Locals Only: Hatter enters new era of making music and giving back

Mar. 11—Hatter is a versatile band that boasts live performances blending snazzy originals with technical covers. Their new single, "Soul," was just featured on 979X's Locals Only show that plays all NEPA-made music.

Hatter has done a lot over the years, and not just make music either. They've recorded original songs, created short videos, and even worked and raised funds at multiple events for the American Cancer Society. Giving back to the community is as essential to Hatter as the tunes.

Guitarist and vocalist, George Parr put the band together in 2017 when he moved near Philadelphia. He was doing a ton of writing after he just lost a close friend. Once he finished original material, he wanted to play it live — so he called a couple of friends in Tamaqua and started the first iteration of Hatter. They landed on the name "Hatter" as a tribute to Parr's friend who passed away around that time.

Hatter performed with that lineup until 2019 when members moved on to different things. However, George Parr and former bassist Tony reformed the band after the pandemic and brought them back onto the circuit.

"I had received a call out of the blue from a campground looking for entertainment and without thinking twice, I took the gig!" said Parr.

Although their lineup has continued to change, the band has made measurable progress since its renewal. Currently, George Parr is the only founding member of Hatter still in the band, but he's pumped about their future. Other current members include Dylan Heft on guitar and vocals, Cody Schuch on bass and vocals, and Jeremy Sarna on drums.

"We have a really exciting lineup of musicians, and I'm looking forward to seeing what we come up with," said Parr.

George Parr, Band Founder and Guitarist/Vocalist of Hatter

Lately, Hatter's been getting into the studio to record originals they wrote in 2023. They're working to complete their first full length album by the end of 2024. They're also reworking their selection of cover songs that they mix into live shows to pay tribute to all their biggest influences in the music realm.

Hatter is feeling both excited and grateful that their new song, "Soul", just played on Locals Only. You can listen to it now on all streaming platforms. The hot new pop-punky song was recorded by their friend Nick Gerardi at Bear Head Studios in Albrightsville.

The track was written by everybody in the band. It started as a totally different song that Parr brought to rehearsal. They kept the bass line and chord structure from the verse and pre-chorus and spun the rest into something fresh.

"(Former Drummer Thomas Walker) gave me lyrics for three different songs he was working on, and I drew inspiration from one specifically. From there I wrote out new lyrics and worked on a vocal melody. Then we tightened everything up and added vocal harmonies — and now we have a great recording of a song we built together!" explained Parr.

The single demonstrates their easy-going sound that's made to bop around to. Hatter describes themselves as vintage-inspired alternative rock with some pop elements and you can certainly hear all that influence on the track. They like to keep things simple in their songs and focus on melody.

Hatter's goal in 2024 is to complete their album of original music and get it out there to the masses. They also look forward to playing more outdoor shows as well as more theaters and festivals.

"Realistically, we're hoping to make a lot of great memories with our friends, and the people who listen to us or come out to see us perform live. Life is a shared experience and we're lucky that we get to entertain people," said Parr.

Hatter's bassist/vocalist Cody Schuch (left) and guitarist/vocalist Dylan Heft (right)

Anybody who comes to a Hatter show can expect some relief from the daily stresses of life. When they take the stage, they aim to give their audiences the best possible night out. Hatter has experienced success playing originals to crowds who typically want to hear covers. Selecting the right covers to fit accordingly alongside their originals is something they put a lot of thought into.

"Performing live is very important to us and I think we are just starting to hit our stride when it comes to the types of shows and venues we are playing," said Parr.

They have plenty of shows coming up this spring across Pennsylvania. March 23, Hatter performs at Equinox Music and Arts Fest in Northampton. Then, on April 20, they'll be at Homer's Bar in Fleetwood and Carbon County PlantFest in Lehighton on May 25. View all their upcoming shows at hattertheband.com.

Hatter's been making waves, not just on stage but also within their community. One of their favorite milestones was joining the Adopt-A-Highway program and cleaning up the two mile stretch of Route 209 just outside of Tamaqua. Twice a year, Hatter hosts an event to get everyone cleaning up and spending time together. That section of road has been dubbed "The Hatter Highway" by locals who have come to know and appreciate the band's positive impact.

Hatter has performed at four parades and even designed and built their own float for three. They won "Best Float" at one of the Halloween parades they entered and performed live the entire route. They love being an active part of their community and giving back as much as they can, which is something that truly sets them apart.

"Personally, I'd like to record and release as many quality songs as possible. I play because music is one of the things I love most in life," said Parr. "If I'm really dreaming big, I don't know, a National Medal of Arts would be cool. Otherwise, great memories and quality songs are just as good."

They love fan feedback so check out "Soul" wherever you get your music and let them know what you think on Facebook or Instagram. Keep tuning into Locals Only on Sunday Nights from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. on 979X to hear more NEPA talent like Hatter.