Sunflower Dead's Michael Starts All Over


SUNFLOWER DEAD hails from the Southern California's Metal/Hard Rock scene and are no strangers to having their brand of music draw attention. The band is a rebirth of sorts. Three-fifths of the band rise from the ashes of former nationally recognized touring acts DROID and Two Hit Creeper. They are rounded out by additional band members who have toured internationally with Buckethead and In This Moment. Their former bands have earned national recognition by touring alongside Korn, Linkin Park and the Vans Warped Tour. Sunflower Dead is off to a strong start touring with acts like Smile Empty Soul, Hed PE and Powerman 5000. They have gone on to release their self-titled release with further plans of newer material and constant touring and show playing happening as much as possible. Frontman vocalist, accordion, and pianist Michael discussed that release and the plans for this band's future.


1. What type of band are you?

Michael: This is Michael (vocals, accordion, piano) from Sunflower Dead.  I guess I can sum us up by a quote I have heard repeatedly from Evil Seeds (SFD Fans)… “You guys are the perfect balance between Beauty and Insanity”, haha whatever that means.  On the surface, we are theatrical, kind of a cross between 30 Days of Night, The Warriors and a Clockwork Orange.  Musically, we are just the right amount of heavy and just the right amount of catchy.  On stage, instead of coming off very contrived and trying to be evil (lame) we seem to have more fun than a group of hungry kids at the candy factory.  I guess when we get together and play, we all just let go and have a shit load of fun being weird.  Who knew wearing a bunch of makeup and acting out all your quirks would make people smile!

2. Tell us the brief history of your band.

Michael: SFD came together in 2012 with members of touring acts Droid, Memento, Two Hit Creeper, Buckethead, etc.  We quietly wrote and recorded our debut record with Christian Olde Wolbers of Fear Factory producing.  The album was released on August 21, 2012 (Revolver’s Album of the Week) and came together very naturally.  As theatrical as our look is, it was not preconceived whatsoever.  It all grew as we wrote the songs.  We knew that we wanted to do more than just play songs, we wanted to entertain people.  Since 2012, we have completed 5 US Tours with Hellyeah, All That Remains, Nonpoint, In This Moment, Hed PE, Soil, Smile Empty Soul, Hurt, Madball, Ill Nino.

3. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Michael: Lyrically, I have learned that the scope of the songs seem to be a discovery for the light at the end of the tunnel through examining past experiences.  It really isn't as serious in nature as that sounds but it is the truth.  We all want that warmth that life promises us right? I am looking for it by finding the meanings of what I have been through.  And NO, we are not a complainer band, I was NOT molested and I am NOT from the ghetto keeping it hardcore.

4. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

Michael: We do write our own songs.  Even on our cover of Every Breath You Take, we approached that songs as it was our own and rewrote the music and arrangement to fit the dynamic I wanted to get out of it.  We have a simple process with songwriting.  I can’t tell you what it is because we have a secret recipe that helps SFD be SFD.   So yeah, I can’t tell you, ha.

5. Who are your musical influences?

Michael: As a band, we all love different music.  Personally, I grew up on all types of metal and rock, classical, hip-hop, etc.  I would say vocally, my two biggest influences are Steve Perry from Journey and Chuck Shuldiner from Death.  Talk about two completely different types of vocals!  Maybe I am just a bit bipolar, where is my lithium?

6. What's your take on your Self-Titled as a whole?

Michael: For a band that never played a show before we recorded our debut, I couldn't be happier.  The peaks and valleys on the record are grand.  The best part of the record for me is that we did not paint ourselves into a musical corner.  We are wide open as to where we can take SFD.

7. What's your favorite song on the album right now?

Michael: Starting Over Again.  It’s the best song on the record and I have felt that way since day one.  And… it’s the one song we don’t play live.  BUT, we will!

8. Where is the new future material headed as far as sound-wise?

Michael: I have gathered so far that the songs for the second record seem to be very thematic in a Randy Rhoads mixed with Black Sabbath type of way.  But maybe they don’t sound like that at all, who knows.  We are taking everything we have learned over the last two years and using it to our advantage to write the best music possible.  I can guarantee that the songs will be huge, easy to sing along with and the type of stuff you want to hear in an arena.  The goal is to be 100% us.  You think that would be easy but it might be the hardest part of being an artist.

9. What are the upcoming touring and show plans for you guys?

Michael: We hit the road again on Aug 1 for a 27 date US Tour with Powerman 5000 and our great friends Hed PE.  This is going to be a fun one and a solid show for the fans.

10. What can one expect from a Sunflower Dead show?

Michael: Simple… to be entertained and leave with a SMILE.  I never thought I would say that but I started noticing that people actually smile when they watch us, like a legitimate you are making me happy by playing smile.  I think that might be my favorite thing to see and I am definitely no damn hippie.  Wow, people smiling at a metal show, strange!

11. What advice would you give to people who would like to do what you're doing?

Michael: My advice is this: If you WANT to do music… QUIT.  If you HAVE to do music, no matter what the tides bring, then this life is for you.

12. How did the get band the name, Sunflower Dead?

Michael: I live on Sunflower Ave in Southern California and the name popped into my head on afternoon.  I started writing a short story with that title and when the name needed a band, I threw it out there and told the guys the story, they loved it because it has beauty and ugliness, yin and yang, balance.  BOOM, we are Sunflower Dead.

13. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Michael: Check us out on the social networks; www.sunflowerdead.com, www.facebook.com/sunflowerdead, www.youtube.com/user/SUNFLOWERDEAD, and all fine digital retailers like iTunes, Amazon, shit even Ebay (damn thieves).

14. What plans do you have for the near future as a band?

Michael: In a few weeks we will be releasing the single and video to our track Wasted.  We are shooting a video for Starting Over Again.  We are demoing our new album.  And of course we have the Powerman 5000/Hed PE August Tour coming up.

15. Anything else you'd like to say or want to add on?

Michael: I would like to say, thanks for the time and listening to me ramble. I hope to see you at an upcoming show smiling in the audience.  Sunflower Dead… OUT!

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