Interview: Bright Light, Bright Light

Bright Light Rod Thomas Banner

On a very rainy day in East London I learned something very important; if you are doing an interview make sure you have an up to date picture of the person you’re meeting if you’ve never met them before!  So although I had planned to meet Bright Light (x2) before the show, I couldn’t find him (however I later realised he was sat in front of my while I was trying to download a pic on my  phone!!! – I don’t have an iPhone or Blackberry…).  After a very short and very sweet set, I managed to grab the Welsh purveyor of disco-tinged pop for a quick chat about his new sound and some person called Michael Jackson.

Soulside Funk: Bright Light, Bright Light, where did the name come from?

Bright Light, Bright Light: It kinda came from the fact the music I have been doing recently is more textured and more synth based, and I wanted a name to reflect that. I also do a lot of remixing as well, so I wanted a name to suggest something more dance based.

When you go by your first name and surname a lot of people presume you are acoustic, and that’s not really what I do…  it’s also a quote from Gremlins which is my favourite film!

SSF: I know you from the Rod Thomas days.  You mentioned that the name change was because of you moving away from the acoustic sound…

BL: Yeah, I wanted to have something that suggests energy.   I haven’t really played acoustic stuff for a long time now, and it’s not just me and a guitar anymore; there’s beats and there’s programming… a mix of organic and electric sounds.  Rod Thomas is not a weird enough name [for that].  I wanted to build an image as an artist where the name and the music match each other.

SSF: Do you feel like it was starting a fresh with the new name and the new sound?

BL: Yeah… to an extent.  It’s difficult when you’ve released stuff under a certain name, [especially when] you’ve had radio play and people have got on board… and then you change the name!   It’s a bit like a fresh start which has been kinda liberating, and actually quite fun.  I can play around a lot more and the distance between yourself and your name is kinda nice.

SSF: How do you find it being a totally independent artist; do you like the freedom that gives you?

BL: I do but it’s hard… a bit of a struggle.  I do like the fact I can choose the team around me and I get to work with a lot of people.  I am really fortunate that I have met some amazing people along the way and we’ll just collaborate (like Gold Panda, Sam Isaac and James Yuill).  So even though I am independent I don’t feel very lonely (laughs).

SSF: With the recession kicking in, do you think it is enabling more independent and unknown artists to get listened to?

BL: To an extent, but it also means there is a lot less money going around so if you do get to a level, where in the past you would’ve had more support financially (from other avenues), you don’t get that any more.  Yes you do get more opportunities to be listened to but it takes a hell of a lot more time to progress.

SSF: So if a major label came knocking tomorrow, what would you say?

BL: I depends what they offer really… the whole thing has changed quite a lot recently and it depends on how much input they would want to have.  What’s important to me is the team, and if it’s great people at the label then that makes it the right label for me!  If it’s not great people I get on with then there’s no point.

SSF: So I have to ask it, where were you when you found out Michael Jackson had passed away?

BL: I was somewhere massively pretentious actually (laughs), I was at Shoreditch House on the roof (winces in pain). My friend is like the biggest Michael Jackson fan and he just text me ‘Jackson Dead.’  I called him and then soon after everyone descended into conversation about that.

SSF: So did MJ have an influence on you and your music?

BL: If I am perfectly honest not really.  I never grew up listening to him… my cousins did, so I don’t know how I bypassed him.  I obviously knew his music and listen to it on the radio, however I never bought any of his albums until like 1994, 1995, so, the crux of my musical upbringing wasn’t around him at all.  That said, I do really really love his stuff and his song-writing is amazing.

SSF: So finally, what’s next for you?

BL: There’s going to be a single, which is the double A of Good Times and I Knew What To Say coming out in October, we’re just talking to the little label that are going to put that out at the moment.  I’m gonna play in New York, and I’m doing lots of writing… so yeah I’m keeping myself busy.

Soulside Funk


Bright Light, Bright Light Myspace –

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