BLBL

Courtesy of the BLBL flickr stream

Bright Light Bright Light aka Rod Thomas recently asked permission to use the popolio pic-olio of his SXSW Showcase that  I shot and featured  back in March.  Permission is required and the due credit is appreciated.  Check out our original Rod Thomas (it was before the name change) pic-olio here and the BLBL flickr stream here.  Our pics start here.  Shout out to BLBL and his peeps for reaching out.

Other BLBL popolio stuff:

blbl

Rod Thomas was one of  the SXSW Artists that we featured in a popolio pop quiz here and sxsw show pic-olio here.  Last month he announced a name change from Rod Thomas to Bright Light Bright Light.

Get a taste of the BLBL sound with “A New Word To Say” before reading our 10Q interview with the Artist Formerly Known as Rod Thomas about his new status quo.

* * *

1. So, why the change of name from Rod Thomas to Bright Light Bright Light? The last year or so I’ve been working hard on my production skills and live set and it’s much more layered and textured, with some shimmering synth parts weaving between more organic sounds.  I DJ and remix a lot, too, so the name change reflects the more rounded nature I guess. 

I think if you have a “firstname” “surname” identity, people often presume you’re an acoustic act, which is not what I am.  Also having a pseudonym means you can have a bit more fun, too, with the detachment from your own personal life I think.

2.  Does this mean we have to refer to you as the Artist Formerly Known as Rod Thomas? YES.   (haha, no not at all!)

3. Is this partly because there’s already a Rob Thomas out there? For publishers/labels I suppose yes.  Especially stateside.  Everyone was aware of him in the UK, but in the US he’s a multi-million selling artist, so that’s a bit of a problem.  That’s not the reason for it, but it sidesteps it.

4. Since the name is a Gremlins reference, what other 80s movies do you love and why? I absolutely love Mannequin, Gremlins 1 & 2, Splash, The Breakfast Club, Back To The Future … God there are SO MANY amazingly nostalgic/well-soundtracked films from the 80s!  Such an era for an equal number of duds and TOTAL classics.

5. And if the reference is lost on folks is that okay?  Yeah of course.  It just came into my head straight away.   It’s not DELIBERATELY a reference of Gremlins as in that I wanted to connect my music to it, so there’s no requirement for people to notice it.

6. Does this mean there will be an 80s vibe to your [new] work? For certain songs maybe.  Like I worked on “A New Word To Say” and “Disco Moment” with Boom Bip who’s famed for 80s project Neon Neon, so there’s obviously some 80s references.  But, it spans 90s references.  There are some real campfire folk influences in the album and some disco/Motown strands weaved in, too.  But, I guess, yes, there are 80s vibes in terms of strong melodies/big beats.

7. Sonically, how is Bright Light Bright Light different from Rod Thomas?  In other ways?  I don’t think Bright Light Bright Light is intended as a severing point, but it’s definitely less soft than Rod Thomas, mainly for the reasons above. 

It allows me to be seen less as a vulnerable man on his own with his songs and more as a body of music, I guess.  A collection of sounds and ideas.  I guess “he’s” shinier, more intertextual, maybe more experimental.  Even though Rod Thomas was doing that, just nobody really paid attention 😉

8. Are there any remnants of Rod Thomas left?  Some people liked him and his sound.  He did have fans, you know.  Yes, a lot is left.  The live set incorporated a lot of Bright Light Bright Light. The name stems from the sounds I create live.  Plus material-wise, I still use “Your Love Is A Tease,” “You Get Goodbyes,” and “Debris” from the Rod Thomas catalogue.   I’m glad he had fans, I’ll let him know!

9. Well, the level of success of name changes in the music industry is debatable.  Please share your thoughts on the following —

 • Prince to The Artist/The Artist Formerly Known as Prince/that Symbol and back to Prince again Kind of ridiculous, but also very interesting.  The idea of not having a recognisable name is really something quite bizarre, but intriguing.  Especially as it suggests hearing the music without attributing it to a personalit while also suggesting a personality so large it doesn’t require a specific name.

• Puff Daddy to P. Diddy to Diddy Totally pointless.

