Interview: Miguel Nicolau of Memória de Peixe


Fall has finally arrived with its crispy cool mornings and evenings. Schools are in full swing and the new semester has begun. To reminiscent a bit, I was re-connected with an old music obsession. In college, various tunes were thrown in my lap on a regular basis. Thanks to our campus radio station always giving away free CDs, my collection grew quite quickly with much diversity. Through countless recommendations on my iTunes library from these growing collections came the band Memória de Peixe. The band, whose name translates to “fish memory,” is made up of Portuguese musicians Miguel Nicolau (guitar) and Marco Franco (drums). With a desire to learn more about their music, Miguel took some time in Lisbon to answer my Skype Call.

Both Miguel and Marco kind of came out of nowhere and have since had a specific niche that they fit. I was curious to hear how it all started. “It all began with me trying to do music with a music pedal that evolved into a need for creating music that wasn’t so progressive. I wanted to create something with different parts in loops. As it got technical it turned into getting with friends and laying down some tracks. We liked it and started to jam, do some gigs and then decided to start an album.”

I love hearing about the changes that occur for musicians as they explore their craft. Miguel gave me a glimpse of how it all goes. “Its very simple in our case. Only after we thrived did we realize our songs were evolving. We started to give our songs more structure. The need to write a song became a little more open in the process. Our first album was something without stories that were defined; they just were what they are. Since we do not have lyrics, that theme is not so sharp but it can still be done with instrumental music. In the first album we had some concepts but ideas were not developed.” Their first album, self-titled Memória de Peixe, is a perfect mix of funk, jazz and danceable tunes that help listeners day dream in the process. Although there may not be an obvious story within each song, I think the listening opens doors to new worlds. “Our second album soon to be released will have stories that goes into the music. Those kinds of restraints caused our music to change a bit.” That will be a new avenue for them to explore.

On that note of their new album, I was eager to learn about what possible subjects were to lie inside it. “We are inspired by the show Cosmos, science fiction, fantasy and video games; where you can play and follow a story. The themes in our second album we are preparing this conceptually and trying to show it in a classic way. Even the album artwork will be able to present all these stories in a map for fans to search the music in the world. Cosmos opened a lot of themes and concepts for this. Also, the music of the 70s was inspired by space exploration that inspired us as well. It is not about just this, it is more of what is next in the future, but what our reality can be now that it is open.” Now, that is some deep stuff right there and I have a feeling we will not understand it until that album is released.

With that new album in the works, Miguel remains excited to get out there again. “We love play to play, that is where it all happens. You can do something in real time. We have no agenda yet because we are a small band and do not have the conditions to do this easily. We may have a chance to play abroad just like we did for our first album.” Lets make sure NYC is their first stop!

To end, I asked what they do in their free time. “We listen to a lot of music and try to see a lot of a music. We don’t do anything but our music. We like to dabble our music with our culture sometimes. I do some directing and do some work for TV. [Due to that], I am always thinking about videos and things that may work. We try to always surround ourselves with creativity.” There you have it, artists in good form. Memória de Peixe are gentlemen to keep an eye out for as their music will be sure to spice things up a bit soon. I love their stuff and strongly encourage you all to enjoy it too!


Jam On.