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Hunter Valentine "Tracked Down in Pontiac"

Kiyomi of Hunter Valentine by Mikel OD Pfeiffer
A little over a week ago Hunter Valentine played a blazing set of rock fueled by punk tunes at the Pike Room. The all-female band from Ontario, fronted by fiery singer, Kiyomi, has been playing around for about a decade. With their last album “Collide and Conquer,” a spot on the Showtime Series, “Band Make or Break,” and a persistent touring schedule, Hunter Valentine have hit their stride and letting their fans know the best is yet to come. I spoke with Laura, the drummer, who along with Kiyomi started Hunter Valentine.

MCB: What was the first album you will admit to buying with your own money?
Laura: I guess I can admit it was MC Hammer’s album with “You Can’t Touch This” on it.
MCB: When did the you decide drumming was what you wanted to do full time?
Laura: 2006 is when I decided this is what I want to do. I’ve been playing drums my whole life, it’s in my blood. It’s in my family, I come from the 3rd generation of drummers. It’s just there, when I try not to play drums, something finds me and I have no choice.
MCB: I’ve always viewed the drums as this primitive instrument..
Laura: Yeah, it is. But there’s so much you can do. It might seem very old school, compared to midi keyboards, but there’s so many levels to drums. There’s your acoustic kit, drum pads, samples, you can do so much. I’m only just starting to use drum pads so it’s not limited at all.
MCB: How many times do you get asked which one is Hunter?
Laura: A lot, we just joke around with it and Kiyomi says “oh it’s me. I’m Hunter”
MCB: It’s taking a while for the new album to come out…
Laura: Yes, we’ve been busy! We toured almost 2 years straight with our last album. Then, at the end we did the reality show. Then, we started writing. This year has been about writing and getting down solid tunes. We needed a little down time after all the touring.

MCB: Do you think this is a good time to be in a band playing music?
Laura: You know there have been great times since the 30’s and 40’s and lots of changes. A lot of icons paved the way to create rock-n-roll to make it ok to listen to. I think every day now is about being the next wave, the new wave, whatever it is. So we’re in a great time to be in music because we can create the next sound.
The 80’s and 90’s were probably the time financially to be a musician, maybe even the 70’s. It was glamorous to be a rock star and people wanted to buy everything you did. Today, you more or less have to give your away your music and try to find other ways to make money to be a musician.
MCB: What I do think has changed some is that I see more women involved in music…
Laura: Absolutely, before I don’t think people liked so many woman/chick singers on the radio. They didn’t get as much airplay and that they do know. Female rock stars are the best.
MCB: Do you think women are more pressured to have a sex appeal factor than their male counterparts?
Laura: In the world, females have always been seen as sex symbols. Same is true for some men. But, there are female stars out there that don’t rely on sex appeal and they are out there getting it done. It’s not about their looks, like Sia, who is amazing songwriter right now. She had a lot issues because the record industry didn’t think she was pretty. Now she’s taken that to her own level where she’ll go play a concert with her back to the audience. So she’s saying “fuck you”  to the music industry even though she is dominating it. Yes, Sex does sell, but it’s all about the person and how they feel. I like to look sexy and I like to feel good and I put red lipstick on because I want to put it on. I don’t think it makes people like me better. I think I’m hot and that’s it.
MCB: It’s October, Halloween, what’s your favorite horror movie?
Laura: I really like serial killer documentaries. Those aren’t horror flicks but those are scarier because they are real. If I was to pick a horror movie, I’d say the Saw series. Those are sick because it’s more mental. It’s about being in a position you thought you would never be in or want to do, but there is no way you can’t do it.
MCB: Do you have a personal scary experience you can share?
Laura:  We haven’t had that something scary happen to us but let me tell you about the last time we played this place. A couple years ago we played here and I had stupidly broken my ankle on the tour. We were up for our encore, I’m on crutches and these two girls decided to get into a fight right as we are walking on stage. So the girl punches the other girl and she flies into me but I’m on crutches so this is bad. I whip her off of me with one of my crutches and she falls into Kiyomi and pins her against the wall. So that was kinds scary, but really more like “welcome to Detroit mother fuckers“.
(lead singer Kiyomi enters)
Kiyomi: We still did the encore so it ended well. There have been a few hotel situations where you are on the road and there’s 10 more hours to go. So you pull off to a motel and you options are not as good as you want them to be and those situations can be scary. You’ll be trying to sleep with what sounds like a gang fight outside your door. Or, you see things going down there are definitely not legal.
MCB: What is your favorite song to play on tour?
Kiyomi: Mine is “Blackout Nights,” it’s a new song.
Laura: Mine is new too, it’s “The Pledge.” I think were biased to the new songs. The last song we “Liar, Liar” is a lot of fun too.
 MCB: If you weren’t in a band what would you be doing?
Laura: I’d own a restaurant, some kind of food situation.
Kiyomi: What has been interesting me lately as a career wouldn’t be the first thing people would think of, but I’ve been real interested in real estate lately.

And, with that we ended our conversation, Hunter Valentine took to the stage and played a crushingly good set featuring lots of new songs and some obvious crowd favorites. The night ended with Kiyomi rapping with the lead singer of Sick of Sarah on a track that highlighted the fun they have had on tour.