I have a propensity to waffle. On and on and on. Sometimes editors feel the need to cut down my articles (which can be painful in many ways) – which is undoubtedly a good thing. However, if they chop out some potentially good stuff, I’ll post it on this blog. First up, some words that didn’t quite make the final piece from my recent Quietus interview with Bright Light Bright Light.
British pop music has had a rough time of it recently. While the ‘X Factor’ epidemic seems to have sucked the life-force out of any genuine new talent, it seems that the male species gets an even shoddier hand – either shoved into suits to hammer out ballads or airbrushed into unlikely sub-Take That boy-bands. Therefore, Rod Thomas, a handsome Welshman, is a refreshing blast of positivity. Under his “project” pseudonym of Bright Light Bright Light (one for 80’s film buffs), Thomas wants to make his own brand of pop music and connect with the masses. Last year’s debut single ‘Love Part II’ made a fine start; a viral hook swaddled in sweaty Hi-NRG.
It does seem that all the big solo stars in recent years have been women – Gaga, Beyoncé, Rihanna etcetera. I also saw a piece on you that heralded Bright Light Bright Light as this decade’s answer to Robbie William or George Michael. Is there is a sense that British pop music is overdue a new male solo star?
BLBL: I think so. The music industry needs another guy who does his own thing and works really hard at it. There are a lot of male solo artists who work extremely hard and get a bit of a rough deal. There is a female bias; they seem to put a lot more into giving the girls their own identity than the guys, who they just put in a suit and get them to sing a song. They don’t allow personality, or charisma, or ideas. What George Michael and Robbie Williams did very well, was put a lot of personality and a lot of themselves into the music. I really want to be part of a project that allows that to happen.
So, you are setting out to make pop music and, therefore, the success of the project will be judged on sales of CD’s, tickets and merchandise. Is this how you see it?
BLBL: Maybe in other people’s eyes, yes. It’s very obvious with pop music – people get slated if their song only gets to number 48, whereas if you are an indie band it’s a huge achievement. There is more pressure in terms of sales and wider success, but for me, playing gigs like the one at Koko in front of 1,300 people and they all danced, was amazing. Supporting Ellie Goulding, and I haven’t even released an album yet, means that the project is a success in terms of it being fun and we are getting to connect with loads of people. So, in the next year, with the album coming out, we can really attempt to get it to another level.
And you are also entering a medium of art which is prey to media intrusion. How would you feel about getting papped or having outrageous gossip written about you?
BLBL: I’m fully aware that it is likely to happen. People are desperate to write gossipy things about anyone with any degree of fame. Even at school people are searching for gossip about others. It’s the same principle over and over again. It’s funny in a way. You just have to be careful about who you talk to and what you say. It is an odd part of culture; that desperation to have all these photographs and follow people around to get them.
But surely a clever PR campaign would involve you appearing in ‘Heat’ magazine?
BLBL: Ha ha. I’d love so much to be in ‘Heat’. So, I’d best look after myself and not go to the supermarket in my tracksuit.
The Quietus article can be read here: http://thequietus.com/articles/05660-bright-light-bright-light-interview