Last week, Unlocking the Truth revealed at SXSW that they are looking to exit Sony and void their $1.7 million dollar contract. From what I've heard, it's certainly an uphill battle for the band and their management to get out of it.
A new documentary premiered at SXSW called Breaking a Monster which spotlighted the band's struggles to get their music out over the last year. The Daily Beast ran an interesting piece on the film and the surrounding controversy today and here are some excerpts.
Perhaps the most disgusting part of the whole piece:
“It’s all about branding,” their label rep tells the perplexed boys early on in the film, before showing them a mock-up of the kids transformed into animeBoondocks-like characters for an accompanying cartoon.
These kids are just out there to have fun and play, meanwhile these label reps are bastardizing their "image" into a brand to sell to consumers, and turning them into cartoons. In a sense, they are adapting the Japanese idol techniques for bands like Babymetal.
But this last year was hard on the members of the band. Not because of rehearsing, but because of SO MANY MEETINGS! On the fatigue of constantly being in meetings:
“It was pretty difficult at times with these meetings—especially with this one particular lady at the label, who had a meeting with us once where she was just talking at us for six hours,” bassist Alec Atkins, 13, tells The Daily Beast. “We were pretty young at the time so we were pretty restless and wanted to get up and do something else, but she just had us in this meeting for six hours.”
Aren't there child labor laws to prevent this sort of thing? Why would anybody book three restless kids to be in a meeting for six hours? What is there to talk about for six hours?!
The album is apparently completed, but it's being held back by Sony:
“It’s been very difficult. We’re speaking to our attorneys about leaving Sony, and it’s very complicated,” says Alec. “The album is ready, but because our attorneys are talking about us leaving the record label, it’s going to be a whole process of getting our music back.”
Surprisingly, the band show a bit of maturity throughout the whole process: “Our whole lives changed after we were signed,” says Jarad. “We can’t just go out and ‘do things,’ we have to get everything approved. But we realize that we’re not normal kids anymore and we have a career ahead of us, so we don’t want to mess that up.”
“Our whole lives changed after we were signed,” says Jarad. “We can’t just go out and ‘do things,’ we have to get everything approved. But we realize that we’re not normal kids anymore and we have a career ahead of us, so we don’t want to mess that up.”
It's not surprising that Unlocking the Truth are unhappy with their deal, we pretty much predicted it would happen. What is surprising is how quickly the relationship with Sony soured. At the very least, I expected the band to have a release out before any drama with the label. But I guess Sony had big plans for the band that perhaps management didn't agree with. I hope we get to hear some music soon. Ultimately, these seem like good kids. Here is an interview I did with them last year…