Bright Light Bright Light

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Bright Light Bright Light
Bright Light Bright Light performing in September 2016
Bright Light Bright Light performing in September 2016
Background information
Birth nameRod Thomas
Born (1982-10-30) 30 October 1982 (age 39)
Neath, Wales
GenresElectropop, dance, disco, house, alternative
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, DJ, producer
Instrumentsvoice, piano, guitar, saxophone, bass, ukulele
Years active2006–present
LabelsSelf Raising Records, YSKWN!
Associated actsElton John, Scissor Sisters, Slow Knights, Alan Cumming, Mykal Kilgore, Cher, Erasure
Websitebrightlightx2.com

Rod Thomas (stage name Bright Light Bright Light) is a Welsh independent singer-songwriter, based in New York. Bright Light Bright Light incorporates many elements of nu-disco into his music, also branching into synthpop, dance and house music. Two of his albums have reached the top 20 on the UK Independent Albums Chart.

Career[edit]

1982-2009: Early years[edit]

Performing as Rod Thomas in 2006

Thomas grew up in a small village near Neath, Wales,[1] and learned several instruments as a child, including piano. His first forays into music were more folk-based, led by acoustic guitar with, due to a lack of equipment, minimal beats around it. Thomas later stated his dalliance with folk was due to his lack of knowledge with production techniques, and that he was always drawn to house and synthpop.[2] He left Wales to take a place reading English literature and creative writing at Warwick University, then made the move to London.[3] In London he set up a studio at home, and spent rush hours busking busy London tube stations. In 2009 he sent demo tracks to American producer Boom Bip, resulting in Thomas being invited to Los Angeles for two weeks to collaborate on tracks. Thomas stated Boom Bip's production on the song "A New Word to Say" helped him find "my sound".[1]

2010-present : Bright Light Bright Light[edit]

Thomas released "Love Part II", his first single under the name Bright Light Bright Light, in 2010 on the Popjustice Hi-Fi label.[3] Thomas chose the name Bright Light Bright Light from a quote spoken by the character Gizmo in the 1984 movie Gremlins.[4] 2010 also saw him tour as the support act for Ellie Goulding.[1] The singles "Disco Moment" and "Feel It" followed in 2011 and 2012, and, after appearances at Bestival in the UK and South by South West in the US, he released his debut album Make Me Believe in Hope in 2012.[1][3]

The album tracks on Make Me Believe in Hope were co-written and produced by Rod Thomas, The Invisible Men and Andy Chatterley. The album features several collaborations, including vocals from Scissor Sisters' guitarist Del Marquis on the track "Cry at Films". Make Me Believe in Hope was released in the UK on 4 June 2012 through independent label Aztec Records, and the album received generally positive reviews from music critics and bloggers, with The Fly magazine noting the album among releases that just missed its annual top 50.[5] The album was voted at number 4 in The Guardian's Reader Choice: Best Albums of 2012. The single "Disco Moment", from the album, was placed on the BBC Radio 1 play list.[3] In June 2012 the album made the final shortlist for the annual Welsh Music Prize, but lost to Future of the Left.[6] 2012 also saw Bright Light Bright Light support Scissor Sisters on four venues of their UK tour.[7]

In 2013, the EP In Your Care was released; followed by "I Wish We Were Leaving", a second single from Thomas' second album, featuring Elton John. Following the latter's release, Thomas toured with Elton John during summer 2014. Bright Light Bright Light's second album Life is Easy was released in the UK on 7 July 2014, charting at No. 139, and was preceded by the single "I Believe" on 29 June. Thomas spent most of 2014 and 2015 touring as the opening act for Elton John in the US, Canada, UK, Europe and Russia, playing 55 shows. He ended 2015 with a short US tour opening for John Grant.

In 2016, Choreography was released, entering the UK Album Chart at No. 72, the Independent Album Breakers chart at No. 1, and the US Billboard Dance / Electronic Album Chart at No. 12. The album features guest appearances by Elton John, Alan Cumming, all Scissor Sisters members and Mykal Kilgore. All guests feature on the album's lead single "All in the Name", which was unveiled in a live performance on Graham Norton's BBC TV show with Elton John on stage with him. The song was added to the Radio 2 B-list playlist and scored Thomas his widest-reaching single to date.

