I'm always writing about rock bands, so I thought for a change let's celebrate one of Wales' newest pop sensations, aka Bright Light Bright Light (also celebrated in this week's NME which is pure coincidence!).
Bright Light Bright Light
We've supported Rod Thomas - who is Bright Light - for a while on my radio show BBC Introducing in Wales, but he's definitely heading for the big time right now, so I thought we'd have a little catch up as he prepares to head off on a university tour with Ellie Goulding.
How did your university tour with Ellie come about?
Luck and timing really. I was put forward, like lots of bands are, as a support option, and everyone thought it would be a good idea. I did a remix of Under The Sheets months ago, and her team liked it, and her booking agent had seen BLBL play, and then Ellie okayed it, so I ended up as support. Which is very exciting!
Let's remind everyone who you are, and what you've done. What's the Bright Light Bright Light history so far?
Between 2006 and 2009 I released a few singles and mini album as Rod Thomas (cunningly, my own name) and gigged pretty much constantly. Then in 2009 I worked with Boom Bip as I wanted to make a more electronic, pop album.
We did two tracks together, then in 2009 I spent a few months writing and demoing - by myself and with Andy Chatterley (who wrote and produced for Kylie and Diana Vickers, Kanye West and Unkle) - and came up with my album. I recorded solidly in the early part of 2010 and in March released a free download of A New Word To Say, which sparked off a meeting with PopJustice and then signing to the label, which brings us up to date!
Tell us about the deal you have with Popjustice.
Popjustice is one of my favourite websites, and luckily Peter who runs it likes my music! We met up and talked about my songs and his label, and I signed to Popjustice HiFi who have this week put out my first single as Bright Light Bright Light, Love Part II. The album, Make Me Believe In Hope, is pretty much there apart from some songs I've just written, and should be out early 2011.
What inspires your songs?
Lots of very different things. I write mostly about things I observe rather than about myself, so if I overhear something, or have a connection with a place or person, then that sparks ideas. The album is all about connections - how places you go and people you meet chance your outlook, so I guess how I see people interacting is what inspires me. Oh, and Ace Of Base.
You've come a long way from busking on the London underground - it's taken a lot of determination too. What advice would you give to people struggling to get ahead in the music biz?
Work out what your strengths are, and what you want to achieve. It's easy to try and do bits of everything at the start, so you need to think quite hard about what you want to focus on and make sure you work as hard as you can to be the best you can at it.
What's been the most fun thing you've ever done as a musician?
Maybe going to SXSW. It was an amazing feeling to be going to Texas - and New York on the way - as a musician, surrounded by other great bands, in the sun, for a week. Such a great atmosphere and such a blast.
You've got a bigger line up of musicians now for this tour, how's the dynamic changing you as a performer, or the music you write?
I don't know if that particularly has changed the way I write, but the move to pop rather than folk-pop has. I'm much more focused on melody and harmonies, I want to make something that really connects, so I'm working hard on pushing myself to write in ways I maybe haven't before - like work really hard at production, and to think of new ways to phrase things.
It's definitely changing me as a performer though. Having more people around me on stage is really making me think about how I hold myself or project myself on stage. Gives me a bit more confidence too - it's really amazing having someone to bounce off and share the experience with.
What's on the cards for next year?
Album, tour and hopefully festivals. I'm doing lots of writing and co-writing, so hopefully something exciting will come of that. Basically, lots of hard work, but hard work that generates fun.
How can people find you online?
I have free downloads on my website at brightlightx2.com, I'm on Twitter at twitter.com/brightlightx2, my MySpace is myspace.com/brightlightx2 and lastly there are lots of bits and bobs and remixes on brightlightx2.blogspot.com.
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