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The Rasmus (I)
Interview mit Lauri [The Rasmus], 29.07.2008, phoner



Es hat ein Weilchen gedauert, aber nun steht es endlich in den Startlöchern. Gemeint ist das neue Album von The Rasmus. Es hört auf den Namen „Black Roses“ und führt die Finnen wieder ein wenig zurück zu ihren Wurzeln. Für das Musikmagazin Zillo führte ich am 29. Juli 2008 ein kleines Telefonat mit Sänger Lauri. Zu jenem Zeitpunkt des Interviews hatte er sich bei Universal in Berlin eingefunden. Wir sprachen über die neue Platte von The Rasmus, Pinguine, Horrorfilme und Lauris Rolle als Vater.

 
Hello Lauri, how are you doing?
 
Lauri: I`m doing good, drinking coffee at the top of the Universal building here in Berlin.
 
Are you tired or why are you drinking coffee?
 
Lauri: (laughs) No, I just love coffee.
 
And are you enjoying the summer?
 
Lauri: Yeah, it`s very warm and nice, also in Finland. People are going crazy. Here in Berlin it`s perfect weather. It`s just a bit too hot for me.
 
You´re new album “Black Roses” is going to be released here in September, around three years after the last one. Why did it take a bit longer?
 
Lauri: First of all we had a lot of gigs with the last album. We went to almost 40 different countries to play those song, so that took quite a while. We also felt that we needed a little break to stop and think about what we`ve done in the past, what we`re doing right now and what we wanna do in the future. So that was a little moment of getting some perspective on those things that were happening here. We wanted to work on a album that had like a ready concept before we even start writing the music. It was more like an ambitious way to approach the album this time.
 
So like you said you have travelled around the world with the band a lot within the last months, played gigs in America, Africa and Japan, just to name a few countries. What has impressed you the most on those journeys?
 
Lauri: You mentioned Africa. That was a really great experience. I have been in Africa before a couple of times, but not with the band. But playing there was really amazing, especially when we had the chance to open up for Metallica. Actually we played three times with Metallica. And it was really funny to have penguins there in Africa.
 
Did you go swimming with them?
 
Lauri: (laughs) Not with the penguins, but I went diving for many times.
 
The new album of The Rasmus was produced by Desmond Child and Harry Sommerdahl and mixed by Michael Wegener. Why didn`t you work again with Martin Hansen and Mikael Andersson who have produced the last three albums?
 
Lauri: We felt like it`s time to move on. We already felt with the last album “Hide From The Sun” that we were like a little bit stuck with the music and with everything that was happening around us. After the success with “In The Shadows” it felt like that we were kind of categorised to be this sort of a band. We were expected to do this and that and it felt like being in a prison, you know. That has never been the The-Rasmus-style before. We usually always came up with a new weird kind of an album that was surprising people. We needed to stop and think and really wanted to dug deeper this time. I think this new album is so much more original and has also more deeper meanings in it.
 
The recordings started in Helsinki and continued in Nashville, Tennessee. Is there any anecdote you can tell us about the recordings?
 
Lauri: A lot of things happened since we recorded the album a long time. We did some parts in our own studio in Helsinki and some parts we did in Nashville like I did all my vocals there and we did the drums there. We spent around nine weeks there on the whole. And I was really weird, because it`s kind of a hillbilly place and I looked so much like a freak when I was walking amongst all these guys there. (laughs) When I am just walking on the streets of Berlin, I´m looking pretty normal, or in London people wouldn`t say “Ohh, look at that freak!” But in Nashville it`s more like that. Oh yeah, I went to this men`s room once and there was one guy saying like “Boy, are you sure you`re not a woman?” You know, that´s the Nashville-attitude.
 
Did you prefer to work in your home town or far away in the USA?
 
Lauri: Actually I liked both. When I was over there, I was just being alone there. The rest of the band was somewhere else around the world on their holidays or something. But I was there doing my vocals and I had full concentration on the songs. I was also still writing on the lyrics. Mentally it was really good to stay there. I had a chance to live at Desmond Child`s mansion and that was very nice. (laughs) You know, he`s got a fucking big house there and I could just go to his fridge and have breakfast. That was really amazing.
 
You already said that you wanted to go a step forward with the new album. Does it nevertheless tie in with the last one “Hide From The Sun” or does it really bring a totally new direction?
 
Lauri: Well, it brings something from the past, something what we did when we started with the band. There are some elements from that time. Some songs are a little bit groovier, some songs have sort of rap parts…
 
Like the first single?
 
Lauri: Yeah! So it`s a little surprise for a lot of people like “What the hell are they doing?” But that`s how we got started. Maybe half of the vocals were in the rap form before, so it`s nothing really new to us, but it felt good to take those elements back. It felt like the circle was closed. We went back to start and everything with this album just felt like a relieve. Now it`s like we can do whatever we want again.
 
