23 Valkyries, composed of Cameron Kulik (guitar, vocals, bass) and Chris Kontos (drums, backing vocals), has been writing, performing and recording together since early 2018. Last month, the band released what Kulik describes as one of his “bucket list” items: its first EP.
The duo met in in 2016 as students at Arizona State University.
“Cameron had joined the student club I was the president and co-founder of,” said Kontos. “Super rock and roll, I know. Just through conversion we discovered our mutual love for music. I had already played in other bands, been on tour, and been hired as a studio performer, while Cam was more or less just getting his feet wet.”
“We jammed a few times just for fun but didn’t play shows. I had finished school in December 2016 and moved away for work, but moved back to Phoenix in early 2018 and we started writing and practicing two to three times a week. Once we had some of our own songs and covers, we started playing open mic nights, which led to getting booked for proper shows.”
The band released the digital single “Hypnotist” in June 2019, which led to the 2020 EP, “Dire Questions,” released April 23.
Kontos describes the music as a blend different flavors of rock and roll that create “an honest and raw sound that borrows from the best parts of 70s, 90s, and current music.”
“The four EP tracks take the listener on a journey all the way from gentle melodies to powerful, unapologetic anthems.”
The opening track, “Delgado,” “blasts you back into your seat to a time when rock and roll topped the charts,” and the EP concludes with “Bloom,” an “honest and emotional account of young heartbreak with a touch of hope.”
“Our influences are found in different areas of rock music,” said Kontos. “My playing is very much rooted in 90s alternative and grunge, particularly Foo Fighters, Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins.”
Kulik agreed, and added, “My music influences were much more classic rock based (Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac) but have constantly shifted over time. If there is a guitar in the music, I’ll listen to it,” he joked.
And the band name? Kulik explained that it is in part inspired by the Jimmy Eat World song, “23.”
“The message of the story is all about how you can’t wait for the best time to do something you want. At some point you realize the perfect time to do something will never come, and that you just have to jump in.” |CST
“Dire Questions” is available now on major streaming platforms. A physical CD is planned for later release. For more, follow the band on Instagram (@23valkyriesmusic) and Facebook (fb.me/23valkyriesmusic) or send an email to 23ValkyriesMusic@gmail.com.