Aside from creating his own music, Thomas runs a daytime dance party in New York (which transfers to London when he is touring) called Romy & Michele's Saturday Afternoon Tea Dance, named after "Romy & Michele's High School Reunion", one of his favourite films. The party takes place both in Brooklyn and at Club Cumming, a bar in Manhattan's East Village run by Alan Cumming, who stars in the film that inspired the event.

In 2017 Thomas appeared as an extra in one of his favourite TV series, The League of Gentlemen, in the first episode of their three-part TV return, "Return to Royston Vasey", as a job-seeker in Pauline's restart class. This marked his second time working with actor, director and writer Mark Gatiss, after composing the theme tune for Mark's BBC4 series Queers, created as part of the BBC's cycle "Gay Britannia", to mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Sexual Offences Act 1967. The show features interviews with gay characters at the margins of the community. It was broadcast by BBC America in collaboration with AMC Networks.

In 2019 he was picked as the opening act for Cher's European tour, playing nine shows across Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden.

Thomas provided the vocals for the animated intro to Murder by Numbers, released March 5, 2020.[8] Later that month, he released "This Was My House", featuring Madonna's backing singers Niki Haris and Donna De Lory and produced by Initial Talk, as the first song from his fourth album Fun City. The song was described as "a perfect disco song" by Paper Magazine,[9] written about how the LGBTQ+ community's safe spaces have been under attack in recent times, and how, despite the upsurge in anti-LGBTQ+ and xenophobic rhetoric, everybody deserves to feel safe in the place they call home.

Fun City was a #1 UK Dance Album hit on its release in September 2020 receiving widespread critical acclaim, featuring a slew of LGBTQ+ talent adding their vocals: Brendan Maclean, Jake Shears, Andy Bell of Erasure, Sam Sparro, Caveboy, Niki & Donna, KAYE, The Illustrious Blacks, Big Dipper, Mark Gatiss adding a spoken word piece, and Justin Vivian Bond.

In November 2020, Bright Light Bright Light released a duet with alt-cabaret star Justin Vivian Bond, "Saying Goodbye Is Exhausting." The haunting ballad captures grief in the LGBTQ+ community. It was "released to raise some hope, money and awareness for Trans Awareness Week and World AIDS Day 2020, the official day of release of the EP."[10]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

List of albums, with release date and label shown
Title Details Peak chart positions
UK
[11][12]
UK Indie
[13]
UK Dance Albums
Until Something Fits
(as Rod Thomas)
Make Me Believe in Hope
  • Released: 2012
  • Label: Self Raising Records / The Blue Team (BLUETEAM8)
  • Format: CD, digital download, LP
Make Me Believe in Hope - B-Sides, Remixes and Rarities
  • Released: 2013
  • Label: Self Raising Records
  • Format: CD
Make Me Believe in Hope - Blueprints Version
  • Released: 2013
  • Label: Self Raising Records (SRR11CD)
  • Format: CD, digital download, LP
Life Is Easy
  • Released: July 2014
  • Label: Self Raising Records (SRR15CD)
  • Format: CD, digital download, LP
139 19
Live At Mercury Lounge NYC
  • Released: January 2015
  • Label: Bright Light Bright Light
  • Format: digital download
  • Recorded live in January 2015
Life Is Easy - The Remixes
  • Released: June 2015
  • Label: Self Raising Records (SRR26CD)
  • Format: CD, digital download, 2xLP
Solo Piano Versions
  • Released: 2016
  • Label: Bright Light Bright Light
  • Format: digital download
Choreography
  • Released: July 2016
  • Label: Self Raising Records (SRR30CD)
  • Format: CD, digital download, 2xLP, cassette, streaming
72 11[citation needed]
Live Is Easy (Live On Tour with Erasure)
  • Released: April 2018
  • Label: Self Raising Records (SRR52CD)
  • Format: CD, digital download
  • Recorded live in 2018
Fun City
  • Released: 18 September 2020
  • Label: YSKWN! (YSKWN005CD)
  • Format: CD, LP, digital download, streaming
1
Choreography (Stripped Down Version)
  • Released: February 2021
  • Label: Bright Light Bright Light
  • Format: digital download
So Gay. So Dramatic
  • Released: June 2021
  • Label: YSKWN! (YSKWN009CD)
  • Format: 2xCD, 2xLP, digital download, streaming
26[citation needed] 14

