maybe a guest article for our Artist Corner?
KM: I have been writing a solo record for years and I hope to move on it quickly after we wrap the tour. I can’t stop and won’t stop making music ever. Sure to a guest article! Would love that.
Editor's Note: The views and opinions expressed on our Artist Corner are exclusively of the author or interviewee and do not reflect the views and opinions of Punk Out as an organization. If you're a musician or an industry insider and would like to participate in our Artist Corner, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.