“I was so excited to do those shows back in 2007. I had just gotten my first plays on Radio 1, and I had people from the station coming down to the London show on the second night… But I could barely sing. I had to finish the set five songs in.” For Rod Thomas, the man behind Bright Light Bright Light, losing his voice on the first show of a two-week tour left him at a cross.
“I went to the doctor the next day and he told me I had to stop singing for two weeks or else I’d cause permanent damage. I had to cancel the whole run. I was pretty depressed about that.”
Since that rough patch, Rod created Bright Light Bright Light, toured with Ellie Goulding and Elton John, moved to a new country, and gained significantly more confidence in his music.
“I started to have a lot more fun,” he exclaims about his decision to leave folk music behind and continue making music as BLBL. “I felt really energized being able to play fun shows where people could dance and let go. It felt so amazing.” On top of that, the transition from folk to pop meant that he could start experimenting with different sounds. “I felt like my horizons grew wider and wider,” he expresses.
Switching to pop was natural for him despite having played a variety of styles of music in the past. Many genres of music were always in his head, but, more importantly, pop made him feel differently. “It took me to a very different world,” he comments. “The beats, the synths, and the layers of pop music always intrigued me,” he states, before admitting that growing up in a very rural environment played a role in his connection to pop.
Ultimately, growing up in a small town came with its ups and downs. “It was beautiful and quite magical, if a little isolated,” he explains. “I’m always a little sad that I was never part of a band.” Still, he chooses not to ponder on the “what ifs” and instead focuses on what he has already done and what he can still accomplish in the future. “You don’t know any different than what you have when you’re growing up, do you?”
Check out the rest of the feature in Issue 13 for free!
PHOTOS + WORDS: PENELOPE MARTINEZ // @penelopemrtnz