MAT McHUGH: A Decade of Music and Surfing

7 Aug 2012 0 Share

The Beautiful Girls’ Mat McHugh talks to Coastalwatch about a decade of music and a lifetime of surf  

By Tatianna K Alpert

CW: TBG is celebrating an exciting milestone, the ten-year anniversary. A decade ago, Mat was...

MM: I was the same, probably a little more innocent to the ways of the world. All I’d done is surf, travel and strummed the guitar. I hear all the early songs and lyrics and I still have that same headspace.

Ten years on the road means a lot of travel to a lot of good surf spots…

Ohhhh.  So many good ones in Australia. Probably for waves, crowds kinda ruin it now, Kirra and the Super Bank are just pretty ridiculous when you get a good one. But if you had to balance the crowds and the waves and the whole environment, probably the south-west of WA. Between Yallingup and Margs, as anyone who surfs knows, that whole zone is full of crazy reefs, just the environment there, looking in from the surf, you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

On the road around the world?

A lot of the spots that I like to surf aren’t necessarily on tour.  I’ve had epic epic waves in the Carolines a couple of times, and down along the bottom of Java, some of the islands to the east and west of Java, Indo, North Pacific. There are a couple little secret spots that I’m definitely not going to tell you about right now. Generally the best waves I don’t find on tour, I take what I can get when we’re on the road, and the moment that’s done, I take off and get lost.

Best waves on tour?

I’ve gotten some amazing waves, three years running up on the Goldy. The swell that when we were there in summer 2011 was ridiculous. I’ve had really good Bells, WA, Trestles – North of Los Angeles, in Japan I got the tail-end of a typhoon, so you do end up getting good waves on the road, but I prefer to go where there’s less people.

In the hectic lifestyle that is a musician in the public eye, is surfing a savior? 

Surfing is like my reset button. I think my relationship with surfing has changed a lot. I grew up surfing and I used to go out and try to get better every surf, it was all about improving, and work on this element or that style. That doesn’t get to me any more, there is no competition to up the ante any more. It’s more of an escape, every time I go surfing, even if it’s small and crappy, I’ll just always paddle to the next bank, even if it’s a shitty bank, ’cause if there’s no-one on it… it’s just like taking a breath. In music, you’re surrounded by people, always giving energy out, surrounded by all this… stuff.  Surfing, even if it’s bad, it’s like refilling your tank.  It’s my place to recharge and get some perspective. It’s not about performance but about being present in that place.

In Brazil you had a show where you were expecting about 2000 people and right when you were about to go on the stage manager said to hold off, there was a 10 km line of line of cars outside the venue of about 4000 more people trying to get in to see The Beautiful Girls…

Yeah, that was pretty crazy that was our first show in Brazil. We were like, I wonder how Brazil is, then we showed up in a country with a foreign language and they were singing every word to every song. The surfing part of the equation as far as culture goes, has been responsible for a lot of the bands success around the world. All I’ve ever tried to do is represent a lot of the music I listened to when I grew up, down on the beach and in the ocean. If you’re honest with where you’re from, and you go to other ocean locations, people feel like they can connect.

TBG also played an impromptu show on the ASP site in Brazil?

Yeah well it was just a last minute thing… and again, a fanatical amount of people turned up. It’s just such a blessing. For me that’s both things that I love just coming together.  You’re playing music but, if I wasn’t I’d want to be watching the contest anyways.

What has stood out in the way of local surf vibes in some of the places you’ve travelled to?

In a lot of ways I’ve been super fortunate that I’ve had the music there as a sort of connector. But I’ve witnessed stuff first hand, like in Guam, if you don’t know anyone you just wouldn’t paddle out and they make that pretty clear. But I get it. It’s essential in places like Hawaii and Tahiti in certain spots where there are really heavy waves that there is some kind of level of hierarchy. Respect comes heavily into it, ’cause there are places you can really get hurt. It’s ugly if it’s localism for the sake of localism. You and I can talk about localism all day long, it’s not going to change, and the only way to circumvent it is to be cool. Take a breath and stop being greedy from the get go.

If you could plan your next tour around a surf trip?

Until the day I die I will be a surfer, and I’ll always play music. So if I can intertwine the two, that’s my dream come true. I don’t need to be U2, I don’t need to be a gigantic rock star. If I can cruise around, go surf, hang with friends, play music and generate a whole bunch of love along the way, then I’m good.  Anywhere where that can happen, they are the places I want to be really.

Tags: MAT MCHUGH , THE BEAUTIFUL GIRLS (create Alert from these tags)

blog comments powered by Disqus
More From Mobile Services
Registered Users

Registered Users

11 Mar 2015
SMS services

SMS services

Use the flexibility of Coastalwatch SMS service to check the daily surf report or live wind conditiosn around Australia anytime of the day.

25 Oct 2013
Recent
Nick Carroll: The Aftermath

Nick Carroll: The Aftermath

2 25 Nov 2020
From Air Shows To Death-Defying Code Red Tahiti and Everything in Between – Nathan Fletcher Tells His Story on Jamie Mitchell's Podcast

From Air Shows To Death-Defying Code Red Tahiti and Everything in Between – Nathan Fletcher Tells His Story on Jamie Mitchell's Podcast

23 Nov 2020
Nick Carroll: If You’re Waiting for a Custom Surfboard Order, Get Ready To Keep on Waiting

Nick Carroll: If You’re Waiting for a Custom Surfboard Order, Get Ready To Keep on Waiting

9 21 Nov 2020
Kelly's Take on the Machado High-Five, Pumping Mundaka, & Dane Reynolds in Crappy Waves

Kelly's Take on the Machado High-Five, Pumping Mundaka, & Dane Reynolds in Crappy Waves

20 Nov 2020
Latest News

Nick Carroll: The Aftermath

As the surfing world processes the death of John Shimooka, care and concern turns to those left in the backwash

Kelly's Take on the Machado High-Five, Pumping Mundaka, & Dane Reynolds in Crappy Waves

This Week In Surfing: Ten Things from Surfing & the Internet on the Week That Was November 20 2020

Popular This Week

Kelly's Take on the Machado High-Five, Pumping Mundaka, & Dane Reynolds in Crappy Waves

This Week In Surfing: Ten Things from Surfing & the Internet on the Week That Was November 20 2020

Padang Comes to Life as Late Season Swell hits Bali

Golden hour at perfect Padang Padang - it's been a good week to be in Bali... Photo: Childs

Video: The Fizzlot kids – SW Grom Bash

A stoked out portrait of Australian Junior Surfing in the year 2018.

Go to Top