Interview: Miguel Mega

Dan McAvinchey: Miguel, what were some of the things that influenced your musical tastes and led to your picking up the guitar?

Miguel Mega: My stepfather is a great jazz guitar player, and ever since I was a little kid I used to hear his Brazillian jazz and world jazz records. I was introduced to
pop and rock by a friend that showed me some Queen, AC/DC, Police,
Michael Jackson and KISS records, among others, when I was 10 years old. I
was about to turn 11 when I saw a Queen show on TV, and that blew me away. In 1984 I heard the record that just changed my life: Yngwie J. Malmsteen`s
Rising Force. Since then I have been an instrumental music lover.

In 1990, heavily influenced by bands such as Deep Purple, Whitesnake, AC/DC and Van
Halen, I formed my first band called Last Joker and recorded my first record, simply called "Last Joker" for Metal Rock Records in 1992. In 1994, Last Joker
broke down and I went to California. In LA I took some recording engineering courses at the Music Box Studios in Hollywood and studied guitar with Jean Mark Belkadi and Joey
Tafolla. At that time I used to buy lots of CDs in a wide variety of music styles such as jazz, blues, country, funk, progressive, fusion and rock.

I came back to Brazil in 1997 and recorded my first CD "Miguel Mega" in an
analog 4 track home studio. In 1999, I released my second CD "Miguel Mega - Intuitive" . Recorded in my digital home studio this CD covers fusion territory, as does my third CD
release, "Miguel Mega - Coastline", recorded at the Playrec Studios in 2001. I also recorded Greg Howe's "Kick It All Over", Carlos Santana's "Let Me" and Joe Satriani's "Cryin'" for Progressive Arts Music tribute CDs.

My new release "G-Fire" is a compilation featuring myself alongside with top world wide players such as Vernon Neilly (Johnny "Guitar" Watson), Morris O'Connor (Stevie Wonder) and Kevin Chok`an (Diana Ross). "G-Fire" was produced by Vernon Neilly and released by Boosweet Records. My tunes are very Alan Holdsworth, Robben Ford, and Pepeu Gomes influenced, and Vernon's, Morris' and Kevin's tunes sound just amazing, Check it out!

Dan McAvinchey: Tell us a little bit about your guitars and amplification.

Miguel Mega: I have 5 electric guitars and an acoustic guitar. I got a Tagima Strat, a Fender Strat, a Fender Tele, a Music Man Axis, a 7-string Schecter and a Ramirez acoustic, but my main guitar is the Tagima Strat. My amplification is a Peavey Classic 50 (410) tweed combo, which sounds smooth and powerful, amazing! My new toy is an Ibanez Tube King pedal, I just love the warm tone of this unit!

Dan McAvinchey: What are you striving to achieve musically?

Miguel Mega: I am actually going deeper into the fusion field. I think this is the best word to describe my music because I really fuse all types of music into my
style such as jazz, blues, rock, Brazillian and Latin music, and a bit of
classical, funk and country. I would love to get to the point where I could
just play my music and tour, but I have been playing in Top 40 bands for more
than 10 years and I learned a lot playing all kinds of music. Now I just try
to come up with good stuff mixing all these diferent influences and styles.

Dan McAvinchey: What musical projects are you currently working on, and are you touring at all?

Miguel Mega: My new release "G-Fire" was released on July 16, 2003 by Boosweet Records. G-Fire is such a big project. There are great players like Vernon Neilly, Morris O`Connor, Kevin Chok`an and myself in a
compilation with 12 tunes. I am so proud to be a part of a project like this. The music is so diverse on "G-Fire" that you listen to the CD and when
it is over you feel like listening again.

Vernon Neilly came to Brazil in May of 2003 and we did a tour together. We
performed at 5 venues and the one at EM&T was recorded and filmed and this
material will be released in a CD/DVD format by Boosweet Records soon. I
also shot my two instructional videos - Playing Outside, Volume I and Volume
II. Both of them will be released in September 2003 by HMP and will be
avalable at my web site and at Cover Guitarra. I am also recording demos for my next CD and have a side project call Pornophonia that mixes electronic music with heavy guitars where I use my Schecter 7-string guitar a lot. Vernon Neilly will come to Brazil in September of 2003, and we will do a promotional tour for "G-Fire".

Dan McAvinchey: How do you compose your music?

Miguel Mega: Well it just happens, there are no rules. Sometimes I come up with some chord progressions, sometimes I come up with a melody line or a riff.
It's funny because sometimes I come up with an entire song in 5 minutes and
there are songs that take me 2 or 3 months to put together - but one thing I
always do is to record the ideas in my home studio, or if I am not at home I
write them down on a piece of paper.

Dan McAvinchey: Do you use commercial recording facilities exclusively, or do you record in a project studio as well?

Miguel Mega: I record all demos at my home studio but a great friend of mine, Alex Ciaglia, has a very nice studio where I record all of my stuff. "Coastline"
(my third cd release), all the tracks for the Progressive Arts Music tribute CDs and the tunes for "G-Fire" were recorded there and I will record my next CD at his studio too.

Dan McAvinchey: How did you decide to take the independent path into the music business?

Miguel Mega: When I got back to Brazil from California in '97 I realized that if I did not do everything by myself, nobody would do it, because the major record
companies just care about the mainstream. Back then Internet was getting
popular and I figured that I could make a lot of contacts because we can reach
the whole world through the net, so I decided to take the independent path into
the music business.

interview pic

Dan McAvinchey: What do you find to be the advantages and disadvantages of being an independent musician?

Miguel Mega: The biggest advantage is that you can record anything you want . You are in charge of your project so you are actually the President of your own little
record company . Another advantage is that as soon as you have your product
(CD) in hand you get 100% of the sales. The disadvantage is that if you
are doing everything by yourself you have a lot of work because you will be the
musician, producer, contact person, sales person, A&R, booking agent
and president of your "record company". In another words, you are always
busy and sometimes you would rather be at home practicing or composing
than being busy with some bureaucratic stuff, but in my opinion it is worth it,
because there are more advantages than disadvantages.

Dan McAvinchey: Can you share any marketing or promotion tips for musicians about to release their first independent record?

Miguel Mega: The first thing that you should care about for a CD release is the music. You have to trust in yourself as a musician and composer and try to come up with
interesting music and then find a nice studio to record it in, or you can record
at home if you have a nice home studio. As soon as you get the product in
hand (the CDs) you should research using the internet to figure out the target audience for your music, guitar related sites such as or, independent record companies (Boosweet Records or Progressive Arts Music), and online radio stations. Try to
set up shows where you could sell your records, or if you teach you can
try to send columns for print and online guitar magazines.Try also to set up
workshops at guitar stores and sell your CD at these guitar places too.

Important tip : Even if you are the new Yngwie Malmsteen or Eddie Van Halen, do not expect that people will buy your first 1000 CD copies. So if you press 1000 copies for the first time you should consider sending 250 to 300 of your CDs to the places I mentioned above but do not expect too much and maybe someday luck will knock on your door or at your email box! Well I hope everybody enjoyed my interview and I would like to invite you to check out my new release: "G-Fire"

interview picture
Brazilian guitarist Miguel Mega is currently making his mark as an independent in the current instrumental guitar music market. He has released three solo albums, including his latest fusion effort, "Coastline", and he has recently contributed three tracks to the Boosweet Records compilation CD "G-Fire" (Guitarists On Fire). Mega has written instructional columns for several print and online guitar publications around the world, and plans to continue playing and recording for a long time to come.

Dan McAvinchey tracked down Mega and asked him about his influences, his recording methods and his ideas for making 'noise' in the music business.