XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Tom: Our new album “On Blackened Wings” will be released via Pavement Entertainment on Friday, May 3, and the album release party will be at Starland Ballroom on May 4 when we open for Skid Row!
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
Tom: The band has been in existence since the early 1990s when I started it. I am one of the members since the inception, along with Matt and Enzo.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
Tom: It was something I just knew I always wanted to do. I have always dreamed of releasing the kind of albums and playing the kind of shows and doing the kind of things that we are now doing. I don’t have to dream about it anymore, and I am relishing every bit of it!
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Tom: I had played the piano for a short time when I was very young and transitioned to the guitar as a teenager. Since then I had been playing with different people, but Black Dawn is the only serious music project I have ever been involved with to this point.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Tom: We are focusing on this new release for now. We are hoping to reach a substantial number of new fans between the official music video for the single “Help Me” on YouTube, and the radio campaigns and playing more shows. In the long term, we are hoping to record another album as soon as possible.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Tom: Each is a different animal from the other, and good bands seek out new ways to impress people both with what they do on stage and in the studio. I enjoy both very much.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
Tom: In a world laced with substantial hate and negativity, I would like to think that music is still a source of positive energy and that someone who wasn’t happy before becomes happy after hearing one of our recordings. I thoroughly enjoy seeing people happy at our shows or at someone else’s shows. It seems there are not many other situations where many people can come together and pay attention to the same thing and be that happy. I think all of this describes the most important thing we do.
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Tom: All of the band member’s families are very supportive. It is that support that we need first in order to keep the band going. Being in a band results in a lot of time not being home. You can’t be a musician unless you have a family that understands that, or unless you don’t have much family.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
Tom: Try not to worry too much about what people will think of you. Ultimately, most people will make a reasonable effort to support and encourage you. This is because most people want new bands and new music to listen to. I myself am always on the lookout or new bands to listen to. Also remember that if you are to enjoy any real success you must eventually learn to do two things: 1.) learn how to record a really good album and 2.) learn how to perform a really good show.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Tom: As of late, my favorite songs to play at shows are “Help Me” from the new album and “December Moon” from the Age of Reason album.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Tom: Jimmy Page was a great inspiration to me for many years, and he still is. Even though Led Zeppelin’s music is not that heavy, Page has always had a sound, a style, a look, both live and in the studio, that has captivated me every time I see Led Zeppelin live footage or whenever I listen to one of the studio albums. He had specialized techniques on the guitar and in studio production that were not commonplace but worked very well. His stage clothing made him look fucking cool on all the posters!
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Tom: I think this new album is our greatest accomplishment. I consider it to be Black Dawn’s best work to date, and I am very much looking forward to hearing people’s reaction to it.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Tom: If I couldn’t work on the stage, I would work near it. Perhaps as a stagehand or working in the sound booth.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Tom: Primarily Les Paul guitars, Mesa amps and cabinets, Monster / Mogami cables, Decimator noise gate, Chandler overdrive, and Shure wireless.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Tom: On Long Island and New York City I think it is pretty close-knit. I see many of the same people in the same places, and everyone is generally supportive of us.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Tom: You can preorder your copy of “On Blackened Wings” now on Itunes. Check out Black Dawn on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Soundcloud. Link to any of these sites from our official website: www.blackdawnband.com. Check out the official music video for the new single “Help Me” on YouTube and give it a like!
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!
Tom: Thank you very much Bobby! I enjoyed it!
Black Dawn is:
Matt Kotten: Vocals, guitar
Tom Kelly: Guitar
Shawn Cox: Bass guitar
Enzo DiPaolo: Drums