Awaken the Dawn began like many other bands- two guys looking to have fun playing music. However, since its beginning, the band has carved out its own style and niche within the local music scene.
Alec Gulledge, the lead guitarist for Awaken the Dawn, met the band’s first drummer, Kyle Smith, through their church. Gulledge and Smith decided to start a metal band and recruited Taylor Moats to be the vocalist. Matt Goss, one of Awaken the Dawn’s rhythm guitarists, entered the mix when he started jamming with the band.
Then, in 2012, Taylor Moats moved to Milledgeville. Isaiah Foster, the current vocalist, replaced Moats because his brother, Taylor Foster, was Awaken the Dawn’s bassist. With Isaiah joining, the band took on a darker, heavier sound.
Goss and Taylor Foster ended up going to school in Atlanta. Goss is still in the band, but Taylor Foster left. Currently, Tony Mendez, former vocalist of Pridemeat, is Awaken the Dawn’s bassist. This past summer, Ryan Merica was added as a third guitar player after talking and getting to know Gulledge. Josh Keeney, former drummer of Pridemeat, will replace Kyle Smith.
Alec Gulledge named a few key influences on the band’s sound. “Vildhjarta is the biggest influence hands down, and after that would be Opeth, as far as the dynamic and break down side of the music. Impending Doom is definitely an influence we had when we started writing.” Gulledge also listed In the Midst of Lions and As I Lay Dying as guitar influences.
On Awaken the Dawn’s Facebook page, there is a Psalm posted that refers back to the band’s name (Psalm 108:2-6). “We’re all Christians, but maybe not a Christian band, per se. But we definitely have a Christian message. We just don’t fall into the stereotype,” said Gulledge.
Quick Band Facts
Band Name: Awaken the Dawn
Genre: progressive metal/deathcore
From: Savannah, Georgia
Isaiah Foster- lead vocalist
Alec Gulledge- lead guitarist
Matt Goss- rhythm guitarist
Ryan Merica- rhythm guitarist
Josh Keeney- drummer
Tony Mendez- bassist
Facebook profiles: Isaiah Foster,
Alec Gulledge, Matt Goss,
Ryan Merica, Josh Keeney,
and Tony Tbone Meatsteak
Instagram profiles: izaya_foster, alec_atd,
Foster credited the band’s message as one of the reasons he joined Awaken the Dawn. He still would have joined the band to help his brothers out, but the Christian message helped convince him to join.
Gulledge said that the band writes music in a couple different ways, whether it is starting with guitar riffs or lyrical ideas that Isaiah has.
“We want our music to be organic. It should feel natural, have an even flow, and not feel forced. A lot of things a lot of metal bands are doing is all technicality and how fast you can play. We’re trying to get back into that old school, raw emotion and heaviness”, Gulledge said.
These goals are something the band is working on to expand upon with its new members and new music they are writing for the next album. Awaken the Dawn should finish working on their album by February, and are planning for a spring release.
“It’s a concept album of seven or so songs. We are recording it with David Cooke in our studio (mine and his). Cooke is the same guy who recorded Pridemeat’s album,” Gulledge said. Foster described Statesboro’s music scene- yes, Statesboro has a music scene- as thriving.
“The music scene, no matter where it’s at, brings everyone together that likes a certain thing, like heavy music, or other bands like Any Otherwise, Between Symmetries, or Guns Out at Sundown, the not-so-heavy bands.” Awaken the Dawn’s goal is to bring people together within the scene so people can be together and enjoy each other’s company.
One of the ways Foster hopes to accomplish this is through Troy Fest. Troy Fest is a charity show for suicide awareness that was started after a close friend of Awaken the Dawn’s committed suicide two years ago. In addition to the event recognizing their friend Foster said, “It was also a way of saying there are people in this scene that have your back, no matter how low you get. The music scene should be a family and you should never get to that point.”
This sense of community can be highlighted in the reasons why Awaken the Dawn likes playing music. Gulledge and Foster both said how great it was to be in a band doing what they love with the people they love.
“Playing shows and meeting new people and having a chance, one-on-one, to explain why you’re in music is one of the biggest things that keeps me going on a daily basis,” Gulledge said.
In the next five years, Awaken the Dawn wants to be touring and playing everywhere. “We’d like to make something out of it [touring] to where we don’t have to stop and maybe one day, this band will pay our bills. Maybe not, maybe it’ll just be a hobby and something we do two or three weeks out of the year. Either way, we’re going to let it ride and see what comes out of it,” Gulledge said.
Awaken the Dawn has experienced several lineup changes, as well as a shift from a lighter to a more intense, darker metal sound. That has not stopped the band, though. Awaken the Dawn’s members are continuing to work on their album and forge a “New Dawn” by melting faces far and wide at the shows they play.
Awaken the Dawn can be contacted via their band’s Facebook profile. Gulledge said people can also follow them personally on Facebook or Instagram. For those interested, Awaken the Dawn will be playing on Halloween at Big Show’s Burgers on Lanier Drive. The show is all ages and starts at 7:30 p.m. There is a five dollar cover charge.
Photos provided by Awaken the Dawn and Timothy Walls