Illka Herkman

The Rasmus

The Rasmus is a Finnish rock band that formed in 1994 in Helsinki while the band members were still in high school. The original band members were Lauri Ylönen (lead singer/songwriter), Eero Heinonen (bass), Pauli Rantasalmi (guitar) and Janne Heiskanen (drums). Heiskanen quit the band in 1998 and was soon replaced by Aki Hakala.

Before releasing their fourth studio album Into (2001), they were simply known as Rasmus, but changed their name to The Rasmus in order to avoid being confused with a Swedish DJ of the same name. They gained international fame with their 2003 album Dead Letters, accompanied with the single "In the Shadows" which reached number 1 in several countries.

The band is one of Finland's most successful bands with more than 3.5 million sold albums worldwide, eight gold awards and five platinum awards. They have released six studio albums, one compilation album and 21 singles. Some of the band's most famous songs are the singles "Liquid", "F-F-F-Falling", "In the Shadows", "First Day of My Life", "Funeral Song" , "No Fear" and "Sail Away". The band has recently announced another album, titled "Black Roses" which will go on sale on 26 September. Notably, production help from Desmond Child and the first single Livin' in a World Without You will headline the album.

History of The Rasmus

Peep (1995-1996)

In 1995 they met their first manager and record producer, Teja Kotilainen, who saw them perform at Oranssi Club. He wanted them to record a few songs, and the band did. Soon they released their very first EP-single, 1st. It was originally released independently through Teja G. Records in late 1995 before signing with the record label Warner Music Finland. Rasmus and Teja Kotilainen kept on making songs and on September 23, 1996 they released their debut album, Peep. It went Gold as the band played over 100 shows in Finland, Russia and Estonia. Later in 1996 they won an EMMA (the Finnish equivalent of a Grammy) for Best New Act of 1996. They also released two more singles from the album: 2nd and 3rd. 3rd was the first single to hit the chart lists - it went to #8 at the Finnish Singles Chart.

Playboys (1997)

Rasmus released their second studio album, Playboys, in August 1997. This record also went gold in Finland, along with its single "Blue". The album was quite similar to Peep, but with additional musicians including saxophones and trumpets. This gave the album a mixed genre of rock, funk and ska. It was not produced by Teja Kotilainen. Their new producer was named Illka Herkman. Rasmus' grueling live schedule included supporting Rancid and Dog Eat Dog, and appearing at a festival at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium in front of a crowd of 40 000 and on national television. They released a music video to the single " Playboys" which was directed by themselves and Illka Herkman.

Hell of a Tester (1998-1999)

The band's third studio album, Hell of a Tester, was released in 1998 with a video for the single "Liquid". It was in the Top 40 on Nordic MTV and was voted Song of the Year by Finnish music critics and fans. The band achieved further recognition supporting Garbage and Red Hot Chili Peppers when they toured Finland.

Into (2000-2002)

Rasmus became "The Rasmus" in 2000, after replacing drummer Janne Heiskanen with drumming merchandise-seller Aki Hakala. In 2001, they signed to Playground Music Scandinavia and took on Seppo Vesterinen as their new manager. They released the album Into in Finland, where it went double platinum, debuting at #1. This was their first album to be produced by Mikael Nord Andersson and Martin Hansen at Nord Studios in Stockholm, Sweden. Nord and Andresson also produced their next two albums. The first single from the album "F-F-F-Falling" was #1 in Finland for three months in early 2001. The second single, "Chill", was released in the Nordic countries, and reached #2 in Finland. Into was soon released in other European countries, including Germany, Italy, France and Spain. The Rasmus toured throughout Europe, promoting the album, and being the supporting acts to bands HIM and Roxette.

Dead Letters (2003-2004)

The band recorded Dead Letters at Nord Studios in Sweden and it was released in Europe in early 2003, reaching the top of the album charts in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as well as in Finland. Its European success led to the release of the album in other parts of the world and the album has sold 1.5 million copies worldwide. Dead Letters went Top 10 in the UK, and its first single, In the Shadows, went Top 3. Both also went Top 50 in the Australian ARIA charts in 2004, as well as topping the New Zealand singles chart. The single also reached the Top 20 of the American Billboard Heatseeker charts. In the Shadows gained Top 10 chart placings in eleven countries. Recently, iTunes Music Store offered the second track on Dead Letters, "In the Shadows", as one of its free singles. Guilty was the band's second single for the American and British market. The Rasmus' previous discography was released internationally too. The band toured a lot in 2004 and early 2005 before taking six months off to record their next album.

Hide from the Sun (2005-2007)

Their latest album is Hide from the Sun, which was released in 2005. Three singles have been released from it: "No Fear", "Sail Away" and "Shot". Hide from the Sun was released in the U.S. on October 10 2006 from their new U.S. label, DRT Entertainment. In 2005, they won Best Nordic Act at the MTV Nordic Awards and at the NRJ Radio Awards and Best Finnish Act at MTV Europe Music Awards. They have toured with Lostprophets and Negative. On April 28, 2006 they received an exclusive statue at the ESKA Music Awards in Poland (it is their second ESKA statue, the first being in 2004) for the category Best World Rock Group.

Black Roses (2008-Present)

The band announced that they had begun work on a seventh studio album Black Roses on September 19 2007, announcing the name of the album and naming the co-producers as Desmond Child and Harry Sommerdahl. Originally planned for release in March 2008, a delay until after the summer was confirmed on February 27, 2008 and later detailed to be released in 26 September in Germany and 29 September in the UK. The first singles are "Livin' in a World Without You" and "Justify".

Five of the songs have appeared live: Ten Black Roses, Livin' in a World Without You, Justify, Ghost of Love and Live Forever. A small part of You Got It Wrong is also found on the Internet. The band created a new style in this new album: "Death Pop".

