The Rasmus are a Finnish rock band that formed in 1994 in Helsinki while the band members were still in school.
The band played their first gig at their school Christmas party. In 1995 Jarno left the band, and was replaced by Janne Heiskanen. In December 1995 they released their debut EP “1st”, including the songs “Funky Jam”, “Myself”, “Frog” and “Rakkauslaulu”. Only after a few weeks the EP has already sold 1000 copies. The EP was originally released independently through Teja G. Records but was re-released through Warner Music Finland after they signed with them in early 1996. The band also wrote the song “Don’t Shut the Door” which would stay unused until it was re-written in 2009 as “October & April” for their compilation album Best of 2001–2009.
In 1996 they released their debut album “Peep” through Warner Music Finland. The album was first released in Finland on September 23, where it went Gold, and later in Estonia and Russia, and subsequently worldwide. Later in 1996 the band released two more EP’s, “2nd” and “3rd”. Even though labelled as an EP, “3rd” went #8 on the Finnish Singles Chart later that year.
Next year the band won an EMMA (the Finnish equivalent of Grammies) for the best new band of 1996. Lauri and Pauli decided to quit school to focus fully on Rasmus and on August 29 they released their second album “Playboys”. It went Gold in Finland, and the single “Blue” also went Gold when it was released in May the same year.
1998 marked the release of the third Rasmus album “Hell of a Tester” (sometimes written Hellofatester). The album was released on November 2 and marks a change in their musical style from funk to more solid rock. The album received Gold status in Finland. The most popular single was “Liquid”, which was released in September, getting into the Top 40 on MTV Nordic. It was voted Single of the Year for 1998 by music critics and fans and the video won an award in 1999 at the Finnish Music Video Awards.
During 1999 Rasmus were headlining big festivals in Finland. Janne Heiskanen left the band after playing his last gig supporting Red Hot Chili Peppers. This left the band in disarray and were close to breaking up. Aki Hakala, the guy in the merch stand was eventually asked to become to bands new drummer.
In 2000 the band changed their name from “Rasmus” to “The Rasmus” to avoid confusion with the Swedish DJ of the same name. In late 1999 The Cardigans’ manager Petri H. Lundén recommended the band to Lars Tengroth, director of new Swedish independent label Playground Music. Tengroth went to see them play live in Helsinki and, as he later told HitQuarters, “fell in love with them straight away”. Having released three albums in Finland and achieved modest success they were looking to develop their career outside of the country and Playground agreed to help them do this. In late 2000 the band began working with producers Martin Hansen & Micke Nord in Sweden for their next album, ending in leaving their funk sound completely behind and changes into straight forward pop rock. Once signed to Playground the band spent time developing their act to meet the demands of establishing themselves internationally. According to Tengroth: “It was like starting from scratch; we were creating a new band so to speak.” They did a lot of things that were new to them – they spent a long time working on their songs before recording, they worked with producers for the first time, and they recorded outside of Finland. They already had a strong stage show but welcomed ideas in improving it still.
In October 2001 The Rasmus released Into their fourth studio album, and first album for Playground Music. It was the first The Rasmus to be released in other European countries such as France and Spain. The album reached #1 in the Finnish album charts and spawned the singles “F-F-F-Falling”, “Chill”, “Madness” and “Heartbreaker/Days”. All of these were released in 2001 apart from Heartbreaker/Days, which was released in 2002. For this fact and the name’s change, some fans consider this album the first of “The Rasmus”. F-f-f-falling became one of the most played songs on the Finnish radio in 2001. In 2001 they also released their first compilation album “Hell of a Collection”. It is composed of eighteen songs, nearly all of which are revamped versions of songs from their previous three albums. The exceptions are the final track, “Liquid” (Demo), which is a demo tape of their hit song “Liquid”, and the songs “F-F-F-Falling” and “Chill” which were the first new songs released after Aki replaced Janne.
They won four EMMAs in 2002 for Best Group, Best Album, Best Pop/Rock Album and Best Song (for “F-F-F-Falling”).
On March 21, 2003 they released their album “Dead Letters”. Dead Letters sold 1,6 million copies worldwide and signified the band’s major break-through. “Dead Letters” received 8 gold and 6 platinum Awards, while “In the Shadows” received 6 gold and 2 platinum awards. “In the Shadows” which sold over 1 million copies reached historically number one on the list of Finnish compositions earning performance royalties abroad and so overtakes the works of Jean Sibelius. They won the Best Nordic Act and Best Song on MTV music awards 2003.
They also won five Emma awards, best group, best album, best video (In My Life), best artist and export Emma in 2004. They also won the Echo award for the best international new comer. The success of “Dead Letters” lead for extensive touring around the world. In 2004 they released their first live DVD “Live Letters” which was filmed at Gampel Open Air in Switzerland on August 21, 2004.
On September 12, 2005 they released their album “Hide from the Sun”. The album received Platinum status in Finland and sold more than 15,000 in the UK alone. All in all Hide from the Sun sold 400,000 copies worldwide. They also won best international artist at the MTV- Russia awards.
The band continued their extensive touring throughout 2007. The band met Desmond Child in Dominican Republic who produced their next album “Black Roses”.
“Black Roses” was released on September 24, 2004. It Immediately it replaced Metallica’s latest album Death Magnetic in the Finnish Album Charts and went gold after one week.6 The album was originally planned to be released in March, but was delayed due to new songs the band still wanted to record, including the lead single, “Livin’ in a World Without You”. The album’s sound is generally less heavy than that of Hide from the Sun. However, a few of the album’s songs, such as “Ten Black Roses”, “The Fight”, and “Lost and Lonely”, contain symphonic rock/metal elements. The album spawned a second single “Justify” in 2009.
On November 28, 2009 they released their compilation album “Best of 2001–2009” featuring songs between 2001 and 2009. While most of the songs were already released, it features a new unreleased song called “October & April” which features vocals by Anette Olzon from Nightwish. This song was recorded during the same time as Black Roses, but wasn’t included as it didn’t follow the album concept.
In early 2010, The Rasmus started working on their next album, which would be released by the band’s personal record label due to their contract with their previous label dissolving at the end of 2009.
On March 30, 2011 Lauri Ylönen released his solo album “New World” with the first single “Heavy” being released in February. The material premiered at Emma Gala on February 26, 2011. Ylönen stated that he wanted several songs that didn’t fit The Rasmus to be released as a major record rather than a demo. The album was self-produced with their record label Dynasty Recordings. The album reached second place on the Finnish album charts.
Shortly after The Rasmus began producing their eighth studio album, the band revealed that the album would bring The Rasmus back to the sound of “Into”. The albums lead single, “I’m A Mess,” was first performed on the 25th February 2012 on a national tv show in Finland.
The Rasmus are providing the title song for the 2012 European Athletics Championships.
2017 is the year that The Rasmus have set themselves for a big international comeback. The single ‘PARADISE’, out March 31st 2017, showed that the band are not resting on their laurels or former accomplishments. ‘Paradise’ sounds fresh and modern, but still strikes that chord of familiar Nordic melancholia that resonates with the group’s hundreds of thousands of fans. A new album “Dark Matters” is set for release on September 22, 2017.