Extended plays[edit]

List of EP, with release date and label shown
Title Details
A Few Songs EP
(as Rod Thomas)
  • Released: 2005
  • Label: Self Raising Records (SRRCD01)
  • Format: CD
Playroom EP
(as Rod Thomas with si-cut.db)
  • Released: 2008
  • Label: Rod Thomas
  • Format: CDr
The Festivals EP
(as Rod Thomas)
  • Released: 2008
  • Label: Rod Thomas
  • Format: CDr
Limited Edition EP
  • Released: October 2009
  • Label: Bright Light Bright Light
  • Format: CDr
Blue Prints
  • Released: 2012 (US release only)
  • Label: The Blue Team
  • Format: Digital download
All That Matters EP
  • Released: December 2013
  • Label: The Blue Team
  • Format: Digital download
Matters: EP & Non Album Tracks
  • Released: 2014
  • Label: Self Raising Records
  • Format: Digital download
Tour EP 2014
  • Released: 2014
  • Label: Bright Light Bright Light
  • Format: Digital download, Cdr
Joe's Pub April 2014
  • Released: 2014
  • Label: Bright Light Bright Light
  • Format: Digital download
Cinematography
  • Released: November 2016
  • Label: Self Raising Records (SRR39CD)
  • Format: CD, digital download, streaming
Choreography Remixes
  • Released: 2017
  • Label: Self Raising Records
  • Format: CD, digital download, streaming
Cinematography II: Back in the Habit
  • Released: April 2017
  • Label: Self Raising Records (SRR43CD)
  • Format: CD, digital download, streaming
Tales of the City
  • Released: July 2017
  • Label: Self Raising Records (SRR47CD)
  • Format: CD, digital download, streaming
Cinematography III: Merry Christmas You Filthy Animal
  • Released: December 2017
  • Label: Self Raising Records (SRR49CD)
  • Format: CD, digital download, streaming
Tough love
  • Released: September 2018
  • Label: Self Raising Records (SRR56CD)
  • Format: CD, digital download, streaming
Quiet City
  • Released: 12 February 2021
  • Label: YSKWN!
  • Format: digital download, streaming
How Queer
  • Released: 27 August 2021
  • Label: YSKWN!
  • Format: digital download, streaming

Singles[edit]

