They also tell about life as musicians, and share some information about the upcoming tour and album
The Rasmus is one of the English-singing Finnish bands that found international success at the early 2000’s. The band had been active for years, which helped with the popularity that took the band all the way from Central Europe to South America.
Now the vocalist Lauri Ylönen, 40, and drummer Aki Hakala, 39, are family men. Their life no longer revolves only around The Rasmus, as nowadays they have children to take care of. The rocklife and all the years gone by still don’t show on their faces. At most, they have charisma that comes along with age.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the band. To celebrate the occasion, The Rasmus will release a special edition of their Dead Letters album on September 6th, the album that was originally released 15 years ago, but includes now also 10 favorite songs chosen by the fans.
– “We were thinking about the fact, that when the band turns 25, what is the brightest peak of our career? It’s that album, and the song In the Shadows”, Hakala tells about the decision behind the release.
In addition to the album, The Rasmus is heading for a two-month tour. It’s a time-travel to the times of Dead Letters. That’s nostalgy not only for the band-members, but for the fans as well.
– “I found old cassettes with video footage of gigs, home parties, backstages… We went through the material, and as a result of that we want to bring up visually that world that we originally created”, Ylönen tells about the content of the tour.
The men are clearly excited about the upcoming tour. Ylönen’s corners of the mouth turn to smile as he explains the plans that have already been made.
– “Even though it’s a club tour, it has a feel of a stadium concert, as it will be a spectacle. The concept is scripted from start to finish. Surely there’s room for improvisation”…
– “Room for mistakes”, Hakala quips.
– “Which is what we never do. Except for the bassist sometimes”, Ylönen jokes.
In the Shadows made the band international. Originally the song was successful in Sweden, after which it spread to Central Europe. The amount of popularity became evident at the latest when the band was invited to Mexico.
The men remember vividly the birth story of the massive hit. Hakala describes it as a positive accident.
– “We were doing a soundcheck in Vaasa. The rest of us had eaten, but Lauri was still dining. Guitarist Pauli Rantasalmi had an idea for a riff, and we started jamming it. Then this guy (Ylönen) comes in with spaghetti in his mouth saying he would have a perfect idea for a melody. The first version was put together in 15 minutes”, the drummer remembers.
When the first single of the album was being considered, In the Shadows and Guilty were the options. The final choice was made on the basis of a very specific criteria.
– “In the Shadows has a certain specialty to it, and it felt a bit strange. And then it was somehow a bit annoying. We then felt, that this is it. A certain roughness is beneficial for a song”, Ylönen describes.
There are many memories associated with the song. Three different music videos were made for it. The first one was filmed with the production team of Bad Boys movie. Another video, featuring a white room and iconic black feathers, got the team from Sweden. In the USA there was a need for a video of their own, which was filmed for two days in an abandoned house in Romania. That trip reminds Hakala of a sad incident.
– “I went out in the evening to hang around when some glue-sniffing kids that seemed to be really out of it came up to me trying to rob me with broken bottles. But I survived”.
According to Ylönen, the inexperience of the band-members made it impossible for them to fear anything. They have been open-minded about travelling to new countries, and those trips have given unforgettable memories.
– “We were in Germany, and we had had a pretty wild night. We were looking for our tour bus when I noticed a parked car nearby. I packed Lauri in the trunk of the car, and then stepped farther aside to see what happens. When the owner came back, he found the vocalist of The Rasmus in the back of his car. The look on his face was priceless”, Hakala remembers with laugh.
International career and tour life require sacrifices. According to Ylönen, a long career partly requires a thorough dedication and forgetting everything else. When he was 17 years old, he moved to live together with the bassist Eero Heinonen. Lauri dropped out of High school.
– “We didn’t have other relationships. We invested in the band and woke up in the morning on the floor of the rehearsal room”, says the vocalist.
Ultimately, the time spent together was the one that laid the foundation for their career. That’s why they still perform after 25 years.
– “It was the lifestyle of that time, and it was fantastic. I wouldn’t trade away a day”, Hakala says.
Now each member of the band has their own children and the priorities have changed. Still, they have to be separated from their families for long periods of time. The gigs take the musicians from one side of the world to another.
– “I have a lump in my throat when I play a memory-game with my child during a long tour. It brings tears to my eyes, and makes me think this is too hard”, Hakala says.
The situation is now easier than it was years ago. The breaks between duties are longer, so the guys can concentrate on their families. But when the new projects come up, they get together, although they live far from each other (Hakala and Rantasalmi live in Helsinki, Heinonen in Australia, and Ylönen in the USA).
– “As touring is global, the base doesn’t matter. For the New Year we got invited to perform on the German TV in a big production, so we flew in for a 3-minute song. It’s crazy”, Ylönen thinks.
Rasmus is currently working on a new album which is due out next year. It is followed by a tour-life, which is really fine with the musicians. Ylönen says he would be happy to play for the next 20 years, if there’s a chance. The vocalist doesn’t want to retire.
– “We have played in about 70 countries, but there are still many places where we haven’t been. There are still places to conquer”.