10. What shiny and new things (couldn’t resist) can fans look forward to in the future? The future brings lots of exciting stuff.  I worked with Boom Bip on two tracks I’m so very happy with and I worked with a guy called Andy Chatterley (KanYe West/Pussycat Dolls/Underworld/Unkle) on a track.  I’ve been re-working the live set for a band and have 2 weeks in New York at the end of July/beginning of August.  I’ll be writing with my friend James Yuill, and gigging a lot as well as releasing the first bit of BLBL material, too.  So, very busy, but hopefully very fun!

waynaNow, I don’t know that I’d normally report on something like this on popolio, but I’ve been covering Wayna as part of our special SXSW coverage here at popolio for the last few weeks and this did happen in Texas.  The 2009 Grammy Nominee graced us with a pop quiz a few weeks ago and I just posted a Wayna sxsw show pic-olio yesterday.

She was arrested on Wednesday, March 25, 2009,  at a Houston airport for being in possession of a police billy club.  Apparently, there was a mix-up with her bags.  Ironically, she uses this as a prop during her performance of her anti-police brutality number, “Billy Club.”  The irony being that she was arrested, not that the police were violent.  Hopefully, they treated her with respect. 

I can attest to the use of the billy club as a prop as I saw her SXSW show last Wednesday (hence, the pic-olio).  None of the pics I shared were of that number, so they don’t include the billy club.  Most importantly, the charges were dropped.  A Houston judge dismissed the charges.  We wish her the best coming out of this situation.

Read the Associated Press article here.

wayna

Based in Maryland, Wayna is a 2009 Grammy Nominee (Yes, a Grammy Nominee!) who is blazing trails with her indie R&B.  She was in the Best Urban/Alternative Performance Category, which tells you she’s anything but traditional.  Though Chrisette Michelle’s “Be OK” featuring will.i.am was chosen over her song “Lovin You (Music)” featuring Kokayi,  it’s all about the nomination in popolio’s book.  She’s popolio’s  first Grammy-nominated pop quiz artist.*  From the Grammys to SXSW, her show is next Wednesday, March 18, 2009, at The Mohawk Patio (912 Red River Street) at 1o:00 PM.  She’s part of the urban bill there that includes our first SXSW popolio pop quiz artist this week, Kendra Ross.  More info at the SXSW site here.

March 13, 2009

Name:   Wayna
Genre:   R&B/Soul/Hip Hop/Singer-Songwriter
Latest Release:  Higher Ground
Release Date:   April 15, 2008

This, That, or the Other
1. Underground OR Mainstream? Mainstream
2. Maintain Artistic Integrity and Vision OR Make a lot of Money? (or both)??? Both, but if I have to lean toward one, it would be Integrity/Vision.
3. Studio or Stage? Stage, I love vibing off the band and the audience.  Anything can happen at any moment.
4. Spirituality OR Hedonism? Spirituality, it is at the heart of everything.
5. Make Love, Have Sex, OR %$*!? All of the above, but with the man I love.

Fill in the Blank
6. Music is my escape, my best mode of communication, and the boyfriend with whom I have a slightly obsessive relationship.
7. I’m musically inspired by a story that needs to be told.
8. My favorite old school joint is “Yesterday” by The Beatles.
9. If I was a super hero I’d be The Bionic Woman with Wonder Woman’s jet and jewelry.
10. Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll should change to Truth, Wine, and Live Instruments.

Short Answer
11. I make music because:  It is the only job I would do for free.
12. I want my fans to:  Feel inspired and to keep inspiring me.
13. If I could share one thing about myself it would be:  Nothing motivates me more than being underestimated.
14. Wild Card!  My ideal vacation is laying on a quiet beach with a mimosa and good book.
15. I want my musical legacy to be:  Making a catalogue that is appreciated many years to come and that really captured what people of my time were thinking and feeling.

hg

 

 Enjoy the track, “Daydream,” from Higher Ground.  Check out Wayna’s MySpace Page.

 Wayna’s favorite old school joint!

Editor’s Note:  Though officially our first EVER featured Grammy Artist was Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, though posthumously.  I interviewed her brother, Ron Lopes, for a popolio podcast regarding her first posthumous release, Eye Legacy.  TLC is a four-time Grammy-winning group.  You can find that popolio podcast interview posted in January 2009 here.

