Sunflower Dead is an alternative rock/metal group that have been slowly inching into the spotlight with numerous connections through prior touring and releases. Consisting of vocalist Michael Del Pizzo, guitarist Jaboo (Two Hit Creeper), guitarist Jamie Teissere (Droid) bassist Lats (Snot, Memento), and drummer Jimmy Schultz (In This Moment), the band will be releasing their second album, It’s Time to Get Weird. Metal Insider spoke to the vocalist/pianist/accordionist about the upcoming LP and the bigger bands they’ve encountered on their way up.
It’s Time to Get Weird will be released later this month. Can you talk about the material and how it differs from your debut?
After being out on the road for almost three years, we grew a lot in the sense of who we were and what we wanted to do. When you pop in this record, you’re going to hear the difference in the polish and direction of the album.
The LP was also produced by the infamous Dave Fortman. Can you discuss his contribution and technique?
The reason we went with Dave Fortman and Mikey Rollins from Snot is because Dave has worked with such big acts like Evanescence and Slipknot. There were certain things I always heard on his records that I wanted for Sunflower Dead. When I had a conversation with him, I told him exactly what I wanted and he was the guy to deliver. We focused on the vocals and harmonies to really polish up what we do to get it across on a larger level. When you hear the record, you’re going to hear the things that are different from the first record because of Dave and Mikey’s input.
Korn’s frontman Jonathan Davis is featured on the title track. What was it like working with him and recently touring with them?
It was laid back. Jon was the nicest dude, you wouldn’t even know he’s Jonathan Davis. We walked into his studio in Bakersfield and he went over my lyrics and knocked it out. It was really cool for me because their debut was one of my favorite records ever. We went back to his house, hung out, and he’s a really humble guy. We got to play the shows with him in England and that was even greater.
You’ve also shared the stage with the likes of Hellyeah, All That Remains, In This Moment, SOiL, Nonpoint, and many more. Who else is on your bucket list?
I’d really like to tour with Slipknot, Evanescence if they do come back, and Five Finger Death Punch. Just the bands that are active in the world of heavy rock and metal that we’re in. I really enjoy a lot of those groups and think it’d be really great to reach their fans.
A unique aspect of yourself and the band is your inclusion of the accordion. Can you discuss the origins of the instrument in your band?
The accordion is the least sexy instrument in the world and it doesn’t make sense in a rock or metal band. When I was younger, I played the piano. And I was bored and wanted to challenge myself so I picked up the accordion and it got brought to this band. Our guitarist, Jamie, pushed me to bring it into our music. I call it my inhuman lung and I don’t play it like a traditional accordion. It’s very visual and people laugh when I bring it out at first, but when they see what I do with it, all the camera phones start to come out.
Another interesting factor of Sunflower Dead is your physical appearance and use of makeup. Is there a certain band that inspired your look?
It came from the idea of wanting to entertain people and have fun. I saw KISS for the first time about six years ago and was blown away by how I was out of reality and in their world. I told the guys that I wouldn’t mind doing something along those lines, but with a more 30 Days of Night feel. Everybody came up with their own image on the spot at our first photoshoot with a horror movie makeup artist. It definitely comes more from the world of KISS and Alice Cooper than the world of nu metal’s Slipknot and Mudvayne.
There has been some amazing albums released so far this year and many cool ones to come as well. Are there any 2015 releases that have been your favorites or something that you look forward to later this year?
There’s been a lot of records coming out, it seems especially this month. Honestly at the moment, I’m waiting for my record to come out because it’s been done since last February. But, I’m the type of person where I check out every single record. I read your guys’ site every week, especially the Metal By Numbers feature just to see what’s going on and I love it. I’m always on top of every release.
Besides the album release, what is coming up for the band?
Next week, we’re going to debut the official video for “Dance with Death,” the first single. The record is supposed to be coming out on October 30th digitally in North America. We’re talking to some labels, so maybe that will change. We also already started the music video for “It’s Time to Get Weird” featuring Jonathan Davis. It’s gonna be a three and a half minute animated cartoon. The touring will start in December and I know we have some radio shows to do. By 2016, we’ll be hitting all over the world.
What do you see for the far future of the band?
It depends on where we grow and I think that’s why I’m so happy with this record is because we took our time from the first one. We’re always working on stuff, but it doesn’t get polished up until we know exactly where we want to take it. We’ll see what happens after about a year of touring. I know there’s some talk of acoustic stuff, which most people will think is odd considering how we look, but it will be interesting.
It’s Time To Get Weird is scheduled to be released on October 30th. You can buy the “Dance With Death” single here.