The Hatch

To call The Hatch a college band is to sell them short. Take a listen to their music or catch one of their live shows, and “college” doesn’t even begin to describe the band’s energy, sheer enjoyment, or absolute mastery of their craft. Truth be told, the four twenty-somethings play as if they’d been doing so, in this formation and with these songs, for many, many years: They’re that practiced, that talented.

But we all know it takes more than talent to make it in the music business—or, hell, to capture a chatty crowd’s attention at a jam-packed concert venue—and The Hatch have that, too. That indefinable je ne sais quoi: the love of music, of writing, playing, performing, giving it their all.

True, the four are college students. Sean Douglas (keyboards, vocals), Jesse Macht (guitar, vocals), and Todd Rubin (bass) graduate from Washington University this May, after which they’ll return home to L.A. and pursue this music business thing full-time. Drummer Austin Schumacher (the only non–L.A. member of the bunch; he’s originally from Connecticut) is a year behind, but following the band’s destiny all the same. He intends to transfer to USC for his final year; as for graduating, well, “If things are really moving out there,” he begins before drifing off, dreams of rockstardom filling his eyes.

While not official showcasers at this year’s SXSW festival, the four will nonetheless be making an appearance: Their manager, Gloria Butler, has rented out Room 710 (6th & Red River) the afternoon of March 17 to showcase her bands. With two sets, The Hatch will both kick off and headline the show.

Tell me how you found your manager.
SD: She actually found us. We played WILD [spring festival] at school; we opened for Live. It was a sound disaster, but fun. And then, out of nowhere, [we heard] she was interested.

Who influences your songwriting, or who are your favorite artists?
SD: I think one of the big songwriters I like right now is early Elton John. I guess I am just a sucker for pop, and I like a lot of soul, like Michael Jackson.

Any jealousy over the success of your high school alumni Maroon 5?
SD: Oh no, absolutely not. My mom was very impressed that they took their moms as their dates to the Grammys; she was like, “Should I be shopping for a dress?” It’d probably be out of style by the time we get to the Grammys.

Did Sean, Jesse, and Todd know each other in L.A.?
TR: Sean and I went to high school together. The first time we met Jesse, our old bands were playing together and Jesse’s band was playing a Kara’s Flowers cover and they needed a bass player. I was ready to join them, but they didn’t have a bass ready…

In your four years here, what have you learned about the St. Louis music scene?
JM: Out here, every club is like, “Oh, you’re a college band?” I didn’t realize that a college band was something that was uncool. When else are you supposed to be in a band and try and make it happen?
SD: [In St. Louis], bands get to a point where you’ve sold out this place; you’ve got to leave town, you’ve got to tour. People don’t really do that. I think they want to go overkill on the big-fish-in-a-small-pond thing; they want to kind of own the town.

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