Interview: Mika Tyyska

Roo Chapus: One year has passed since the release of "In Motion". Can you sum up your highlights of 2012-2013. Beyond the music and artistic side, what were the goals with "In Motion", and did you reach them?

Mika Tyyska: Getting "In Motion" released was one of the highlights. I took two years to put it together. Around the release we did some exciting collaborations with the Hughes & Kettner amplifier company, Frankfurt Messe live demos and YouTube videos. Then I was invited to the amazing company Jam Track Central. The guys at Jam Track Central have been incredible supportive. I'm excited about the two packages I've done with them so far.

The first package was sort of remixed and reinvented versions of "In Motion" songs. More jamming and one lead guitar in front approach. The second package was based on mode themes, completely new compositions that I'm very proud of. I'll probably re-visit some of these song ideas for later music releases. Also, I was honored to do some fine jam videos for too, it's a great site for improvised jam videos. Good bunch of guys there as well! Also working with Roo and Mad Guitar Records has surely been good!

Then we did some fun live shows with the Mr. Fastfinger band - Lasse, Thomas and Kalle. I've gotten a great amount of new fans with all these projects, actually, I like to call them friends!

Roo Chapus: A mere twelve months later you are releasing a new EP, how productive! Why not wait, and perfect a longer third album?

Mika Tyyska: Putting together an album, the way I tend to do them, is a long and hard journey. It took three years between the first and second album. Didn't want to put two more years to produce an album again. It takes so much time, and it's damn expensive too. So I started thinking about putting out an EP, just keep it easy and maintain less stress for me.

I just wanted to focus on great compositions and put out good songs. Then maybe two months later or so I realized we're actually talking about a series of EPs. I started designing sets of EP releases. I thought it would be interesting to put out an EP twice a year or something.

After putting together one EP, I found it's much better for me to work in bunches of 3 or 4 songs at a time. When you have 10 or more songs waiting to be finished... ooh, it's too much!

Roo Chapus: It seems that the theme is very different from "In Motion", which was epic and dramatic. Here, the atmosphere is connected with the new video game you created and somehow reminds me of your previous album, "The Way of The Exploding Guitar."

Mika Tyyska: "In Motion" was supposed to be a more epic and dramatic album. That was the goal originally. It has a little more darker overall feel than the debut album. Maybe in the end, "In Motion" feels little more serious than it was supposed to. Anyways this time I wanted to create something more colorful and lighthearted - getting more into the roots of Mr. Fastfinger. "In Motion" more was about Mr. Fastfinger traveling in a lost world and other unknown territories. On the EP "Stringweaver", he's back on his home beach, practicing, playing and relaxing. I was actually more after the feel of the debut album, "The Way of the Exploding Guitar", rather than "In Motion" with this EP.

I feel that I really found a flow with these songs, they were much easier to produce than anything I'd done before. Both composition wise and guitar playing wise this was very relaxed. I think you can hear it. I guess the more you do it, the smoother it gets. I'll try not to have too many long breaks between making music again.

Oh, and the first song on "Stringweaver", "Awaki-Waki" was originally composed for the debut album. It was composed around the same time as songs "Epic" and "The Ninjas". It was left out probably because it wan't needed for the overall album I guess. Last December I accidentally ended up listening to old demos from 2007 or 2008, and I found the track. It had a nice, lighthearted, video game vibe.

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Roo Chapus: This leads us to the video game you recently created with GuitarBots. How did all this come up? Are you happy with the final result? Should we expect more to come from you soon?

Mika Tyyska: After rediscovering the song "Awaki-Waki", the following week I was invited to visit the game company Ovelin in Helsinki. This company is filled with guitarists and it was funny when I went to their office, they had like eight guys all sitting in front of computers playing guitars!

Ovelin's mission with the game is to turn guitar practicing into exciting and motivated fun. That goes well with Mr. Fastfinger's philosophy. Collaboration with them felt very natural.

We started talking about the idea of creating a Mr. Fastfinger package for their game GuitarBots. I knew immediately that "Awaki-Waki" was going to be used here. Oh, and also I didn't create the online game GuitarBots, it's Ovelin's product. This Mr. Fastfinger thing was a collaboration. I basically just composed the musical material, made sure it transforms well into the game and supervised the look of the 3D Mr. Fastfinger on screen.

Roo Chapus: Video games are part of modern culture. Since you always keep very busy, it is hard to imagine you a hard gamer; however video games might have inspired you for the creation of Mr. Fastfinger's animations and all of his exotic world. Have you ever been a video game fan. What games impress you?

Mika Tyyska: Guitar playing is my favorite game. Cubase is a very nice game as well. I played a lot of video games as a kid, before I got obsessed with the guitar. It was the age of Commodore-64. I still have a love for those simple games, but rarely play anything. You can hear those Commodore-64 style bleeping sounds in Mr. Fastfinger music. Like in the song "Awaki-Waki" on the new EP. Also "Go-Flash-Go" and "The Ninjas" on "The Way of the Exploding Guitar" has some C-64 synth samples bleeping.

Roo Chapus: What are Mr Fastfinger's upcoming events and projects? Will you have holidays, and what are you doing then?

Mika Tyyska:Later this year there will be a very special dramatized "making of" movie or series coming up. Can't tell what's it all about yet. Secret. But anyways, this will mean a lot of cartooning work for me, as well as plenty of music production. The next EP will most likely be a soundtrack to this.

July will be the vacation month. Being together with family, seeing all the friends. Doing little things in the house and yard. Little trips and visits to places. Maybe I'll practice guitar playing just for the sake of practicing. The most important thing is to avoid all work related projects. Just to have a one month break from creativity is good. (,

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Mika Tyyska's guitar playing is more than just flashy riffs and exploding solos. It's full of strong melodies and rhythms, energy, joy, feelings and emotions. The end result is versatile instrumental music, a mixture of influences and styles. After two full length CDs with Mr. Fastfinger, "In Motion" and "The Way Of The Exploding Guitar", Tyyska has put out and EP-length release entitled "Stringweaver", and has a number of future EP projects in the works.

Mad Guitar Records' Roo Chapus caught up with Tyyska to discuss the recently released EP and to talk about his connections with the video gaming world, as well as other pursuits.