Hunter Valentine busts lesbian-rock stereotypes

Breaking stereotypes, pushing the envelope and playing rock music while simultaneously appearing on the Real L Word Showtime series, Hunter Valentine is one of the most visible lesbian rock bands on the scene. The group plays hard rock reminiscent of times past and often invokes images of Neil Young, Janis Joplin and the Rolling Stones.

After joining the cast of The Real L Word, Kiyomi McCloskey, was quickly labeled the antagonist of the group. But as the season progressed, McCloskey said more of her true personality was portrayed, which she appreciated.

“I think that with any reality show, you need to show the dynamics of the human experience and not just one aspect of his or her character,” McCloskey said.

The show has developed a cult following and broadcast of the third season recently wrapped up. Being involved in the project helped push Hunter Valentine’s music into new audiences and crowds, McCloskey said. Coupled with a new album that delves deeper into new genres, including fast-paced punk, ballads and classic rock, Hunter Valentine is reaching new heights. They’re embarking on a tour with punk rock veterans Sum 41 and will stop in Salt Lake City at The Depot on Jan. 25.

“I love Salt Lake. The crowds are sometimes smaller than other cities, but they’re always so supportive and so energetic. It’s so much fun,” McCloskey said.

The show will feature hits from their new album, Collide and Conquer, as well as some of their earlier work, McCloskey said. But the focus will be on having a good time and playing some terrific music, she said.

“I think we’ve grown up a lot as musicians. We’ve learned to explore many different genres within our capability. We’re now open to creating pop, hard rock, melodic songs and even ballads. And we’re not afraid of putting all of that on one album,” she said

Tapping into her biggest influences, including Lucinda Williams, Muse and others, McCloskey and the other band members collaborate on all of their songs, she said. But she’s not afraid to listen to more contemporary and genre-busting music.

“I think Taylor Swift writes great pop songs. I love listening to her stuff,” she said.

And while she doesn’t shy from her influences of community and culture within the queer genre, McCloskey said she doesn’t identify as a strictly lesbian artist.

“I don’t let my sexuality define the rest of my life. Why should I let it define my music?” she said. “It’s an important part of my life and I think everyone should stay true to themselves. But we’re all people with different aspects to our lives. I don’t think we should forget that.”

For tickets and details for the show, go to depotslc.com.

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