An interview with Hunter Valentine

If you haven’t heard of Hunter Valentine yet, I’ll do my best to school you and bring you up to speed. The three badass Canadian babes practically sweat rock ‘n roll, and lead singer Kiyomi McCloskey growls with the ferocity of a scorned lover while looking like a young, part-Asian Joan Jett. With Adrienne Lloyd on bass and Laura Petracca on drums, the openly queer trio released their third album, Lessons from the Late Night, today on Tommy Boy Records. Also today, they’ve be doing all they can to break the world record for performing the most gigs in a set amount of time all around New York.

I chatted with Kiyomi and Adrienne about the new album, their coming out stories and who their picks are for the Hot 100. Where did the three of you meet?

Kiyomi: I met Laura first in Toronto back when I was 17. I snuck into a gay bar. I thought I was such a cool, really bad ass kid. I was standing at the bar wearing those super ’80s-style cycling glasses as sort of a joke. And me and my friend were both wearing them and Laura just walked right up to us — because she’s kind of a prankster and a joker — and we started talking about music and we hit it off right away. And we’ve been playing music together ever since.

We were introduced to Adrienne after we kicked some dude out of the first incarnation of Hunter Valentine. We were introduced through a Canadian musician named Lorraine Segato who was in the pop/new wave band Parachute Club back in the ’80s. So we met Adrienne, played a few times and then our first big gig was Pride Toronto, and the rest is history.

AE: Are you going to be playing any prides this year?

Adrienne: Yeah! Actually we’re playing LA, San Fran, Portland, Toronto. You must have a Ladyfest we can hop on to.

AE: If there is any way I can make it so you can come out here, I will make that happen. The new album is Lessons from the Late Night. I’m wondering what are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from the late night?

Kiyomi: The biggest lesson? Is to always wake up in the morning and not look at anything as a regret but as a lesson. And learn from that.

Adrienne: I would say from the last album to this album, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that people around us — people we’re dating, people we’re working with on a business level — those people come and go, but at the end of the day, I’ve always got Kiyomi and Laura sleeping beside me in our minivan. As we change cities or no matter what’s happening in our personal lives, we’ve got this future invested in each other.

AE: You’ve got a line in your song “Scarface” about a girl dragging you into a bathroom stall. Why do you think lesbians always default to the bathroom?

Kiyomi: I think if something goes wrong and someone starts crying, then maybe no one will see it and they can deny it ever happened.