Rod Thomas, AKA Bright Light Bright Light has much going for him in 2018, with recent album release, Choreography, and an imminent single release, Little Bit on 26th January. On top of all that he is touring with Erasure, their sole support.
Rod spoke with The Fountain about the inspiration behind the name, working alongside such talent as Elton John and Alan Cumming, and the influences behind his illustrious work.
TF: Your name Bright Light Bright Light, that’s gotta be a Gremlins reference right?
It is indeed!
TF: Your last album was jam packed with celebrity collaborations. Elton John is on a couple, Ana Matronic and even Alan Cumming. How did all that happen?
It’s pretty wild really, I’ve been able to work with some of my absolute favourite artists. Mostly, I’m friends with the artist before we work together. I met Elton back in 2009 when I was managed by his management company, and we got on really well. He’s a huge music fan so he loves discovering new artists. He saw the review of my first album, and got it and liked it, and so we started talking about music and eventually I was brave enough to send him a song I’d written, he liked it, and he sang on it! I opened for Scissor Sisters on tour and we all got on so well we stayed in touch, and so it seemed silly not to work on music together. With Alan, we met at a mutual friend’s show, had a great night out and became friends, then I sent him Home which I wrote with Babydaddy from Scissor Sisters, who he’s also friends with, and he added his voice to the mix. It all sounds so random, and honestly I think about hearing these things as my fifteen year old self and it blows my mind!
TF: Were the songs already written or did they develop once you were in the studio with them?
I’d written the songs before they came on board, other than Good Luck from the remix version of my second record, where Ana came over and we wrote the rap together.
TF: I love your West End Girls cover with Ana Matronic that you released as a single. Did that just happen in the studio – how did that happen?
Well Ana and I were doing a charity event together in NYC, for Hetrick-Martin, so we thought it would be fun to do a one-off track together for it. She suggested doing the Pet Shop Boys cover, which I thought was a genius idea, so I did a rough production, she came over and we recorded it in an hour or two. It was so much fun to make with her.
TF: You’ve done a few remixes for Erasure now and as a fan, is it interesting getting an insight into how their tracks are put together?
It really is yes. Vince Clarke is a true musical genius and has produced some really timeless and influential tracks in his career. Hearing all the separate parts is pretty much a music geek’s dream come true! And Andy’s isolated vocals are a real pleasure to hear too. What a voice.
TF: Does seeing how bands you look up to produce their music influence you at all?
Constantly. I really try to learn from the music I listen to – all the acts I love the most have their own personalities and quirks, and there’s so much you can learn from in each piece of music. Whether it’s a production style, an unexpected twist in the chords or progression that catches you off guard … in the way that reading improves literacy and knowledge, I listen to music to push my boundaries in terms of the kind of sounds I experiment with and lyrics I write. I love DJing too, it’s a great way to have a rollercoaster ride through my record collection and remember all the different songwriting styles I love that are often very different but produce the same amount of joy / heartbreak / optimism / catharsis …
Bright Light Bright Light is touring with Erasure in January/February 2018.