With a new single on the realm of being released, and a Pop-Art influenced video to accompany it, we speak to Rod Thomas, the guy behind Bright Light Bright Light on 80s music, guitars and Bjork.
PN: Your new single is called ‘Disco Moment’, what is a ‘disco moment’ for you?
RT: A “disco moment” is a way of describing that feeling when you’re having the time of your life, like the characters in a John Hughes film in the big emotive dance sequences, when everything feels amazing.
PN: Do you hope that’s how people will react when they hear the song? Or is it more of a euphoria ‘in the moment’?
RT: I guess I hope people will recognise both of the “moments” in the song … the “disco moment” where everything’s perfect and you feel on top of the world, and the position I’m singing from – where you’re watching someone else have theirs but you’re on the sidelines. I wanted the track to have enough energy to break through a less positive lyric, so I hope it makes people feel like they can dance through heartache, maybe defiant and a bit OTT, like when the downtrodden character in a film finally stands up for themselves and goes wild in a crowded room, and they become amazing and finally feel good about themselves.
PN: The video features models with TVs as heads and is all quite pop-arty- was it fun to make?
RT: So much fun! We had such a fantastic team. Alun Davies is a brilliant set designer, and one of my best friends from back home in Wales. Working with him is such a joy. The models were very, very fun to spend the day with, and director Jody Wilson has such great energy. I know I look quite serious in it, but I had a blast making the video, honestly!
PN: The single is quite 80s- is this a new sound or look for you?
RT: I’ve been working on Bright Light Bright Light for about a year and a half, working out the sounds, both by myself and with the producers I’ve worked with, and working on the visuals with Alun. I wanted to have an identity, and when I was growing up, the pop music of the late 80s and early 90s really struck a chord with me, so I wanted to look back to my roots I guess.
PN: This single has a sound which is quite different from your previous work, what changed for you?
RT: I wanted to have more fun and enjoy being young! I love lots of different kinds of music, but I really wanted to push myself and make music that I wanted to dance to, so I hid away and learned how to program properly and worked out the kind of sounds I wanted to use. Also working with Boom Bip (who produced “Disco Moment” with me) gave me more confidence in following the idea, and I enjoy making it so much, it just felt right.
PN: Were you listening to a new kind of music?
RT: Not particularly. I’ve always kept spinning my 80s/90s dance tracks alongside all the more organic sounding records. But people like Boom Bip, James Yuill, Friendly Fires and Filthy Dukes definitely made me want to push myself and see if I could make dance-leaning pop music too.
PN: Can we expect to see you return to a more folk, indie sound, or is pop the way forward for you now?
RT: Maybe somewhere down the line. At the moment, I think this sound matches my personality better. When I was making more singer-songwriter, acoustic-led, music, people presumed I was quite melancholy, but I’m really not. I love dancing, and I DJ a lot, and I can be a bit ridiculous. So maybe when I mellow a little!
PN: Which genre of music do you prefer to listen to now?
RT: There’s not one fixed genre. I listen to a LOT of Bjork and Kate Bush, I can’t get away from them. Everything else revolves around them.
PN: Do you still play the guitar?
RT: Yes, but much less often. There is a little guitar on the record too.
PN: When can we expect a new album?
RT: Early 2012 I think it’s probably going to come out.
PN: What were the last 5 things on your iPod?
RT: Austra, Twin Shadow, JX, Bjork and Owen Pallett.