Mat Mchugh & The Beautiful Girls

31 Mar
The Northern
Byron Bay
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Mat McHugh & The Beautiful Girls are excited to announce they will be hitting the road this summer, and for the first time ever combining the work of both of McHugh’s groups on stage.

The ‘Together At Last Tour’ will be their first tour in 3 years, with 21 dates across Australia this coming January, February and March.

With combined sales of over 500,000 albums and 100,000,000 streams, all released independently, the music of both Mat McHugh and his moniker, The Beautiful Girls have become firmly cemented in the Australian subconscious.

Raised in Sydney, by the beach, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist McHugh began his career by playing generator powered guerilla shows at his local skate park, where his mix of bass heavy rhythms, dub, folk, soul, jazz and hip hop started to get people's attention. Word of mouth ensured, and led to one of Australia's best independent success stories.

Discussing the new tour, and McHugh’s first tour in three years and his first-ever as Mat McHugh & The Beautiful Girls, he admits, “That’s the agenda, just to try and let music help me make sense of it all again, like it always seems to do.”

Like the rest of us, McHugh’s life was thrown into limbo by the pandemic, with tours cancelled left right and centre and lockdown forcing us all to isolate from each other. Not having the opportunity to perform is tough enough for any musician, but when you’re the kind of creative artist whose career is built around the idea of sharing the music you create, that forced isolation can be doubly difficult. It can make you lose your focus.

McHugh has always been prolific. “The creative side of it never ends,” he admits. “It’s just constant little squiggles of expression – you’re just doing stuff all the time.” When there’s an album to work towards or a tour to organise, there’s always something to aim for, a focus. “I always write to a deadline or a timeframe or a purpose and that gives a kind of structure to it or a frame around it – that’s just how my mind works.”

So the pandemic threw a spanner in the works in a way he couldn’t have anticipated. Luckily, one thing that did come into focus was something that had become an unnecessary problem – how to overcome the issue of having two different catalogues, as The Beautiful Girls and as Mat McHugh? 

“I kind of kept them separate for a long time live for various reasons,” he explains. “I saw them as two separate bodies of work, but at the core of it of course they’re basically the same thing. I mean, I make these records at home and play most if not all of the instruments on them, and so, after this past three years, I thought, ‘You know what? Part of this whole deal of recalibrating and getting back out on the road and seeing people and sharing music was just kind of stepping forward and joining the two bodies of work for the first time.’ 

“It’s a good healthy step forward and it allows me the luxury of just picking and choosing the best of all of it. I’m very, very proud of the music I released as The Beautiful Girls and I don’t want to stop playing it because I love it. It means a lot to me. This is a way of tying all those songs that people know, and people love, together so I get to release music in a way that feels honest and has integrity.”

Of course, now there’s a focus for the new songs he’s been writing, which naturally need a bit of road-testing to get them calibrated properly, so when McHugh heads out on the road with his band – bass player and producer Ian Pritchett, keyboardist Shannon Stitt and drummer Carlos Adura – the only problem he’s got is deciding what Mat McHugh & The Beautiful Girls will play. After all, he’s got to pick the songs the fans want to hear and the songs he wants most to share from six Beautiful Girls and three Mat McHugh albums, let alone the EPs and singles, including his most recent, Lagoon, released in October 2020. 

“Just doing The Beautiful Girls Seaside Highlife: Greatest Hits, Volume 1 was really hard,” he chuckles. “That was a double-album, which is probably longer than a gig! Then there are the solo records and then the new songs!” It’s a pretty nice problem to have.”

For McHugh, the point of it all is clear. “I want to be on the side that art always does the best, to elevate the vibe, the positivity and bring a bit of relief from the doom and gloom. That’s really my only agenda – share love. That’s it. I just want people to have a good time; I want them to be together.” And you couldn’t ask for a better reason to hit the road again after three years of uncertainty.

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