Premiere: Tasmania’s Bully Hay unveils immersive video for the thrilling anthem ‘Wash Off The World’ ahead of debut album release.

Feature Photograph: Eden Meure

We are honoured to premiere the anthemic single and immersive video for ‘Wash Off The World’ from indie Tasmanian rocker Bully Hay. The single itself is augmented by The Tea Party’s Jeff Martin on production, and the result is an anthemic gem that shines with passion and authenticity.

Bully Hay is the nom de plume of Jonathon Coleman, and he says of the track:

The sound is reminiscent of the early Powderfinger albums but has this (John) Bonham solid drum sound powering through. And Jeff Martin’s influence throughout lent itself beautifully to really fill out certain sections. Often, it’s a process where the sound is shaped kind of unconsciously throughout the songwriting and recording process. I have never written a song with an artist or influence in mind and try hard not to. It’s not until after its finished, I start to recognise: ‘This sounds a little like Powderfinger or Something for Kate here and there’. And of course you can’t deny Jeff Martin’s influence across the sound. I’ve been a huge fan of Jeff and The Tea Party for over 20 years.

The references to a genetic code may provide a signpost, but the sound is distinct and fresh, filled with the sort of vitality that reflects the crisp and pure air of the wild island at the edge of the world, where the oceans fresh from Antarctica thunder in. Bully Hay speaks of his excitement of working with Martin:

Working with Jeff would be up there in the top memorable times of my life!” says Bully Hay. “I’d met Jeff through a mutual friend one night in Hobart after he played a solo gig down there. We ended up having a few drinks and sharing a few songs with each other. Jeff offered to produce a record of my songs.  I let him know it was a deal as long as he played some guitar on the record, and we shook on it.  At the time I thought it was just booze talking, but sure enough the next day it was all confirmed that it was going to happen.  Throughout last year Jeff and his wife Melissa welcomed me into their home where I lived for about a month throughout the year and really got stuck into the songs in the studio. 

At first it was pretty nerve wracking as I really didn’t know what to expect. Jeff and I didn’t know each other apart from hanging out for a few hours one time after his show.  And he knew nothing about me, so was most probably hoping I wasn’t some kind of psycho coming to live at his house! But as the days passed and the music was taking shape, we found we had a lot in common and became really great friends. The actual recording process was really fascinating for me. As Jeff has recorded so many albums, solo and with The
Tea Party, I was just soaking it all in like a sponge.  The highlights for me would be when Jeff would pick up a guitar and come up with these amazing lines to accentuate or soup up my guitar parts. I am not a lead guitarist, so to have Jeff Martin play lead on my record was pretty bloody awesome. The luck factor here is not lost on me.

The admiration is mutual. Martin says:

As a producer it’s an incredible experience when you’re working with a singer and don’t have to use any of those evils like Autotune because the guy has perfect pitch every single time. And the harmonies he comes up with…I couldn’t even do that! What Jono has accomplished – which is very rare – is that he can go from tender ballads in the style of Jeff Buckley, to country rock which reminds the listener of vintage Eagles, to these epic rock opuses.

The track is a jangling anthem – emulating its title by delivering a wash of sound that ebbs and flows with a thunderous roar. With the opening line I want to get inside the ocean and wash off the world, Bully Hay sets the scene for a song of resilience and redemption. The production is as sharp and cutting as the cold air in the early morning up at kunanyi mountain that towers over Hobart.

The video captures this freshness – an immersive combination of an enigmatic band performance, scenes of personal anguish and refreshing waves of water that become a palimpsest for survival and rebirth. The result is something as enigmatic and euphoric as the track itself:

This is an exciting release and suggest that Bully Hay is a formidable presence in the antipodean music scene. ‘Wash Off The World’ is out on Thursday, 27 June2024 and you can pre-save it here.

It heralds the release of Bully Hay’s debut album ‘Black Dogs and Songbirds’ due out on 30 October 2024.

The name Bully Hay was inspired by Coleman’s uncle who was one of “The Rats of Tobruk” in World War II. And now with his gaze firmly fixed on the upcoming release of his debut album, Bully Hay once again proudly flies the flag for Tasmania, with The Apple Isle intrinsically permeating through his captivating creations. he says:

Living in Tasmania has really shaped me in my life, and very much so within my music. There’s a thread there behind a lot of songs of mine where I end up visualising certain places there, mainly coastal regions, which is why I often catch these kind of elemental lyrics (water, fire, etc.) creeping into my songs.
‘Wash Off The World’ is the first single from my debut album Black Dogs and Songbirds which is a full length, 11 track album I’ll be releasing later this year. Listening to these songs, you’ll hear influences like Paul Kelly, Crowded House, Powderfinger, Soundgarden, Jeff Buckley and The Tea Party coming through, but the album now has its own Bully Hay sound.  We’ve created something really special. Sharing the album will be my absolute pleasure. I can’t wait to get it out there.

Based on this single, neither can we.

Feature Photograph: Eden Meure

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