Band Members
Matt Kotten (Guitar, Vocals),
TOM KELLY (Guitar),

ITN Magazine: Let's talk a little about the history of your band. When did you originally form and is this the original line-up?

Tom: The band formed in the early 90’s, and started playing shows in 1995.  There have been a couple of lineup changes.

ITN Magazine: Do you remember how the idea of forming the band first came up?

Tom: Before this band I had just been playing with friends in rehearsal studios.  We were not that good at all, but it was a place you could drink beer underage with no one to bother you for two hours.  I really got to like playing the guitar, even if I wasn’t that good.

ITN Magazine: How long after you formed was it until you played your first live show?

Tom: Two or three years.

ITN Magazine: What are your memories of the performance?

Tom: Black Dawn’s first show was at a place in Freeport, NY called the Right Track Inn.  I was so nervous, as though two or three years of writing and practicing wasn’t nearly enough.  We pulled all our friends together for that one. I think we brought like 30 people, plus everyone else in the room made it a total attendance of about 60 or 70.  Our bassist of two or three years of writing and practicing left the band one week before the show. This was also before Matt took over on vocals, so we had a different singer and no bassist for this show.  The quality of the performance I can’t recall, but it was probably awful. I remember driving away from the venue after the show, with all our friends cars lining the street like a big caravan. I still have the flyer from that show.  It was completely hand drawn.

ITN Magazine: How would you categorize the style of the band?

Tom: Hard Rock / Metal

ITN Magazine: Who are your influences and how have they shaped your bands sound?

Tom: In a manner that doesn’t too closely duplicate any one of these bands, I would say that our music has the melodic qualities of Alice In Chains and Breaking Benjamin, while infusing the power and groove of bands like White Zombie and Godsmack.  Other influences include Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden.

ITN Magazine: Let's talk a little about your latest album what are the listeners in store for with this release ?

Tom: We are looking forward to hearing about what people take away from this, which song and which parts were their favorites.  “On Blackened Wings” has become, production-wise, my favorite album. I believe it to be Black Dawn’s best work to date, and the preliminary feedback has been quite favorable.  Release has been delayed several years (most of the recording took place in 2015) due to financial and other circumstantial conditions. “Thoughts of Yesterday” was written in the early 90’s and was originally released in demo form in 1996.  All the other songs are new.

ITN Magazine: Where did record your latest release at?

Tom: The album was recorded entirely at Full Force Studio in Ronkonkoma, NY


ITN Magazine: Producers are a very important factor in recording a good record. Who did you use to produce your record?

Tom: No producer was brought in.  All production guidance and suggestions were provided by the studio engineer, Joe Cincotta.


ITN Magazine: Does the entire band contribute to the writing process?

Tom: Matt has been our principal songwriter, but everyone contributes to arranging and shaping the material into a competed song.


ITN Magazine: How do you feel the band has evolved musically and personally over the last year?

Tom: I think we have come a long way over the last few years.  We are playing bigger shows, and we have more fans. Getting signed to Pavement Entertainment was a major step forward, and now we finally have this album coming out.  I have been very happy with the way things have been going.


ITN Magazine: Favorite memory from a show you’ve played or a place you’ve traveled to?

Tom: I don’t think I will ever forget opening for Udo Dirkshneider at Stage 48 in Manhattan in January 2017.  Stage 48 is not incredibly vast, but a sizeable upscale Manhattan venue. We were the only supporting band, and the room was packed.  It felt absolutely amazing playing a show like that, better than any of the shows I had played in the 20+ prior years. After our set, the venue gave us a couple of cases of Heineken bottles to drink as we watched Udo’s set from a private area of the balcony.  What a night!

ITN Magazine: Favorite song of yours that you like to play live?

Tom: Some of my personal favorites to perform live are “December Moon” from the Age of Reason album, “Pray For Me” from the Until We Meet album, and “Help Me” from the new release On Blackened Wings.


ITN Magazine: How important do you rate the lyrical side of your albums?

Tom: Lyrics are extremely important.  You can use the lyrics to express ideas and communicate experiences that may or may not have personal relevance to your fans.  If oyu are playing a great song and you express an idea that many of the people in front of you can identify with, they will sing along.


ITN Magazine: Getting radio airplay and support is important for a any band, What is your view on that?

Tom: I couldn’t agree more.  We have a radio campaign active right now.  Radio is a great opportunity to reach a much wider listening audience.  Pavement tells me that the new album has perfomed very well in the first week of the radio campaign (Metal Contraband: # 4 Most Added W/ 24 Adds – www.metalcontraband.com, NACC Loud Rock: #3 Most Added W/ 23 Adds).

ITN Magazine: Do you see as we do that most local radio rarely support the up and coming new bands and even more local bands just starting out?

Tom: Unfortunately yes.  Thankfully we have some radio stations such as Wadio – Wade Radio (https://www.facebook.com/wadiostation/) who focus on the local bands.  We get a shitload of airplay from him!

ITN Magazine: Did you find it hard to break into the business and what was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?

Tom: Yes it was a lot of hard work.  The biggest obstacle was people that don’t care about you.

ITN Magazine: Tell us about your thoughts on your local music scene?

Tom: I like it here on Long Island and New York City.  Everybody knows everybody, or at least is a mutual aquaintance of someone they are talking to.  People are generally very supportave of new bands. There are a bunch of venues to play shows, more people starting to book shows and start music publications, and more local radio stations.  It feels like there are a lot of people involved here, and everybody works together to keep it all going.

ITN Magazine: Are there any new and upcoming bands that you are into?

Tom: So many!  To name a few: Borgo Pass (https://www.facebook.com/borgopass/), The Hard Way (https://www.facebook.com/thehardwaynation/), Jackpipe (https://www.facebook.com/jackpipeny/), Black Water Rising (https://www.facebook.com/blackwaterrising/), Share the Burden (https://www.facebook.com/ShareTheBurden/), Anaka (https://www.facebook.com/ANAKAmetal/), Terror Garden (https://www.facebook.com/TerrorGardenband/, Magus Beast (https://www.facebook.com/MagusBeast/)

ITN Magazine: How has Social Networking (Facebook,Twitter, etc.) impacted your band?

Tom: Social Media has made all the difference.  It is what I consider to be a very efficient means of connecting with people and promoting your band.


ITN Magazine: Where can our readers find you on the web?

Tom: Here are the band’s weblinks:








ITN Magazine: Thanks for answering these questions. Do you have any last comments for our readers?

Tom: Purchase Black Dawn’s new album “On Blackened Wings” on Itunes or Amazon Music.  Watch the official music video for our single from the new album “Help Me” on YouTube: (https://youtu.be/YZ7MQXYrPxA).