We had the good fortune of connecting with Nolan Markey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nolan, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I stopped trying so hard to impress other people. It took me a while to come to the conclusion that constantly trying to impress everyone is completely futile, and it’s contradictory to who I am as a person. I’m extremely laid back. Now that I think of it, there are people that I’ve been working with for ~5 years who have probably never seen me wear shoes. Once I started embracing that – working for my own satisfaction and sticking to the more relaxed approach that’s guided me through life – my career really started taking off. Realizing that my personality and this career aren’t mutually exclusive was a huge step forward for me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It can sometimes be difficult to talk about projects that I’m proud of without feeling like a braggart! I’m very proud of the music I got to write for the last season of The Clone Wars – that encapsulated a long journey for with both personally and working for Kevin as an orchestrator. Getting to really dig into the Star Wars universe was a dream come true! I’m also incredibly proud of the main menu theme I recently wrote for “Cosmic Frontier: Override”. It’s a reboot of a cult classic shovelware game from the 90s called “Escape Velocity: Override”. EV:O was avtually the first video game I ever played in my life, and getting to work on the remake was surreal. I can trace everything I’m doing now back to a couple of friendships and relationships from college and very early in my career. I can’t say it was easy, but I try not to overthink things. Everything boils down to doing a great job on your current project. If you nail it, whoever you’re collaborating with will want to work with you again, and they’ll probably recommend you to their friends. Keep at that for long enough, and you’ve got a career. The most important lesson I’ve learned is to be consistent. Being able to deliver on time, 100% of the time is what separates those who are able to make it from those who don’t (but that’s just my anecdotal opinion). If there’s one thing I’d want to share, it’s that you don’t need rich parents or a degree from a private school to make it in music, film, or games. There’s a quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger that encapsulates how I feel about carving out a career in music: “A well-built physique (career as a composer) is a status symbol. It reflects you worked hard for it; no money can buy it. You cannot borrow it, you cannot inherit it, you cannot steal it. You cannot hold onto it without constant work. It shows discipline, it shows self-respect, it shows patience, work ethic, and passion. That is why I do what I do.”
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I actually did this recently! I’m an Orange County native, so my go-to is usually a hike in Santiago/Silverado/Modjeska Canyon. Follow that up with some incredible food (any hot pot place in Irvine, Harley in Laguna Beach, or Taco Adobe/Lanta Thai in Orange) and you’ve got a killer day 1. The rest depends on the person!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
That would be a LONG list of people! I owe an incredible amount to Kevin Kiner, who brought me on to Star Wars: Rebels as an orchestrator when I was fresh out of college. That kickstarted the front end of my career and really allowed me to find my niche as an orchestrator. I still work with his team (as both an orchestrator and a writer) and try to show the gratitude through the quality of my work. I also want to give a shout out to Neal Acree. Neal’s an incredible composer that I’ve been honored to work with/for – but more importantly, he’s a close friend who’s seen me through a lot of highs and lows both personally and professionally.
Taffy Hui Neal Acree Amanda Hoskinson