A trio of friends from Brooklyn, N.Y., who are not yet out of middle school have signed a record deal with Sony.
Guitarist Malcolm Brickhouse, 13, bassist Alec Atkins, 13, and drummer Jarad Dawkins, 12, are the three members of the heavy metal band “Unlocking the Truth” from New York City.
While other kids may be spending the summer at camp and preparing for eighth grade, these three musicians will be figuring out the logistics of their potential $1.7 million deal with Sony.
“The record deal is awesome,” Jarad told ABC News. “This is something we always wanted."
The band was founded in 2007 by lifelong friends Malcolm and Jarad. When they were young children, Malcolm’s father would take them to wrestling shows, where the background music was metal.
“It’s just fun. It’s exciting, and if I listen to the lyrics in metal, they just touch me,” Malcolm said. “I don’t like hip-hop because they don’t talk about anything important.”
The pair said they became serious about music in 2012, and recruited Alec to join them, teaching him how to play bass from scratch.
At first, the boys said they were bullied at school for their heavy metal look – skinny jeans, black nail polish – but then their videos started to go viral and they were invited to play real shows.
The band made up to $1,600 per day playing on the streets of New York City before being discovered and brought on the Vans Warped Tour and as an opening act for Guns N’ Roses in Las Vegas. They have also been featured in a Cole Haan Christmas ad and an ad for Beats by Dre, which gave them unimpeachable street cred and changed the way they were treated in school.
“They say, ‘oh I saw your commercial, you’re so cool. That’s Mr. rock star, you don’t know me anymore, Mr. rock star,’” said Alec, laughing.
“Once they have seen the commercial, they are all like ‘oh my god, you were in that commercial!’ Yes, I was,” Jared added.
Now the band is playing bigger and bigger venues, including South by Southwest, and this year the trio made history as the youngest band ever to perform at the indie-music festival Coachella in California.
Sony has committed to producing at least two albums with the band, with an option to produce four more. If Sony produces all six albums, the boys could net as much as $1.7 million.
Aside from the boys, no one is more excited for them than their manager, Malcolm’s mother, Annette Jackson, and their biggest cheerleader, Malcolm’s father, Tracey Brickhouse.
“I never thought that taking these kids to see WWE Wrestling and watching Japanese cartoons would inspire them to play heavy metal music. Sometimes... I can’t sleep at night because there are so many things happening,” Brickhouse said. “I sleep and I eat and I drink these kids, it might sound like I am bragging about these kids, but I am the proudest dad in the world. Sometimes I have to pinch myself, it’s like a dream come true. They are talented, they work hard, they deserve everything that is happening.”