The Beautiful Girls Interview

posted by / News / November 1, 2006

Bands hate it when you ask them to categorize their music — especially if they’re anything like The Beautiful Girls. Hailing from Sydney’s Northern Beach, the dudes in TBG break all the rules of traditional blues, folk, reggae, jazz, dub and rock to create their uniquely mellow grooves. SURFING caught up with singer/guitarist/surfer Mat McHugh to see if we could shake a definition out of him.

SURFING MAGAZINE: WHERE ARE YOU AT RIGHT NOW?

MAT MCHUGH: I’m in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. I just went surfing at this beach about half an hour outside of Amsterdam, came back, got some food and we’re actually walking to a bar in the Red Light District. Innocently. It’s not as exciting as it sounds. A bit crowded and creepy.

WILL YOU INTRODUCE THE BAND FOR US.

Clay McDonald comes from {{{Avalon}}} [NSW] and plays bass. Our original drummer Mitch O’Connelly left the band a few months ago, so our new drummer is Bruce Braveral. We all knew each other from playing in bands around the Sydney scene, so it’s a pretty small place and you end up bumping into people, especially if they surf. We all lived close by and I came back from living in New York — I actually lived in India for a year and Nepal for six months, then Manhatten — and I came back wanting to record some songs and then get back to the states. I grabbed Clay and Mitch and we went in and recorded some stuff. It got on the national radio in Australia straightaway and it did really well, so we just started touring pretty much straightaway.

YOU GOT REALLY INTO OLD SCHOOLD BLUES WHILE YOU WERE LIVING IN NEW YORK, RIGHT?

I’m kinda weird about what I listen to. I go through little phases where I don’t want to listen to anything but one particular style. So, for one year I only wanted to listen to instrumental jazz music. I didn’t wanna hear anyone singing anything, I thought it was ruining music. And then I got over that and just listened to pre-war blues, that old country delta kinda stuff. That was a big thing for me for a while. When I was in New York, I was playing that kinda music for a while, but trying to tweak it a little bit and make it not so purist. I love the vibe and atmosphere of that music, but I’m not all traditionalist about it.

SO THEN YOU CAME BACK TO AUSTRALIA…

Well, a friend of mine owned a studio there and I wanted to record. I’d had enough of not surfing, so I was gonna head back down to San Diego or something. But as soon as the demo was recorded, within a few days it was in the hands of the radio people. I think a friend gave it to them and they just started playing it and getting a really good response, so we would have been crazy to not start touring. I had no ambition for it in that way, it just kinda happened. It all started real quick. We started playing shows around Australia and they started selling out right away. At that time in Australia there was a lot of pub rock, just straight up rock music. There wasn’t much hip-hop and there wasn’t much mellow stuff. There just wasn’t anything apart from rock music. So, when we started doing shows, they were sold out right from the start.

WAS THERE A POINT IN THAT TIME WHEN THINGS SEEMED TO BE TAKING OFF TOO FAST?

I always played music as an escape. I’ve never been into the whole scene of going out and getting drunk and talking shit in bars. I always used to surf, come home and play music and just get into my own little world. And the weird thing, the paradox to it all, when it starts doing alright for you, you’re thrust into this situation where it’s extremely social and you’re right into what you were trying to avoid, but magnified by a hundred. I remember one time we played this sold out show in this little beach town and I was starting to freak out about the whole groupie thing and… [SUDDEN LOUD YELLING IN BACKGROUND] Sorry, someone’s stripping in the street.

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One Response to “The Beautiful Girls Interview”

  1. wale says:

    I love the way you roll it kelly please i need a beautiful girl of 20 years.

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