List of singles, with year released and album name shown
Year Title Album
Credited as Rob Thomas
2006 "Good Coat" Until Something Fits
2007 "Your Love Is a Tease"
2008 "You Get Goodbyes"
"Same Old Lines"
Credited as Bright Light Bright Light
2010 "A New Word to Say Make Me Believe in Hope
"Love Part II"
2011 "Disco Moment"
2012 "Waiting for the Feeling"[14]
"Feel It" (featuring Mykal Kilgore)[15]
2013 "Moves"[16]
"In Your Care"[17] Life Is Easy
2014 "I Wish We Were Leaving" (with Elton John)[18][19]
"I Believe"[20]
"An Open Heart"[21]
"Everything I Ever Wanted"(with The Pink Singers)[22]
2015 "There Are No Miracles"[23]
"Good Luck" (featuring Ana Matronic)[24] Life Is Hard: The Remixes
"Blood Moon (I Did Give You Love)"[25]
2016 "All in the Name" (featuring Elton John)[26] Choreography
"Symmetry of Two Hearts" (featuring Elton John)[27]
2017 "Running Back to You" (featuring Elton John)[28]
"Into the Night"[29]
"I Only Wanna Please You" (featuring Ana Matronic)[30]
"Put a Little Love in Your Heart" (with Narina Pallor)[31] Cinematography 3: Merry Christmas You Filthy Animal
2018 "Little Bit"[32] Choreography
"Nos Cœurs Symétriques"[33] Bright Light Bright Light
"Tough Love"[34]
"Uh Huh"[35]
2019 "Wild"(with Final DJs)
2020 "This Was My House" (featuring Niki Haris, Donna De Lory & Initial Talk)[36] Fun City
"I Used to Be Cool"[37]
"It's Alright, It's OK" (featuring Caveboy)[38]
"Good At Goodbyes" (featuring Andy Bell)[39]
"Saying Goodbye Is Exhausting" (featuring Justin Vivian Bond)[40]
2021 "Being Sentimental"[41] So Gay. So Dramatic
"Arms of Another" (featuring Milly Blue & Sophie Galpin)[42]
"These Dreams" (featuring The Illustrious Blacks)[43]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Bright Light Bright Light". swnfest.com. Archived from the original on 23 September 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  2. ^ Freeman, John (8 February 2011). "I'm Not Some Sort of Genius: Bright Light Bright Light Interviewed". thequietus.com. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d "Make Me Believe in Hope – Bright Light Bright Light". welshmusicprize.com. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  4. ^ Cragg, Michael (30 June 2011). "New music: Bright Light Bright Light – Disco Moment". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  5. ^ Cragg, Michael. "Missed The 50: Bright Light Bright Light 'Make Me Believe in Hope'". The Fly Magazine. Archived from the original on 1 February 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  6. ^ "Welsh Music Prize: Future of the Left named winners". BBC News. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  7. ^ Beattie, Siobhanne (5 November 2012). "Gutter Talk : Bright Light, Bright Light". Gutter Magazine. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  8. ^ Murder by Numbers
  9. ^ "Listen to This Disco Song Right Now". PAPER. 27 March 2020. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  10. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Bright Light Bright Light & Justin Vivian Bond 'Saying Goodbye Is Exhausting'". YouTube.
  11. ^ "Bright Light Bright Light; full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  12. ^ "CHART: CLUK Update 19.07.2014 (wk28)". Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  13. ^ "Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50 - Official Charts Company". Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  14. ^ "Waiting for the Feeling". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  15. ^ "Feel It". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Moves EP". amazon. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  17. ^ "In Your Care". amazon. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  18. ^ "Future Releases on Triple A (AAA) Radio Stations". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014.
  19. ^ "I Wish We Were Leaving". amazon. February 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  20. ^ "I Believe". amazon. June 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  21. ^ "An Open Heart". amazon. September 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  22. ^ "Everything I Ever Wanted". amazon. November 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  23. ^ "There Are No Miracles". amazon. January 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  24. ^ "Good Luck". May 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2016 – via Amazon.
  25. ^ "Blood Moon (I Did Give You Love) - single". Apple Music. 30 October 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  26. ^ "All in the Name - single". Apple Music. 1 July 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  27. ^ "Symmetry of Two Hearts - single". Apple Music. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  28. ^ "Running Back to You - single". Apple Music. February 2017. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  29. ^ "Into the Night - single". Apple Music. July 2017. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  30. ^ "I Only Wanna Please You - single". Apple Music. September 2017. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  31. ^ "Put a Little Love in Your Heart - single". Apple Music. 3 November 2017. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  32. ^ "Little Bit - single". Apple Music. 26 January 2018. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  33. ^ ""Nos Cœurs Symétriques"". Spotify. May 2018. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  34. ^ "Tough Love - single". Apple Music. 12 July 2018. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  35. ^ "Uh Huh - single". Apple Music. 16 August 2018. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  36. ^ "This Was My House - single". Apple Music. 27 March 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  37. ^ "I Used to Be Cool - single". Apple Music. 30 June 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  38. ^ "It's Alright, It's OK - single". Apple Music. 18 August 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  39. ^ "Good At Goodbyes - single". Apple Music. 30 October 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  40. ^ "Saying Goodbye Is Exhausting- single". Apple Music. 1 December 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  41. ^ "Being Sentimental- single". Apple Music. 30 April 2021. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  42. ^ "Arms of Another - single". Apple Music. 21 May 2021. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  43. ^ "These Dreams - single". Apple Music. 2 July 2021. Retrieved 7 September 2021.