Thomas Lang published a video on YouTube on 3 July 2020, recording a song called 'Onslaught' for the video game 'Final Fantasy'. While his playing in the video is incredible, you also see him reading from sheet music. To verify if our suspicions were correct, we asked the legendary drummer if he is playing one of the hardest jobs in music in that video: sight-reading while recording it all live in the studio.
A quick refresh on the game first: Final Fantasy is a fantasy role-playing video game that was first launched in 1987. Since its launch, there have been many remakes, sequels, spin-offs, and several series and movies have been made as well. According to Wikipedia, Final Fantasy is one of the highest-grossing video game franchises of all time, having grossed $10.9 billion in lifetime revenue up to 2020.
Back to Thomas, who is recording a track named 'Onslaught' in the video below. It immediately reminded us of the interview video articles and free drum lessons with Russ Miller we are publishing during this year's summer weeks. In these videos Russ talks about how hard the job Thomas is doing here actually is, and that only a few in the business are up for it. Thomas being one of them of course.
While everything that Thomas Lang plays is either highly impressive, too groovy tight and in the pocket, or just blowing everybody's mind, we asked him about this particular session and if he is actually sight-reading in the video there.
Thomas, was this 'Onslaught' recording a sight-reading studio job for you? Thomas: 'Yes, this video below for Final Fantasy was a real cold reading session.'
Phewww, so we had it right! It is such an impressive job you do in this video. Is that how most of the recordings for 'Final Fantasy' work? Thomas: 'Yes, most of the time these kinds of sessions are sight-reading gigs. But the type of preparation you get varies. Sometimes you get the charts via email a couple of days before the recording session. Then you have some time to go through them and make your personal notes. This happens probably 50% of the time.
The other 50% of the sessions are a little tougher. These are the cold reading sessions. This is when you get into the studio and they give you the charts on the spot. And that is your task for the day.
The video below is part of a session were we rehearsed each song several times and then did two or three live takes with a full orchestra. But yeah, this is a good example of a cold reading session.'
Thomas Lang recording Onslaught for Final Fantasy
Thomas Lang and 9 Beats USA Drum & Music School Days after the 2020 NAMM Show, Thomas gave us a tour on the building of the American headquarters of 9 Beats. Due to corona, building the drum and music school obviously got delayed. Thomas did a huge amount of construction himself, literally. He built and installed over 70 sound absorbers, and if you follow Thomas and 9 Beats USA on the socials, you can see they did an amazing job since we shot this video...