 

cb

NYC artist Clarence Bucaro just released his latest album last Tuesday, March 3, 2009.  It’s a collection that the New York Times hails as, “Warm songs that hark back to late seventies Van Morisson.”  With a new breakthrough release on his hands, he’s playing SXSW next week.  His show is next Saturday, March 21, 2009, at Aces Lounge (222 East 6th Street) at 9:00 PM.  More info at the SXSW site here.  Check the Texas connection with his answer to Number 8.

March 12, 2009

Name:  Clarence Bucaro
Genre:  Pop/Roots
Latest Release:  ‘Til Spring (2020 Records)
Release Date:  March 3, 2009

This, That, or the Other
1. Underground OR Mainstream? Mainstream
2. Maintain Artistic Integrity and Vision OR Make a lot of Money? (or both)??? Maintain Artistic Integrity and Vision
3. Studio or Stage? Stage
4. Spirituality OR Hedonism? Spirituality
5. Make Love, Have Sex, OR %$*!? Make Whoopee!

Fill in the Blank
6. Music is my outlet.
7. I’m musically inspired by people who bare all.  And Bob Dylan.
8. My favorite old school joint is “It’s All In Your Mind” by  Jack Teagarden.
9. If I was a super hero I’d be Took online test.  Spider-Man!
10. Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll should change to Words, Integrity, and Musical Instruments!

Short Answer
11. I make music because:  I have no choice, I always felt born to do so.
12. I want my fans to:  Be all ages.
13. If I could share one thing about myself it would be:  That I own a pair of Uggs and after a year and a half of struggling with that fact, have finally turned my shame to pride.
14. Wild Card!  Art will have a major resurgence in the next 10 years.
15. I want my musical legacy to be:  Somebody’s inspiration.

ts

 

Enjoy the track, “‘Til A Spring Wind Blows Again,” from ‘Til Spring.  Check out his official site for more.

Clarence Bucaro’s favorite old school joint!


Editor’s Note:  Another challenging old school joint selection from one of this week’s SXSW [popolio pop quiz] Artists.  The first being from Kendra Ross.   I could not find a video for “It’s All In Your Mind.”  You get “Basin Street Blues” and “That’s A Plenty,” instead!

rt1

Rod Thomas, an independent artist from the UK, wanted to get to SXSW so badly that he played a benefit concert in his native country to help.  Now, that’s some ground-rootsiness that I can respect.  He recently released what he calls a “mini-album” last Monday, March 2, 2009.  I think it’s what we refer to as an EP here in the States.   He can call it whatever he wants.  He plays the 18th Floor at Hilton Garden Inn (500 North Interstate Highway 35) next Wednesday, March 18, 2008, at 11:00 PM.   Check the SXSW site here for more 411.

March 11, 2009

Name:   Rod Thomas
Genre:   Folk/Pop
Latest Release:   Until Something Fits Mini-Album (Self-Released through Self Raising Records)
Release Date:  March 2, 2009

This, That, or the Other
1. Underground OR Mainstream? Underground
2. Maintain Artistic Integrity and Vision OR Make a lot of Money? (or both)??? Maintain Artistic Integrity and Vision
3. Studio or Stage? Stage
4. Spirituality OR Hedonism? Hedonism
5. Make Love, Have Sex, OR %$*!? Make Love

Fill in the Blank
6. Music is my favourite vice.
7. I’m musically inspired by everyone I meet.
8. My favorite old school joint is “All That She Wants” by Ace of Base.
9. If I was a super hero I’d be utterly useless.
10. Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll should change to Cake, Wine, and 80s films.

Short Answer
11. I make music because:  There is very rarely silence in my head so it has to go somewhere!
12. I want my fans to:  Fall in love with my songs as much as I’ve fallen in love with other people’s.
13. If I could share one thing about myself it would be:  I love every minute of what I do.
14. Wild Card!  I always arrive places too early.  And I know every word to every song on Ace of Base’s debut album.
15. I want my musical legacy to be:  That I made some great tunes that will long outlive me.

usf

 

Enjoy the track, “Same Old Lines,” from Until Something Fits and check out his MySpace Page.

Rod Thomas’ favorite old school joint!

twb1

The Wong Boys are a duo that hails from Denmark  and that will be playing SXSW.  This pop quiz represents one-half of the duo — Frank Ziyanak.  Their SXSW show is next Wednesday, March 18, 2009, at Barcelona (209 East 6th Street) at midnight (12:00 AM).  More 411 at  the SXSW site here.  According to this story they’ve recently signed to a new label and their first single drops today.  How’s that for synchronicity?

