Beautiful Girls frontman finds joy in a solo career
MAT McHugh is a creative force. He is a singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist who is proudly independent and performs and records all his albums
Drawing on a wide mix of life experiences and pouring them into his music, he has a solid fan base and an impressive catalogue, and is difficult to pigeon hole.
Mat has released nine studio albums, six under his alternate moniker The Beautiful Girls. He has sold in excess of 350,000 albums worldwide and all of his albums (self-titled and as TBG) have been self-produced and mixed by friend, and long-time musical foil, Ian Pritchett in Ian's garage among discarded Thai food containers.
No stranger at Splendour in the Grass, Falls Festival, Byron Bay Blues & Roots Festival and many international festivals, Mat's music is also featured in countless skate and snowboarding videos
The latter part of 2015 was a tumultuous time for Mat. Having written, recorded and released a new album, Waves, which was given to fans for free, Mat, an avid surfer, had to cancel his Australian tour due to a serious spinal injury.
Rather than go through potentially voice-damaging or mobility threatening surgery, Mat sought out specialists who have been stretching, manipulating and poking him with acupuncture needles five days a week for the past 12 months to get him back to the point where he could again pick up and play his guitar.
"I'm still on the road to recovery but I'm feeling a lot better than I was a year ago," Mat said.
"I've been working hard every single day and changed my lifestyle a lot so the whole experience has turned into a positive."
May 2016 saw a return to the road with performances across Australia on the Waves tour.
Taking to the stage in his current two-piece touring format of guitar/vocals plus electronics, the tour proved successful with sold out shows and glowing reviews. He followed this success with shows in Germany and the Netherlands.
With its mix of sophisticated songwriting and deep electronic beats combined with Mat's instantly recognisable voice, the set list drew from his three critically acclaimed solo albums Waves, Love Come Save Me and Seperatista!
Many will recognise Mat as the mastermind and creative force behind Sydney-based musical collective The Beautiful Girls, which enjoyed live and radio success including four acclaimed albums.
In between band commitments during 2009, Mat recorded his first solo effort Seperatista! which along with a tour saw him return as a solo performer for the first time in many years. An American tour in 2010 proved to be a watershed event for McHugh.
Personally invited to open for John Butler, he took to the stage alone with just a guitar, a drum machine and loop pedal and "fell in love with it."
In 2011, McHugh 'rested' The Beautiful Girls while he encountered the joys of fatherhood for the first time. In January 2012 then toured the USA and his beloved South America in 2013 for a series of solo live performances.
He makes all his albums at home using one guitar, two and a half synthesisers, one MPC and and one microphone. Plus a lot of weird old pawnshop guitar pedals and anything else he finds.