Discovery: Bright Light Bright Light

British electropop import Rod Thomas—better known by his stage name Bright Light Bright Light—wishes studious listeners would compare him to Neil Tennant. But, alas, some people still see the Swedish chanteuse Robyn. “Robyn is a very amazing comparison, and I’m a huge fan of her work, but probably in my mind it’s somebody like Depeche Mode or Pet Shop Boys in my ideal fantasy,” he says. Either way, the singer, who DJs frequently at clubs like Fabric in London, has been doing quite well for himself. 

Earlier this year, Thomas jumped the pond, as his first two singles “Love Part II” and “Disco Moment” began to garner more serious attention, after which he dropped the first Bright Light Bright Light full-length album, Make Me Believe in Hope, in June. Bright Light tracks have a pulsing, if somewhat nostalgic, ’90s affability to them that hearkens to club days gone by—and perhaps still to come. The beats may be for dancing, but Thomas’ lyrics tend toward the serious. He got his start in folk, after all.

Today, we’re excited to debut Bright Light Bright Light’s “Feel It.” We spoke with him about the spontaneity of his act’s name, pop-culture references, getting a bit of praise from Elton John, and touring with the Scissor Sisters in the UK.


AGE: 30

HOMETOWN: I grew up next to a coal mine in South Wales in the valleys, where nothing really comes and goes.

THE GREMLINS REFERENCE OF THE BAND’S NAME: I chose the name Bright Light Bright Light because it weirdly popped into my head and it was from one of my favorite films. It nods to the decade where I was born and the music nods to the decade where I started buying music. It was like a little indication of my growing-up trajectory, I guess.

THE UNEXPECTED ’90s INFLUENCE IN “FEEL IT”: We basically turned the studio into a club for the afternoon and made this dance track that referenced our favorite things. So people like Black Box, like Green Dogs, and some of like Depeche Mode kind of sounds. The song itself is based on Twin Peaks. It’s sort of based on Laura Palmer’s diary. It’s based on the idea of desire taking over you and passion and what you’re hiding and what people see on the outside. So it’s sort of loosely based on that.

PRAISE FROM ELTON: “It’s kind of insane. It’s really weird when you grow up listening to somebody’s music and then… to have somebody whose records I bought as a child praise my album is kind of a bind-blowing experience. It’s amazing. I think for me, having an artist that I respect buy the record, or talk about the record, is so much more important than chart position or whatever kind of crazy sales figures. It means you’ve connected to the people that connected to you, and that’s quite an amazing and humbling experience.

HAVING A KIKI: It’s been so good. [The Scissor Sisters are] one of my favorite bands and Del [Marquis] is on the record as well. So it’s really nice to get to tour with somebody that I know really well and they’re one of my favorite bands, so I get to watch them every night, which is obviously fantastic. It’s brilliant.