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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Interview with Matt McHugh from The Beautiful Girls

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Matt McHugh and The Beautiful Girls (6 piece band!) play the Hotel Great Northern on Saturday

The Beautiful Girls

Hotel Great Northern, Byron  |  Saturday

The Beautiful Girls have realised the dream for their fans, and for front man Matt McHugh, by releasing a Best Ever album on double vinyl!

For Matt, this is how he first fell in love with music – with that tangible album cover you once held in your hand, marveling at the artwork and what lay beneath.

‘When I left school, I studied art and design, and I collected albums based on their covers!’ says Matt. ‘If the music was cool that was a bonus. I am sad that the art and music going together has waned, and these days I guess people don’t really look. I had a friend put the album cover together – it’s all my photos. I had about one thousand to go through. I really wanted to include everyone who has been a participant.’

Being independent was very much a conscious choice for Matt who wanted, in his words to ‘keep it real.’

‘As a musician, it depends on your aspirations what you will do in terms of management. If you want to reach a tier of public consumption, then major labels are unbeatable because they have the connections that get you through the tightest gaps. But there is a cost. You have to turn yourself from a 3D object into a 2D object and smooth off those rough edges. To me that’s a prison. You get boxed in; “Hey! Aren’t you guys the caustic surf guys? Let’s take a million of those photos and sell that image of you forevermore.”

‘Art is in constant flux, and you are always changing and having regenerations and rebirths – so willingingly painting yourself into a corner doesn’t go with my frame of mind. There are a lot of nefarious decisions that are made along the way that have very little to do with music. So I decided to go with the less shiny brass ring and try and find people that connect with the music and the choices I make.’

Seaside Highlife: Greatest Hits, Volume 1 was released in December.

‘People had been asking for vinyl for ages,’ says Matt, ‘and I wanted to do it chronologically. You want to put on the popular songs – but you have to balance it with the music that’s more historic or artistic.

‘Records and music were a huge part of my childhood. We didn’t have a TV and my dad played guitar every night. He died when I was ten. When CD’s came out I felt no connection with the medium. It felt transient – the ceremony wasn’t there. Now, when I have a record, I sit down and immerse myself in the experience. To have that opportunity with my own music is amazing… although I was nervous to go into that world as it’s mystical and important to me!’

Matt’s deep sense of knowing is evident in his music and the way he sees the world – perhaps it’s why people love The Beautiful Girls so much – because they reflect a spiritual common sense that you can sing along to.

‘We all want to be content and connected and have ourselves vibrate with the universe – if you are in that space, there is this centre we all have, and the more content we are as humans, we realise it has nothing to do with circumstances or decoration. If you get all these shiny things, and you don’t get the centre you are promised, you go further down into the well. I want to live a life of making music and art – then I am happy – I don’t want the big shiny life – it’s not the path I chose and I don’t need the things they offer anyway. Success can be a prison. All you have in the end is the music.’

Matt McHugh and The Beautiful Girls (6 piece band!) play the Hotel Great Northern on Saturday. For tickets, please visit: www.thebeautifulgirls.com

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