DJ Times Nexus Radio Episode 003: Mixed by Bright Light Bright Light

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It’s hard to pin Bright Light Bright Light into one role. After early musical dabbles with folk music, Rod Thomas drew inspiration from a classic Gremlins scene for his new stage name, hoping to channel his early influences from 80s house and electropop for a new artistic identity. Now mixing his singer-songwriter roots with dancefloor-ready production, Thomas continues to DJ in addition to his packed live show schedule.

On the heels of 2012 album Make Me Believe in Hope, His new album Life Is Easy is due out July 7 and is lead by singles “I Believe” and the Elton John collaboration “I Wish We Were Leaving.”

For his DJ Times Nexus Radio guest mix, Rod Thomas drops a retro-tinged palate of diva house and disco, complete with appearances from Donna Summer, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson. His predilection for unorthodox mashups makes an appearance, including the hypersexual piano house of his bootleg pitting the vocal from Kylie Minogue’s 2003 “Slow” with Alison Limerick’s “Where Love Lives” in addition to a crushing remix of Gesaffelstein’s “Trans” alongside the Montell Jordan staple “This Is How We Do It.” The tracklist is available here.

Listen to Bright Light Bright Light’s “Pride And Shame” mix and read our chat with him below.

DJ Times: What artists or releases were particularly influential on your decision to pursue music?
Rod Thomas: People like Kate Bush, David Bowie, Erasure, Elton John, and Depeche Mode. People who shape-shifted quite a lot, but always had a really strong identity. You could always tell it was them, but with each record they were drawing influences from different places.

DJ Times:Why did you change to the stage name Bright Light Bright Light?
Thomas: First, people tend to think initially a regular name is a singer-songwriter; just a lazy assumption. You think it’s going to be a guy on a guitar who’s like Jack Johnson, which is not what I wanted to do because I DJ, and I remix, and I produce. I wanted a moniker that—if you see the name—would tie everything together and with a name that would give you an idea of what the production would sound like.

DJ Times: Your first releases under Rod Thomas were primarily folk-based. Why the transition to a dance-influenced sound?
Thomas: At that time, I was working within my means. When I started, I didn’t have much money or equipment. As I went along, I invested more in different production tools and had more things available to make the music I wanted to make.

DJ Times: When did you begin DJing?
Thomas: 2008. There’s this party in London called Sink The Pink. It’s just a big gay party for everyone and their friends. It’s one of the biggest queer alternative nights in London now; it’s very fun and pop-focused and I love pop music. This was when I was still releasing music under my own name, so I thought DJing was a good outlet to show people that I like having fun and not just making sad music. So I started doing that and got better at it, and then set up my own 90s club night in London with my friend. As I did that, I started DJing a couple festivals and people started hearing some of the mixes I’d done so it grew from there.

DJ Times: What’s the average Bright Light Bright Light DJ set like?
Thomas: It’s usually quite high energy: there’s piano house, 90s cuts and some modern stuff that references them. There’s usually a hefty whack of diva house vocals and a big R&B ballad moment like En Vogue or Toni Braxton. I try to make it into a bit of a story by linking together songs that have similar themes.