The metal industry reacted in bemused disbelief when African-American teenagers Unlocking the Truth got a reported $1.8 million for signing with Sony. Most, us included, didn’t think that they would see that money due to the way the deal was set up. Then, when their film premiered at SXSW, it was announced that they were already attempting to leave the label, despite the fact that they hadn’t released anything yet. The Daily Beast caught up with the trio following the debut of the documentary, Breaking a Monster.
Directed by Luke Meyer, the film shows the band in the wake of their deal, being dragged to countless meetings with the label, recording the album, then not being able to release it. Malcolm Brickhouse, Alec Atkins and Jarad Dawkins spoke to the magazine about the drudgery of being signed to a major label amidst a sea of hype. At one point in the film, Brickhouse demands to see evidence of the $1.8 million, refusing to leave a van until he does. It also shows the band’s manager, Alan Sacks, ruling over the band “with an iron fist,” according to the Beast. The article suggest that the film shows the band’s growing frustration:
And with each successive, relentless pitch meeting, the boys’ spirits shrink further and further, to the point where they just put their heads in their hands in frustration. When a label rep asks guitarist/front man Malcolm Brickhouse why he’s acting in such a way, he snaps back, “I’m not tired, I’m aggravated.”
The band say the album is ready to come out, but since they’re trying to leave the label, that it could be a while before that happens. The film hadn’t been picked up for distribution at press time. Dawkins spoke about the film:
“I believe that the movie gave an accurate visual of what happened behind the scenes. It shows that when we were trying to put the album out and people were asking for it, that we couldn’t put it out for no good reason.”
It’s a little sad that two 13 year-olds and a 14 year-old are already jaded, grizzled veterans of the music industry without having released one note of music. We’ll see how this plays itself out.