a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.
I love associating with talented people. But talent alone won’t make you successful. You need ambition. I seek out ambitious people to work with because ambition is infectious.
Nicole Russin-McFarland definitely has the “‘biSH”.
Tony Coke: Nicole, catch us up on your background. You’re from Illinois, yes? Have you always been into music?
Illinois in the USA! Not much happens there – and that is exactly why I feel I developed any skills I had better than had I grown up in London or another exciting, thriving place. The most you can do in Illinois is go to some museums, go to the state fair downstate in Springfield, or visit the lake. Or go shopping. We have some seriously world class shopping similar to Manhattan or Paris there in downtown Chicago. I have studied music since I was five years old. I am so glad my parents made me study it as well! Possibly the greatest gift you can give your child is knowledge.
Tony Coke: I know you have several projects going on, tell us about your latest musical endeavor.
My film score for our movie, The Eyes of Old Texas, currently on iTunes. I co-composed it with the very talented rocker and celebrity chef, Brian Tsao. Brian did an amazing job on the metal rock aspects. I worked all the classical music. Some songs are purely my work with orchestral sounds. Some are his. And the really, really unique work that’s so unusual and oh so good? The songs blending orchestral music with rock!
Tony Coke: So, not only are you working on a movie, you wrote the soundtrack and released that entirely on it’s own, before the movie was released?
We crafted a very unique and interesting soundtrack for a cartoon movie we are currently in the slow process of finishing. With animated films, most people overlook the sound. You’ll have the generic elements of someone being sad, so “Oh Mr. Director, hello! Why don’t we have the clarinet dip down two notes? And when we have them happy, we can do the violins in no real pattern making a bunch of noise that really sounds like the warmup for a live orchestra? The audience is too dumb to care about music!” I highly disagree with this method. A cartoon movie is a real movie and needs to be treated like one. Any movie, period, needs a precise theme. We have a theme throughout the movie which inspired the title of the movie. Our movie is based on “The Eyes of Texas” theme song from where I graduated, The University of Texas at Austin. This theme is so classic and awe inspiring to millions of people who know how famous my school is. The sports events all play it too – check out our many Olympic athletes who are, like me, UT Austin alumni. The song is so meaningful. So not using it in a story that I actually got the idea for years ago when I went to school there would be terrible. I had to work on that theme.
Tony Coke: It sounds like you identify very closely with the visual side of music and the emotions it helps create. Is that a path you’d like to continue on in the future?
I always work on writing down my themes so when the time comes, I can pull one out and have ideas ready, whether it’s for my future work or if someone wants to hire me. I definitely want to set myself up in the future to be animating movies regularly and composing the film scores for them. Animation is truly meaningful in my heart. I love it so much. Between any romantic comedy and animation, I’d rather go watch the latest Pixar or DreamWorks Animation film! And I really want to begin treating kids like smart people via my work, both as a film director and composer. Kids are little adults. I used to hate when I was so small how people would talk to me in a dumb voice and treat me like I didn’t know anything. I knew, as did other kids. We on the playground mocked their fake voice changes when they spoke to us. We knew everything. Children are worthy of good stories, funny jokes, silliness, and more from a grown-up’s movie. However, it’s not often done. And nor are strong film scores.
Tony Coke: I agree, I remember feeling that way as a kid also. So what is up next for you, what can we look forward to?
Wrapping up directing and animating this movie this year so it can be ready to hit the film festivals! In The Eyes of Old Texas, we have a whole plotline on the “disaster takes place in 2017!” We have to be ready for film festival audiences to have the movie in a timely manner. So we’re gonna hustle until this thing gets done and done beautifully!
Tony Coke: Great! Best of luck to you, let us know when it’s finished, I’m anxious to see it!