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The Mika Tyyskä interview is here!

An inspiring conversation with a consummate songwriter and multimedia pioneer

By July 11, 2018Uncategorized

It’s time to enjoy the spellbinding sounds of an amazing musician who also happens to be an internet pioneer.

Mika Tyyskä is the creator of the Guitar Shred Show, an ingeniously inventive Flash animation that took the incipient guitar internet by storm over ten years ago. In the Shred Show, intrepid Web 2.0 surfers could use their keyboards to control a shredding avatar named Mr. Fastfinger. Armed with a battery of ’80s-inspired licks, the sensei-like Fastfinger waged musical warfare against an accordion playing demon who had possessed a horde of finger-tapping dwarves. The concept was clearly insane.

And insanely fun.

The game’s cartoon sensibility and musical sophistication was instantly endearing. And thanks to some clever Flash h4x0ring, its surprisingly responsive controls made it addictive to play even with the more limited connection speeds of the day.

Spiritually, the Shred Show was both cutting-edge and unabashedly nostalgic. It was filled with musical references to a golden age of heroes that had continued to inform guitar stardom even among those who were too young to have a wardrobe stocked with Spandex leggings. In other words, the Guitar Shred Show had all the ingredients of an internet phenomenon. And succeed it did, taking root in the nascent social media landscape during a fertile time after broadband but before YouTube.

More importantly, it served as the launchpad of a musical career for the Finnish art student and polymath wizard who was its creator. In our interview with Mika, we talk about the origins of the Fastfinger project, and his musical evolution since that time. He graciously performs two of his awesomely lyrical compositions, Be Wind My Friend, and Effortless. In fact, Effortless is complete with the same synchronized visuals you’d see at a Fastfinger show. Mika also gives us a tour of the truly inspiring sounds on his pedalboard, affirming that his artistry extends to the brushes and colors he uses, and not just the subjects he paints.

Our interview with the amazing Mike Tyyskä is ready to watch for Cracking the Code subscribers, right here on the Cracking the Code platform.

Troy Grady

About Troy Grady

Top Comments

  1. I’ve seen Mika play in about the year 1990. They were two guys, the other one must have been his friend he mentions at 53:20.

    It was unreal. They were teens and they played better than any Finnish guitar hero we had ever heard.

    Their last number was a folk song called ”Säkkijärven polkka”, at extreme tempo:

    Mika played the lead and the rhythm guitar was played with pure arpeggios, all the time. I did not even know back then that guitar could be played like that. I had to ask Mika after the show and he explained the concept briefly. We were all still with our jaws at the floor so Mika must have thought we were just a very stupid audience :slight_smile:

    I’ve followed Mr. Fastfinger ever since the original Flash thing, but I still don’t know the name of the other guy. He had a scalloped Charvel and he was like water: shapeless, flowing, effortless. A natural guitar player, just like Mika said.

    But guess what? Säkkijärven polkka is an accordion song…

  2. Troy says:

    Probably never! We’re moving to self hosted downloads that will hopefully no longer require the jump over to another web site. We’re still working on that but will probably have downloads of a user’s existing purchases working right from their account this week.

    Unclear when we will have new product downloads available working from our own site/store. If you’re interested in this one I would recommend a subscription anyway. Lots of new stuff to watch beyond this.

  3. Man this guy is so rad. I’ve never seen a Finn smile so much. He’s one of my favourite new(ish) discoveries right now.

  4. Presumably related to the platform changes @Troy and @Brendan have hinted at, I found mine not under “Credits” like past downloads, but already added to “Downloads”.

    Only feedback is that there’s no longer a “date added” column in the “Downloads” table, so I had to “manually” know that there’s a new download available, know it’s name, and fnd that name in the list. I get there are compromises to be made re: how much information to cram into the screen, but the ability to sort by release date would be really handy. Or maybe have a separate “my-account” sublink for “newest 5 downloads” or similar, where I can tell at a glance what I don’t have yet (if anything).

  5. Troy says:

    Well, that was fast! We just turned this on about ten minutes ago. So yes you can now access file downloads from your account under “Downloads”. It’s greatly simplified. Just click to download files immediately, with no journey to another web site.

    Previously you had to get a “credit” for something, then go over to Gumroad and “buy” the item for zero dollars. It was an annoying hack. So from now on, you can mostly ignore the “Credits” section.

    We don’t have dates on products. We’ll think about sorting these some way. But someone who buys a bunch of a la carte items right now doesn’t really care what date those items came out in the distant past, only when they bought them. If anything, a date reflecting when you got access to that item, like a purchase, but not actually a purchase, is probably what you’re looking for, and that’s… more complicated!

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