Written by Jd Banks
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of American voice actors in the anime industry. Some are swept underneath the rug, confined to the realm of voice acting—or so choose to be—while others climb the ladder, moving on and achieving success in Hollywood or on Broadway. One talented voice actor has seen it all. Despite the fact that his voice acting career has covered roles in anime, video games, and American cartoons, Lex Lang wasn’t always the tenor of these characters. In this exclusive Anime3000 interview, Lang comes clean about his bottle water company, his band, and the time he was shocked—literally—during his first voice acting experience.
A3K: For me personally, I recognize you as the incredible voice behind Sagara Sanosuke in Rurouni Kenshin. Are there other anime series that people recognize your name from?
Naruto -Hayate, Teuchi, Jigumo
Saiyuki Reload - Sanzo
Rurouni Kenshin - Sanosuke Sagara , Iwambo
Bleach - Marechiyo Omeada
Dot Hack - Crim, Moonstone, Fidell
Lupin the Third - Goemon
Blue Dragon - Blue Dragon
Gundam MS008 - Gineus
Heat Guy J - Jovanni (Giobanni), Shun
Ai Yori Aoshi - Suzuki
Scryed - Kimishima
Mahoro Matic - Slash, Daimon
Ex-Driver - Cain Tokioka, P.A.
Ghost in the Shell - Dread, Pilot 2, Police Radio
Gun Grave - Bunji, Nathan, Ladd
Apocolypse Zero - Kakugo, Zero
Scrapped Princess - Galil
Gestalt - Father Olivier and Gestalt
Stellvia - Syoujin
Witch Hunter Robin - Nagira
Ys -Dark Factor (Fact)
Samurai Champloo - Shoryu, Xavier III
Twelve Kingdoms - The King of En
Fist of the North Star (26 Episodes) - Ken / Fist of the North Star
Magic Knight Rayearth - Zagato, Lantis, Rune Gods, Windam and Rayearth
Hello Kitty - Hero and Magician
Mirage of Blaze - Chiaki, Sanjo (Ghost)
Digimon - Cyberdramon, War Greymon and many more...
Captain Herlock - Captain Herlock
New Getter Robo - Ryoma
Tenjo Tenge - Imshimatsu
What was your first experience in anime voice acting?
My first experience was playing the role of Hayashi and Matzusaka in Ninja Cadets. It was in this guy’s house. The “studio” had a slanted ceiling, and you had to crouch down so you didn’t hit your head. The director, sound engineer, and producer were in the next room. I remember touching a metal pole near the ceiling and getting shocked. Looking back, it was pretty funny—not anything like the studios that we work in today. I've only encountered that kind of set-up maybe twice in my career.
From your list of career ventures as director, voice actor, actor, producer, and philanthropist, what has been your favorite and why?
As a director, I get to oversee a project's voiceover cast. I get to interpret the subtle acting choices my cast makes—especially for games—and I get to see the project come to life. That definitely has its rewards. Acting is always fun because I can play a wide variety of roles that I couldn't otherwise play on camera. But my favorite has been taking literal dreams I had and making them into reality—I've done that a couple of times. First, acting was always a dream of mine. But more recently, I had a powerful dream about water. Bottled water. I woke up and saw a banner hanging in front of me that said, “H2Om: Water With Intention”. Three years later, I have my own bottled water company. (see below for a link to H2Om, Lang’s water company)
Being involved in so many ventures, was there anyone in your life who has especially helped achieve your goals?
My wife and best friend, Sandy Fox, has been my muse. She has been my workmate and partner in many of the projects I have been a part of. I couldn't have done it without her.
During your career, has there been any celebrity whom you were so star-struck to meet that you didn't know how to react?
Paul McCartney. Why? Because it’s Paul McCartney!
Easy question now: what is your favorite anime to watch?
Lupin the Third and Cowboy Bebop.
Your band is called “LeXLang”. Which genre of music do you play? Do you write and produce all of the songs?
We play rock and roll with a bluesy, classic rock feel. I write most of the music myself, but when we play live, the musicians bring their own talent to make my songs even better!
What is your best advice for an amateur voice actor looking to become a professional?
Voice acting, like any career, is a long journey. In Los Angeles, there are hundreds—if not thousands—of super-talented voice actors that have incredible voices. If you feel that you either have the ability to do many types of voices or that your voice has a specific quality that makes it commercially appealing, then I say follow your dreams—actually, you should always follow your dreams.
As far as voiceovers goes, depending on what you want to do—commercial or animation—there are a number of ways to go. First, find the voices you do particularly well and make a demo tape. Your local drama publication should help you find where to make a tape, but you may already know someone who has a recording program on their computer (that's what I did; thank you, Pro Tools). Then get try to a voiceover agent by submitting your tape for review, and then audition, audition, audition, audition! There are many classes out there that will teach you how to do it all: tapes, agents, you name it.
After that, it is a mixture of luck and talent. If you have a little of each, you should do fine. And of course, internet is always good source of information on voice acting and classes. For starters, look up "breaking into the business + voice acting” on MetaCrawler.
You can find Lex Lang on his official website, www.lexlang.com. You can also check out his water company over at www.h2omwater.com.