It’s been 15 years since the release of their first album, “Morning Sun”. The Beautiful Girls are celebrating with a special nostalgic tour, stopping off at the Coffs Hotel … FOCUS chatted with the man behind the music, Mat McHugh …
You’re literally fresh on home shores after a Europe tour. How was your time overseas?
It was good; it was really fun. This was my fourth European tour in 10 months.
So having spent so much time playing together overseas these past 10 months, you’re pretty well seasoned and ready for your Australian tour?
That was kind of a big part of doing it. The plan of the Australian tour is stripping it back as a three piece, basically the way we did it when we started, and we had to practice that … It’s harder than it sounds, stripping it all back – so it was get on the road, play a bunch of shows and get match-fit, really.
You’ve done a fair bit of solo stuff of late. What inspired the decision to tour The Beautiful Girls?
Someone floated the idea; I think it was management or my booking agency floated the idea that these records were 15 years old … and I was kind of against it. And then my partner, I was talking to her, and she said – more or less – pull your head out of your backside and do it. The idea of doing it is celebrating that those albums [Morning Sun / Learn Yourself] were the beginning of it all, so for the act and for me personally as well. You don’t often get the chance to pat yourself on the back being an independent artist; you tend to be grinding, grinding, grinding … It’s nice to look back and celebrate things and pay an acknowledgment to that moment.
The music industry is full of vipers and pirates and all other evil creatures, and it’s hard enough to keep your head above water when you have a whole massive team of people helping you out, but being independent – it’s rough. It is an achievement when all we’ve all done a good job. I think it’s about how we’ve dealt with people; we’ve been very respectful of the music and the people who come along and support the music.
And you literally have been independent for 15 years …
Yeah, there are different definitions of independent. There’s “independent” – but really it’s in quotation marks, because it’s folded under the big major label who distribute their albums and marketing and what not, but we literally take the money from what we get from selling a CD and then go to the factory and pay for more to get made. We design our own artwork; you don’t get more independent.
You’re running a bit of a Facebook comp; tell us about that …
We already had one, and somebody already won it; the competition is you get your own backstage dressing room with your own personal rider, and you get to watch side stage … All the things that when you’re in a crowd you dream of and wonder about what it would be like to be backstage. Really, the reality isn’t as great as the dream … But still, we thought it would be a good thing to give away.
We are running another one particularly for Sydney, and also a nationwide competition to pick another winner.
After this tour wraps up, what’s on the agenda for the next twelve months?
Directly after this tour, we have half a day off and then we jump on a plane and go to Brazil and do some shows, and then I go straight from Brazil to Mexico and Jamaica to do some acoustic shows, then to America for a little bit of a break.
I’ve been working on some new songs – just not sure on what name they’ll be released under yet.
Don’t miss The Beautiful Girls with special guests, Saturday 6th January 2018 (opening 9pm) at The Coffs Hotel. 135 West High Street, Coffs Harbour. Tickets www.coffsharbourhotel.com