Sony Records, Artery Foundation
Creating direction, graphic design, consulting
Brooklyn-based metal trio Unlocking the Truth are a great band for any age, creed, time or color. As 13-year-old frontman/guitarist/co-founder Malcolm Brickhouse says: “People can play music at any age, and people either like your music or not. I see us doing this forever, because we want to become one of the world’s best heavy metal bands.” UTT co-founder Jarad Dawkins, 12, explains the band vibe: “our music is ‘custom’ metal. It’s different from what you’d hear by a regular metal band, mainly because how young we are, and because we have a positive movement; we’re about inspiring people to do what they want to do.” Newest member Alec Atkins, 13, started on guitar and switched to bass, as he notes: “Jarad and Malcolm would teach me notes on the bass, and my guitar teacher taught me tablature–and now I know how to read music!”
The lineup began organically, with Brickhouse and Dawkins finding metal via their love of wrestling, notably the theme song of The Edge, the Alter Bridge song “Metalingus.” Brickhouse’s father took the boys to WWE and numerous metal concerts, and Brickhouse cites Jeff Loomis from the band Nevermore his favorite guitarist, with David Draiman (Disturbed) and Corey Taylor (Slipknot) as favorite singers. Dawkins digs drummers Justin Foley of Killswitch Engage; Dream Theatre’s Mike Portnoy; jazz/fusion funk legend Dennis Chambers and Frank Zappa’s Vinnie Colaiuta; and Keith Richards/Eric Clapton drummer Steve Jordan, while Atkins cites Flea from the Chili Peppers as his favorite bassist, and also likes Devin “Ghost” Sola from Motionless in White.
In 2012, UTT won raves on Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater; rocked the AfroPunk Battle of the Bands in 2013; and also did the Fun, Fun, Fun Festival in Austin and at the NYC film premiere after party for Death Metal Angola. In the summers of 2012 and 2013, Brickhouse went to Camp Jam/Power Chord Academy, NYC School of Rock Camp, and YEAH NYC Rock Camp, while all three members have taken vocal lessons. Brickhouse’s mom and dad—Annette Jackson and Tracey Brickhouse—acted as UTT’s co-managers, and it was Jackson’s idea to get a permit for the band to play Times Square, earning the lineup rabid fans and hefty cash. But it was a prestigious halftime gig at a Barclay’s Center Nets game in November 2013 that ultimately led to the teen trio signing with Cherry Party/Sony in partnership with Artery in January 2014, while Alan Sacks (“Welcome Back Kotter” creator) stepped in with partner Kevin Jonas Sr. in late 2013 to help manage UTT.
So far, 2014 has seen the boys open for Guns N’ Roses and Motorhead as well as perform at Coachella and the Vans Warped Tour in front of worshipful crowds often more than twice their age. 2014 also finds the band tracking some of the 35 originals in their repertoire, produced by Johnny K (Disturbed, Megadeth), for a debut CD to be released in 2015. The “Unlocking the Truth” moniker comes from a lyric in one of their early songs, as Brickhouse explains: “The truth is that kids don’t realize that they can do what they want to do; they don’t have to follow the rest of the crowd. We’re showing them that to be yourself is the truth.” UTT are honored to be part of a huge lineage of metal, yet are always looking forward, as Atkins concludes: “I’m into the musical history that’s happening right before my eyes.” And Unlocking the Truth are the ones who are making it.