Hunter Valentine bids fans farewell with “The Pledge” and their So Long For Now Tour

Kiyomi McCloskey and Laura Petracca of Hunter Valentine has been performing together for 11 years, and while other members have come and gone, the band’s brassy brand of rock and roll has stayed consistent. With three full-length albums, several tours and two stints on reality TV (Showtime’s The Real L Word and Vh1’s Make it Or Break It: The Linda Perry Project), it almost seems like the group is just getting started. But, sadly, Hunter Valentine has announced that their appropriately titled So Long for Now tour and EP, The Pledge, will be their last.

6/8/14 Hunter Valentine photos via Hunter Valentine

“It has been an amazing ride with Hunter Valentine and [its] supporters,” Kiyomi said in a statement, “a ride that will continue to define my identity for the rest of my life. We will never forget the times that we had on the road with our fans and really hope that we can create one last epic memory with this tour.”

We spoke with Kiyomi about the decision to go on hiatus and how things have changed for her in the last decade since the band first started as a two-piece in Toronto. I was excited to see you guys are playing The Dinah again this year.

Kiyomi McCloskey: It’s always so crazy there. It’s like a whirlwind of a weekend. We’re happy to be back. Maybe it’s going to be Hunter Valentine’s last Dinah. I mean, it should be. Meaning, we’re not supposed to play any more shows, so. It’s going to be very celebratory I think. We’re still gonna do one-offs. We’re not gonna do tours but we’re probably gonna do some prides, stuff like that over the summer, and that will kind of wrap it up. We’ll be completely pretty much done by the fall. But basically, we’re keeping it open if we want to play something, we’re gonna play it.


AE: What’s the idea behind wanting to stop touring and doing what you have been doing?

KM: Really it’s just time. I mean, like anything you’ve been doing for 11, 12 years, however long you want to call it, we needed to try other things and explore ourselves as individuals and explore the world as individuals, rather than a full-on band package. Laura’s gonna start focusing more on her cooking career. She came from working in fine dining in the kitchen, so she missed it. She still did it here or there. Well, when you’re in a band at this level, you have to be all in; you can’t dabble in other things. And I was trying to dabble with other things, and it just feels like you can’t—it’s hard to focus until we put this big thing to rest a little bit. We’re not killing it, but we’re telling the fans and the supporters to not expect anything for a little while. We’re just being honest with where we’re at in our lives.


AE: You said you want to dabble in other things—what are those things?

KM: You know I’ve done some acting. I’m always going to do music, but I don’t know if I want to do music in the same way, where you go out on tour for a million months out of the year. It’s a really hard lifestyle. It wears you down, and I love it. I love it, but I don’t know. I just feel like—when I was a teenager, my biggest problem as a teenager was I felt like I got overwhelmed with all of the things that I wanted to do—all different kinds of art, sports, cooking, doing all these different things would give me a panic attack and it started again recently, where I wanted to explore other things. Acting is one. I have started working with the social app HER. I’m their New York City ambassador, basically. I’m just enjoying life and figuring out next steps, stuff like that. I am going to do music. I’m going to put out a solo record. That’s not the reason why this is all happening. It was actually Laura who wanted to get back in the kitchen full-time. 


AE: So she came to you, and you agreed because you have other things you wanted to do, too?

KM: Yeah, and it was just time. It was just time to try other stuff.


AE: Did you decide that before you recorded the EP?

KM: We went in, and we were going to make a record with Linda Perry and then, um, that didn’t pan out and then we came back to the drawing board and, I don’t know, it was just quiet for a while. And then basically [Laura] came forward and said that, and then we were deciding what we were gonna do. Like, was the band just gonna break up? We had already worked on 15 songs. It wasn’t about the music, and it wasn’t about the friendship. It wasn’t a typical band blowout or something like that. And I know no matter how much you try and say that people are going to try and demonize what happened, but we still have the best time together, all four of us. So with that, because we still enjoy making music together, enjoy one another, we wanted to finish off on a positive note to let everyone around us—our supporters, our fans and everyone around know that we’re finishing on a good note, which is the opposite of what happens with a lot of bands. They go out screaming at each other. So it’s two things: It was really important for us to leave on a good note and it was important to us to leave the fans with one last piece of work and music.


AE: So the songs on the EP, are they new songs that you came up with after deciding to break up or some you had already written?

KM: I think it was a mixture. It’s six songs on the EP, so it’s not like a full-length record but it kind of feels like one. It didn’t feel like it needed to be longer; it felt like it needed to be shorter and it says what it needs to say. It’s well-rounded and gives a farewell in a way.


AE: What happened with Linda Perry? Why didn’t it work out?

KM: [laughs] I think we just have different visions. I’m going to leave it at that. We’re still friends. Her and I talk here and there. She’s kind of a little bit of a mother mentor.