The Beautiful Girls take it back to the beginning

The Beautiful Girls will hit Dunsborough on their special anniversary tour. Image supplied.
The Beautiful Girls will hit Dunsborough on their special anniversary tour. Image supplied.

Reminiscing has never appealed to musician Mat McHugh, yet he has found himself taking the ultimate trip down memory lane.

McHugh is the frontman of Australian trio The Beautiful Girls, who will pay homage to their roots when they bring their Learn Yourself / Morning Sun 15th anniversary tour to Dunsborough on Saturday, December 9.

McHugh explained he wasn’t typically the sentimental type and originally said no to the idea of an anniversary tour.

“I feel that nostalgia sh*t kind of sucks and I’ve always sort of avoided that,” he said.

“There’s an anniversary for the first time you put on a guitar string, there’s always someone waving a flag saying let’s do an anniversary this that and the other.” 

It was a wake-up call from a loved one that prompted McHugh to agree.

“My partner said get over yourself, it’s not about you, you are pretty lucky to be able to have had records come out that people still love 15 years after the fact,” he said.

“She’s right, it was a great time and a great thing to celebrate.

“Being in an independent band you don’t get a lot of opportunity to celebrate things or pat yourself on the back because it’s just full on the whole time, battling to stay alive. So we aren’t used to having those moments to reflect and celebrate.”

The Beautiful Girls debut EP Morning Sun, a concoction of surf-roots-reggae, was released in 2002.

It soon received major airplay on Triple J, hit number 1 on the independent album chart and the track Periscopes became a fan favourite.

The following year, the group produced Learn Yourself, their first full length album.

It debuted at number one, removing Morning Sun from the spot.

Now, the timing couldn’t be better for the three piece, with a European tour recently completed and new music in the works.

McHugh said after taking stock of the success of Morning Sun and Learn Yourself, he was ready to share it all again.

“What I realise is that the number translates to the person and they start thinking about their life and what has and hasn't happened in that 15 years,” he said.

“The point is we all shared it together, it’s not just for the fans and not just for the band.

“Here we all are 15 years later, still alive and standing on our feet so let’s get in there and celebrate that fact.”

When in the South West, the band will perform new music and crowd favourites, with enough variation from the recorded versions to keep it interesting for the fans.

McHugh, who described himself as a surfer first, musician second, said it was a no brainer to bring their music back to the region.

“I grew up on the beach, I was writing these songs and music to kind of represent that fact, we started playing these songs by jacking open the power supply at the skate park next to the beach and at house parties – the whole thing is based around beach culture and the sound of it is representative of that,” he said.

“I can’t pretend I’m from London or New York, I have to be honest to where I’m from, and anyone else that lives near the beach, they understand that sentiment and it resonates with them.

“The South West is such a similar vibe to how I grew up, I feel a connection there and love playing there.”

As for what has been learnt after 15 years in the music scene, McHugh said he is personally wiser, and the three-piece’s music mastery had matured.

“As far as playing goes, I feel like the greatest thing about this tour is the songs have held up really well,” he said.

“They are simple songs and I still really believe in the lyrics and the meaning of the songs all these years later but the band is infinitely better and playing these songs in a much more powerful way.

“We are now talking about a band that has toured the world for 15 years and played festivals stages versus just a bunch of idiots from the beaches of Northern Sydney, who the only thing they’d done before they recorded first EP was pick their noses.”

The Beautiful Girls will play Dunsborough Tavern on Saturday, December 9.

Tickets are available from the venue or online at Oztix.