Arizona rock duo 23 Valkyries offer up a medley of rock elements that jumps from catchy singalong tracks to tear-jerking ballads to screaming guitar solos. In fact, it’s a sound they describe as “kind of like if Tom Petty met up with Dave Grohl for a beer.”
The band is formed of university pals Cameron Kulik (guitar, vocals, bass) and Chris Kontos (drums), who released their their debut EP Dire Questions at the end of last month.
From it they sent us second track Five Minutes To Freedom. It opens up with repeating guitars and drums that pick up a notch then feed into an engaging opening verse of “Lucky me staring out a hotel room, It’s got a picket fence, I’m a picky mess, I trashed my car, Trashed my life.”
That feeds into a catchy little section with repeats of “I just want the freedom in my veins,” then a little guitar lick feeds into another laid-back verse. Give it a listen below:
Another track we’re loving the sound of is the catchy Delgado. It opens up with a little repeating guitar riff that feeds into big engaging vocals over a driving riff and drums. The verse ends with the line “As they swear his name saying Oh-oh-oh-oh-woh” and feeds into the catchy chorus “His name’s Delgado, Yeah he’s the fastest slinger, Got a hard demeanour, He’s even fought his own soul, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh a real desperado, ‘Cause he reeks of kerosene, But never cares to be seen.”
After a second chorus the pace drops down with light guitars and rolling drums and builds up alongside repeats of “You better pray to your god cause he will get you,” which gives way to a meandering guitar solo. That feeds into a final chorus then the closing lines “You better watch your back for Delgado, He’s the meanest man of the grotto, He’s going to take you down, Take you home and burn it all to the ground, His name’s Delgado.”
We love this track and you can give it a listen below:
We had a chat with Cameron and Chris to find out more about the band. Read on below…
GR: Who are 23 Valkyries?
23V: “We are Cameron Kulik (guitar, vocals, bass) and Chris Kontos (drums) from Tempe, Arizona, USA.”
Chris: “Cameron and I met back in 2016 when we were students at Arizona State University. We were both in the same student organization and through conversation discovered our mutual love for music. We jammed a couple of times, but it wasn’t until 2018 when we started writing and playing open mic nights.
Cameron: “Fun fact, Chris and I went to the same high school however we are a year a part so we never met (large school).”
GR: You just released Five Minutes to Freedom. What should people be expecting from the song?
23V: “This is a song meant to be played at full volume on a summer road trip. For us it’s about cutting loose and partying in the sun with good friends.”
Chris: “The song was born out of a practice session one night. It started off with that first drum beat and suddenly we were playing along to the main riff. Cameron was just improvising lyrics over everything. It was so fun to play we decided we had to keep it and polish it.”
Cameron: “They should expect their speakers to be blown out if they are listening to it at the correct loudness! It was written to be a modern version of those classic rock songs we all know and love. The intro itself was really inspired by saying ‘what would make a really cool intro to a commercial or TV show.'”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
Cameron: “A medley of rock. You’ve got your classic screaming guitar solo rock for one song, and then you’re suddenly hit with a tear jerking acoustic ballad. The sound is kind of like Tom Petty met up with Dave Grohl for a beer.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
Cameron: “Honestly, I’m just a fan of the process. The inspiration usually comes from dinking around on the guitar and finding a cool chord progression or riff.
“Some of the writing ends up being about how I feel about events that are happening in my own personal life, but for the most part I like to try and tell stories. I like to think in scenarios and stories and like to try and paint those out in songs. I think the latter is way more fun!”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
23V: “We’re influenced by bands and musicians from all different decades of rock and roll. Fleetwood Mac, AC/DC, Foo Fighters, and Jake Bugg just to name a few.”
GR: What have you got coming up in 2020?
Cameron: “No promises, but I’d really like to release another single this year!”
Chris: “Another single release would be fun! We’re just gonna have to wait and see what we cook up.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music
Cameron: “I only recently started writing and playing music within the last 5 years. I figured I was too old to get started in it and waited way too long before I picked it up and learned how much I love it. Take the jump! You will be happy you did, and you’re never too old to learn something new!”
Chris: “Playing music with my friends and being behind the drum kit is my absolute most favorite thing in the world. We’re very happy to be able to share our music and hope people have as much fun listening as we have creating.”