March 10, 2009

Name:  Frank Ziyanak [The Wong Boys Singer/Guitarist/Songwriter]
Genre:  Club Rock
Latest Release:  The Wong Boys (Hi Strung Records DK/Sony DK/Tremendous CA/Last Gang CA)
Release Date:  2008

This, That, or the Other
1. Underground OR Mainstream? Don’t matter
2. Maintain Artistic Integrity and Vision OR Make a lot of Money? (or both)??? Got bills to pay & audiences to slay
3. Studio or Stage? Studio — don’t get the stage part…
4. Spirituality OR Hedonism? What does it all mean…
5. Make Love, Have Sex, OR %$*!? Make beautiful children

Fill in the Blank
6. Music is my meal ticket & that’s something you don’t understand.
7. I’m musically inspired by Suicide, Ramones, Velvets, Stooges, Heartbreakers.
8. My favorite old school joint is “Twilight Zone” by 2 Unlimited.
9. If I was a super hero I’d be robbing banks.
10. Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll should change to Blondes, Brunettes, and Redheads.

Short Answer
11. I make music because:  It makes me feel like Bono.
12. I want my fans to:  Do as they are told.
13. If I could share one thing about myself it would be:  I’m a very private person.
14. Wild Card!  No Answer/Left Blank
15. I want my musical legacy to be:  Vast.

twb24

 

Enjoy the track, “T.F.D.”  Check out their MySpace Page

 

  Frank Ziyanak’s favorite old school joint!

kr

Kendra Ross, who resides in Brooklyn, is a new R&B star on the horizon.  Her debut album was released in 2007 and she is still touring behind it.  Though fairly new on her path as a solo artist, she’s no ingenue to the hip hop/R&B game having previously worked with some known talents such as Talib Kweli, Kanye West, and Faith Evans.  Her next stop is SXSW next Wednesday, March 18, 2009, at The Mohawk Patio (912 Red River Street) at 9:00 PM.  Check the SXSW site here for more 411.  And check her answer to Number 14.  Welcome to Austin, Kendra!

March 9, 2009

Name:   Kendra Ross
Genre:   R&B/Soul/Jazz
Latest Release:  New Voice (Self-Released)
Release Date:   July 10, 2007

This, That, or the Other
1. Underground OR Mainstream? Underground
2. Maintain Artistic Integrity and Vision OR Make a lot of Money? (or both)??? BOTH! 🙂
3. Studio or Stage? STAGE!
4. Spirituality OR Hedonism? We like a balance between the sacred and the profane but SPIRITUALITY!
5. Make Love, Have Sex, OR %$*!? I’m a girlie girl so let’s go with the first one!

Fill in the Blank
6. Music is my husband.
7. I’m musically inspired by everyday life…
8. My favorite old school joint is 4fun!:  “Turn Off The Lights” by The World Class Wreckin’ Cru (which included a fancier, prettier Dr. Dre!).
9. If I was a super hero I’d be Wonder Woman.
10. Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll should change to Yoga, Acai, and Live Instruments.

Short Answer
11. I make music because:  Every time I write a new song, I learn more about myself.  If it is a good one, every time I sing it I get something different out of it.  And it’s fun!
12. I want my fans to:  Grow with me.  Also, to remember the first time they ever bought a piece of music and think about how that made them feel…then put my record on. 🙂
13. If I could share one thing about myself it would be:  I’ve got sooooooooo much more music inside of me that I feel like my head is going to explode…so…STAY TUNED….
14. Wild Card I can’t wait to get to Austin and do my show!  I’ve wanted to come to SXSW for 4ever! 🙂
15. I want my musical legacy to be:  She meant every word she sang, got better and better at her craft, and really went for it on stage.
nv
Enjoy the track, “I’m So Okay,” from her debut album New Voice.  Go to her official site for more.

 Kendra Ross’ favorite old school joint!

Editor’s Note:  Kendra Ross chose a challenging old school joint.  I couldn’t find anything official out there in the way of a music video.  Maybe, there wasn’t one.  So, this was the best option.