Voodoo Queen Digital Magazines Interview with Sunflower Dead
VQDM: Sunflower Dead – an interesting name and the story behind it is even more unique… Was it a no brainer to take on the role of characters from the graphic novel crafted by singer Michael Del Pizzo?
Thank You. Yes, it was a no brainer because before we chose the name Sunflower Dead, the 5 of us had already decided we wanted to be more than just a band in the same ole same ole clothes. SFD had to be larger than life. When I told the guys about the SFD story, they all were like, let’s be those characters. Hey, it’s Halloween every night and allows us to really put on a great show.
VQDM: Some people have said alter personas are easy to slip into, was that the case for you guys or did it take some getting used to?
It was really comfortable very quickly but I will say that touring the US so much on our debut album really allowed us to grow into what works for SFD live. At first I think we acted a little more sinister and then as time progressed, our personalities starting coming out and the whole “It’s Time To Get Weird” thing started evolving. Smiling became a thing to do on stage and the audience responds by smiling back. I mean, who smiles at a metal show? Evil Seeds do!
VQDM: Are there any future plans to capitalize on the Sunflower Dead graphic novel franchise? –nudge, nudge-
But of course… the story line is written out and my co-writer has been chosen. He is a very well esteemed horror author and movie maker. I will announce him shortly. We are going to flesh out the story a bit, get this thing drawn and premiere it at Comic Con when it is done. Who knows, maybe a tv show, a children’s cartoon or a movie could be in the future.
VQDM: You guys have completed 6 US Tours and have European shows lined up as well – no small feat to achieve and your fan base is growing steadily day to day. In the industry, some people just know they’re meant to shine; sometimes it is complete luck/coincidence. Did you guys always have the feeling that Sunflower Dead would do exceptional things? Were there doubts, or did that little voice the back of your head always whisper “This is it.”?
Well, we did the 6 US tours and the Euro/ UK tour and had a blast. Now we are gearing up for Spring, Summer and Fall US Touring to support our new album. I guess we all felt we had something special and I but in today’s day and age you have to be smart. We took the attitude of let’s go step by step. If step one worked, then we would move onto step two. Well here we are still moving up those steps and all is going strong. Step by step my friends! But ask me that question in private and I will really tell you my answer ha.
VQDM: Well whatever the response you guys are definitely accomplishing some amazing things. I’ve skimmed through the list of bands Sunflower Dead has shared a stage with and it’s impressive to say the least. Let’s see… We have Korn, In This Moment, Hellyeah, and All That Remains – that’s just to name a few! During the 6 tours which band did you have the most fun seeing/interacting with? What made it so memorable?
Every tour has been memorable because we make it that way. It comes down to that step by step thing. Even though we are very business conscious, we try and enjoy each opportunity that comes along. I will say though, having Korn stand around the stage while you are performing in the UK was a trip. If you told the teenage me that it would have happened, I think he would have crapped himself.
VQDM: Were any of the bands/musicians you were able to tour with ones you looked up to in the Industry or that impacted your life in some way?
Touring with Vinnie Paul was one and I get to do again all summer. I don’t even have to explain why. He’s Vinnie Paul. Same with Korn. Their first album is a special one to me. Not only did we get to tour with them but it was on their 20th Anniversary Tour where they played the entire first record. So sick.
VQDM: You guys have a new album out entitled It’s Time to Get Weird. What was the motivation and message behind this album?
It is two fold: Number one – be yourself at all times no matter what. Number two – it is an homage to the Evil Seeds we collected whom had gotten weird with us on the first album cycle.
VQDM: Did you try anything different for this album in regards to the evolution of your sound and music?
The new album was all about growth and polish compared to the first album which was like a raw newborn just finding his way.
VQDM: For this album you guys worked with renowned producer Dave Fortman. He’s known for working with bands such as Evanescence and Slipknot. What was it like having someone of his caliber working alongside Sunflower Dead? Did he push you guys to really bring your A-Game?
Dave was amazing and so was his co-producer Mikey Doling. I told them both what I wanted from the record and they pushed us hard to make sure we achieved it. Dave knew what I wanted vocally so he sat there and pushed me to really nail things. He had me do vocal harmonies in ways I never thought possible. Yes, that is all real harmonies, no computer plug –ins. I grew tremendously during the recording. When you work with a mad genius, you will definitely pick things up. The record really happened on a deeper level than just task mastering. We all got locked into this vibe and no one on the team stunted that process. We all just went with it and the results speak for themselves in my opinion.
VQDM: Do you feel that you guys were able to capture the sound you had in mind for It’s Time to Get Weird?
I do. I wanted a polished record ready for radio that was very vocal hook driven. Plus, we already have the direction we want for the third record. I will tell you that later, haha.
VQDM: I will say, I checked out a few tracks (in particular the title track featuring Jonathan Davis! /fangirl), and they’re quite epic. I do have to ask though, how did working with KoRn and Mr. Davis come about? It doesn’t seem like something that would just happen, hah!
Haha, yeah, JD is kinda busy right! A record label we met with but didn’t sign to suggested it. There is a mutual connection in the band as my guitarist Jamie Teissere has been friends with the guys in Korn since before they were Korn. He even took lessons from Munky. Anyways, he texted Jon and Jon graciously said let’s do it. So we went down to his studio in Bakersfield, CA and I sat there with Jon and we laid down his vocals. Easy peasy, he is JD you know!
VQDM: You guys actually had tour dates with KoRn, yes? If I read correctly they were European dates too, which must have been exciting for you guys! Have you taken Sunflower Dead overseas before? What was the response like?
That was last summer and it was our first time overseas. The response was incredible, so much so that we can’t facilitate the Evil Seeds over there at this point. We are working on getting back their so luckily they are supportive and patient.
VQDM: Let us have a little fun before wrapping up… If things go awry on the road and you have to make some quick cash; which Sunflower gets prostrated first and why? XD
Haha, if I answer that, the person would get real offended so let’s just say, thank god our merch sells really well!
VQDM: What’s the next big thing on the horizon for Sunflower Dead? Is there more touring, production on another album, chill time? Tell us – what can we expect?
We are in the middle of a strong radio campaign with the new album’s title track. We are about to start touring our butts off with Avatar, In This Moment, HellYeah and more and we are working on picking the next single for radio. Work, work, work!
VQDM: Finally – If people want to purchase merch, find out more, interact with Sunflower Dead, or donate to the cause, where can they do so?
SunflowerDead.com or hit us up on any social media platform, everyone knows what they are. Stay Weird Evil Seeds!