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Thomas Lang: 5 Minutes

Your Name: Thomas Lang

Hometown: Vienna/Austria

Current Residence: Los Angeles

Current Project you are working on (artist/tour/recording/video etc): Gianna Nannini, The Storks, Within The Void, The Lure, Insomnia…..Etc

Currently in my CD player (or ipod, etc): Tool, Foo Fighters, Robyn, Herbie Hancock, Roisin Murphy.

Favorite way to relax: read, sleep

When and why did you start playing? I started at the age of five. I saw a drummer on tv and i wanted to try it myself. As soon as i heard live drums from up close i was hooked.

Do you come from a musical family? Was this an influence in your early playing or instrument choice? My family is musical but only on a semi-professional level. They sent my brother, sister and me to flute and piano lessons at a very young age. I started drums at the same time i started piano. My partens both sang in choirs and my mother played piano at the time. There was a lot of classical music played in our house and of course it had a big influence on my early musical develpoment.

Who was your first teacher? What other teachers were influential to you? My first teacher was a gentleman named Johann Hengst. He was a classical percussionist with the vienna symphonic orchestra. No other teachers were as influential on my playing.

Describe your first drum kit. A concorde (sonor) silver sparkle kit. 20 kick, 12, 13, toms, 16 floor, 14×5 snare. I played just snare drum for 2 years before i was given a cymbal, then after another six months a bassdrum for christmas, then the toms a year later etc. It was torture but also really exciting.

Do you remember your first gig? Can you describe it? I played bongos with my mother’s choir. My fee was one pair of drumsticks.

What was your fondest musical memory? Listening to my mother sing.

What was your LEAST fond musical memory? I have none!

What was your ODDEST musical experience? Playing Turkish folk/rock/jazz with a Turkish singer. For me it just didn’t gel and I felt completely out of place. I had the wrong equipment and creatively and artistically i didn’t understand the music at all. It just seemed odd and weird to me.

Were you influenced by old or classic recordings? Which ones? Do you still refer to them today?

I listened to Mozart, Strawinsky, Dvorak, Beethoven, Chopin and Debussy a lot when i grew up. I still love classical music and I listen to it to unwind and find inspiration.

Which musicians do you admire? Why? I admire all the classical composers I mentioned above (and many more) as well as all creative players and progressive/innovatione musicians and composers like Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, John Coltrane, Django Reinhart etc.

Who are your favorite musicians of today? Groups? Recordings? I like all musicians. I like the Foo Fighters, Ac/Dc, The Police, Zappa, Nine Inch Nails, Rammstein, Tool, Porcupine Tree, Sikth, Etc.

What inspires you today? Music, art, film, etc? I find other musicians inspiring, but i think i get most inspired everytime i take a break from working and playing. I find not playing often more inspiring and refreshing than working on things under pressure and with aggression.

Do you get still get nervous before a performance? If so – how do you cope with those feelings? If not – what have you done to control them? I never got nervous before a show, and I still don’t. I have never felt that feeling at all. I am always looking forward to playing and i can’t imagine that feeling. It seems very strange to me and i sometimes wish i could experience it. I sometimes get nervous about producing and about writing with people, but never about playing.

What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous? Just try to enjoy yourself. Have fun, don’t take it too seriously, it’s only music!

Do you still practice? If so, how often and for how long – and what material do you work on? I don’t, but i wish I could. I have no time for praciticing right now. I used to play for 4 hours minimum every day, working exclusively on new ideas and concepts, never “running through the motions”, unless it was technical practice. For technique i turned the tv on and played the same exercise for hours and hours, always pushing my limits a little bit.

Do you play instruments other than drums? If so – what, and do you feel its helped you develop as a drummer or musician? I play bass, a little bit of guitar and piano. I think it’s often more imortant than my drumming for my life as a musician. It has helped and inspired me immensely and i couldn’t imagine a life without it. I wouldn’t feel complete as a musician if i didn’t play other instruments as well. It gives me great pleasure and a good balance. I write and produce a lot and without the bass or piano i would get bored of the drums. It really helps me to develop as a musician in general and that includes the drummer in me.

If you could give one piece of advice to an up and coming drummer, what would it be? Be in time and on time all the time, ….and have a good time!

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