The name of the band

The name Rasmus does not actually mean anything; the band has said in interviews that they chose it because it sounds Finnish and is easy to remember. However, bassist Eero Heinonen said in a Swedish interview that it came from the words "trash" and "mosh". It was the ex-drummer Janne Heiskanen who came up with the name.

Music videos

For a complete list of the band's music videos, see The Rasmus discography.
The Rasmus have released a total of sixteen music videos (including three different versions of In the Shadows). Niklas Fronda & Fredrik Löfberg of Baranga Film have directed three of the band's videos, all from the Dead Letters album. Dead Letters is the album with most music videos: seven videos have been released from that album, including three versions of "In the Shadows". The first video they ever made was the one to Funky Jam, 1996.

Band members




  • Lauri Ylönen – Vocals
  • Eero Heinonen – Bass
  • Pauli Rantasalmi – Guitar
  • Aki Hakala – Drums

Lauri Ylönen

He is the lead singer and was born Lauri Johannes Ylönen in Helsinki on April 23, 1979. His parents names are Matti and Liisa Ylönen and he has an older sister called Hanna, who was the muse of the song "P.S.", a song about Lauri's love/hate relationship with his sister. Lauri is the main song writer and has also worked on various collaborations with fellow Finns Apocalyptica and Ville Valo from the band HIM. He has also worked in the production of music for fellow Dynasty members Killer and Kwan, together with bandmate Pauli. In 2007 Lauri and other Dynasty members opened their own recording label, Dynasty Recordings. Lauri has 7 nick names; Lintu, Lare, Birdy, Jumsala, Pauri (with Pauli), Baby Face and Lauki (with Aki). Lauri's image is well known for having crow feathers in his hair and has been wearing them since just before their fifth album Dead Letters was released. He was on MTV for the first time in July 2005. He married Aki in Las Vegas.

Pauli Rantasalmi

Pauli is the guitarist and was born in Helsinki, Finland on May 1, 1979. He helped design the "dynasty" logo on two of his guitars. He co-owns the record label Dynasty Recordings with Lauri Ylönen, who is the singer in the band. Together they have also produced one of the Finnish band Killer's album before they split. Pauli's first child (a baby girl) was born August 13, 2008, in Singapore.

Aki Hakala

His full name is Aki Markus Hakala. He is the drummer and was born in Espoo, Finland, on October 28, 1979. He joined the band in 1999, after the former drummer, Janne Heiskanen, left the band to "find himself." Aki originally sold band merchandise at their shows and joined the band after jamming with Pauli. He says that the only thing he was ever good at was drumming, and he "sucked at everything else," although he has done some acting in the past in Siamin tytöt (a Finnish drama series) and can play the guitar. Before joining The Rasmus, he was a drummer for Killer and Kwan, (he was replaced by Risto). In 2006, Aki decided to finally have LASIK eye surgery, and ceased wearing his trademark black glasses. Early 2007, he stopped dying his hair black, opting instead for platinum blond. In July 2007, he and his girlfriend welcomed their first child, though there isn't any official confirmation of the relationship, or who she is.

Eero Heinonen

He is the bassist and was born Eero Aleksi Heinonen in Helsinki, Finland, on November 27, 1979. Eero is a follower of Sahaja Yoga and is a quiet and well-balanced person, but also well-known for playing tricks on bandmates and others. He is currently the only member of the band who is married and he is also a father of two. After playing in Korpi Ensemble for many years he now has a new side project (since 2004) called Hay and Stone, where he is bass player and lead singer. Eero also plays the violin.


Studio albums

Year Title Record label
1996 Peep Warner Music Finland
1997 Playboys Warner Music Finland
1998 Hell of a Tester Warner Music Finland
2001 Into Playground Music Scandinavia
2003 Dead Letters Playground Music Scandinavia
2005 Hide from the Sun Playground Music Scandinavia
2008 Black Roses Playground Music Scandinavia>


Years Tour Countries Cities Concerts
2003-05 Dead Letters Tour 29 107 296
2005-06 Hide from the Sun Tour 36 110 249


Year Award Title
1996 Finnish Grammy Award Best New Act
1999 Finnish Music Video Festival Best Music Video (Liquid)
2002 Emma Gaala Best group
2002 Emma Gaala Best pop/rock album (Into)
2002 Emma Gaala Best album (Into)
2002 Emma Gaala Best song (F-F-F-Falling)
2003 MTV Music Awards Best Nordic Act
2003 Hit Music Awards Best Song (In the Shadows)
2004 Emma Gaala Best Group
2004 Emma Gaala Best Album (Dead Letters)
2004 Emma Gaala Best Music Video (In My Life)
2004 Emma Gaala Best Act
2004 TMF Awards Best Rock
2004 World Music Awards Best-Selling Album in Scandinavia (Dead Letters)
2004 MTV VMA Latin America Best International Rock Artist
2004 MTV VMA Latin America Best International New Artist
2004 MTV Russia Awards Best International New Artist
2005 MTV Nordic Awards Best Nordic Act
2005 NRJ Radio Awards Best Nordic Act


The Rasmus were part of a brotherhood of Finnish bands known as "Dynasty", along with the hip-hop band Kwan and the now-separated modern rock band Killer. Dynasty also have a studio in Helsinki, where they recruit new Finnish talent. Several members of Dynasty have tattoos with the Dynasty text; one can be found on Pauli's left and Lauri's right arm. Pauli and Eero also have instruments and gear bearing the Dynasty logo. Pauli has helped with the production of Kwan, winning an EMMA for Producer of the Year in 2001.

See also



External links

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