Rod Thomas is experiencing something he has only dreamed about. The dream to make music and entertain people from all walks of life from all around the globe is coming true. Thomas, who goes by the stage name Bright Light Bright Light, is a musician, producer, DJ, beatmaker and personality that fuses '80s synth and today's EDM to bring forth a party and emotion within every song.
"Music has the power to get into people's lives. The power of communicating and connecting is incredible. The power of the connecting is far beyond what I could understand," Thomas told me as we met in a SoHo, New York, bar. Thomas was in town to play a slew of gigs as Bright Light Bright Light, make DJ appearances and promote his debut record, Make Me Believe in Hope. His debut, which was done totally DIY and out of his own pocket, has received much acclaim around the world. The British artist is a buzz artist all over the UK and has even gained comparisons to Robyn and has been praised by Elton John. Thomas, who was proud of his praise from Sir Elton, said, "It's surreal. It's impressive that someone at his level took time to hear my music. It's amazing to get a seal of approval from someone you have admired for as long as you have been alive."
Make Me Believe in Hope is a record that hears his '80s new wave influence and '90s electronica sound come together, while maintaining something very fresh and new that you would hear his colleagues create today. "I am influenced by Kate Bush, Bjork, Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, people and artists with strong personalities. Not trying to be something you are not. Bush and Bjork were never something they were not, they just followed what they felt," he said. The record's bold title and command is how people connect with each other. Thomas explained that, "I am fascinated by life as a person-to-person connection. How a situation can make you feel about yourself, whether its power, helplessness, and disappointment. But, Make Me Believe in Hope is a statement about the people around you that help you and how you help yourself. That is hope. Hope is not necessarily a positive, its what you give is the best you have."
While his influences have inspired his sound and style, it is his life these days that has him soaking up every moment. Thomas grew up in a coal-mining town in Wales and currently resides in London where he is creating his passion. While his friends and family are still trying to understand his lifestyle, he is not questioning it. "I grew up in the middle of nowhere, with no 'in' into the music industry. When I think about what I have done properly, it is absurd. It is absurd because I am so fortunate and I am not taking that fortune for granted and I am enjoying it," he said.
For all of the travel, acclaim and self-releasing his debut record, it is the people from around the world that contact Thomas and thank him for his music and request him to play in their town or city that really brings a smile to his face. While it brings joy and affirmation that this is his calling, it also goes back to his fascination of people connecting with each other. He said, "I get e-mails from people from all over asking for remixes and telling me they love the record. That makes it all worth it." Like nearly every artist of today, he uses the Internet to give away mixtapes, remixes and some of his music and encourages interaction between his fans. The fruits of his labor are now blossoming and being spread from person to person, for all of the hard work and worry that Thomas had, his dream is finally realized. "Wherever it goes from here is exciting. I grew up in a coal mine and there was f*ck all there. So anything from there is exciting," he said.