As there are also some rap parts on the CD, which genre title would you give the new album?
 
Lauri: You`re the first one who asks me that. (thinks a bit longer) I can just have a word of my own and it would be “death pop”. That was actually the first working title for the album. The first demos were really dark sounding and gloomy, but all done with synthesisers. So that combination was like pop, but also heavy in a way.
 
But now the album-title is “Black Roses” and roses are actually red, but why are they black for you?
 
Lauri: There are many reasons. The main reason is that…it´s quite a long story, but I`ll try to make it very short…to create this album we had some kind of skeleton. Well, I read a book about how to write a movie script. Usually big movies like “E.T.” or “Starwars” or “Titanic” they have the same structure. They are kind of divided into four different parts and how the storyline goes there. And we did the same and created this story between those two people and the black roses were a big part of this story. We started to write music to this imaginary film of ours and added songs to each chapter. It was really interesting to write the music to this concept and the black roses were a big part of that. That guy was sending black roses to this girl and it meant a lot to them.
 
So it`s a real concept album?
 
Lauri: Yeah, it`s very much of a concept album. There were a lot of big thoughts behind every melody line and every lyric. And that was really challenging and really inspiring to have it like this.
 
And when we are talking about colours…your hair is blonde again! Lost a bet or got bored of the black ones or is it really just like going back to the roots?
 
Lauri: (laughs) I think it`s all of that. Well, actually I didn`t think about that. The music went back to the start, so maybe I did also with my hair.
 
So the time of the crow is over?
 
Lauri: It`s just a white dove now.
 
I guess the first ones in Germany have seen your new hairstyle when you had this gig in Berlin at “Energy In The Park” in the beginning of July. You already presented new songs there. Are you satisfied with the feedback you got about the new songs so far?
 
Lauri: Yeah, there`ve been some comments on the web I´ve seen and I think they`re pretty good. And I was just listening to the radio and they played the song there and after the song they said “Now you can send SMS if you love this song or you hate it!” I turned the radio off quickly. I didn`t wanna hear that. I was too scared to be dump.
 
So you were scared that there could have been bad critics?
 
Lauri: We`ve always had bad critics. (laughs) But still somebody seems to like us, so…you can`t win them all.
 
Do you always prepare a bit by yourself for the foreign audiences like you try to learn a bit of their languages that you can use it on stage?
 
Lauri: Yeah, actually sometimes we try to play some songs that have been like local hit songs. Sometimes our base player surprises us and is just asking the taxi driver or somebody “What´s the biggest summer hit, like a stupid song here?” and then he plays some Schnucki Butzie…and that is really funny. Everybody hates those songs, but loves them at the same time.
 
And do you know some German?
 
Lauri: Well, I just said Schnucki Butzie. That`s something like Honey Bunny, right?
 
Yeah.
 
Lauri: Okay, otherwise I just know the classic words like Lederhosen, but that is boring. But I can`t remember anything else.
 
Then let`s get back to your new album: What are your personal highlights on it?
 
Lauri: The song “Ten Black Roses” has very old things in it. Parts of the chorus melody I actually wrote like 10 or 15 years ago. At least a really long time ago. I was playing classical guitar at that time and I wrote the song with the guitar (sings the melody) and I liked the melody and the chorus. It means a lot to me that it finally ended up to be in a song on the album. Lots of ideas where developed a very long time ago. Some will never end up on an album. They haunt me and are always in my head.
 
We already talked a bit about “Living In A World Without You”. It`s going to be released as a first single from the new album. What is so special about this song that it became the first single?
 
Lauri: That song is a special thing to me. It was like the last song we did. Actually we wrote the song in Berlin maybe two months ago, so it`s very new. I also think it sounds very fresh. It was one of those like accidents, you know, we weren`t thinking too much. It`s representing the album in a good way, because it`s kind of an electro rock song and the album has a lot of electronic parts, but also it has rockier parts. The song pulls everything together to be the first single.
 
Is there already a video shot for that song?
 
Lauri: Yeah, we did a video a couple of weeks ago in Sweden with the same team that has done the videos before like “In The Shadows”, “In My Life” and “Funeral Song”. It was really great to go back to these guys. It was like going back to your friends. The new video is kind of futuristic. I`m doing a little bit of acting in this video. I haven´t been acting in the videos before, so I was really scared if I could do it right. (laughs) I´m not an actor…
 
But would that be something for you, being an actor in a film?
 
Lauri: No, I hate being in front of the camera.
 
Then I have heard there is a duet with Anette from Nightwish on the new album…
 
Lauri: Unfortunately that song didn’t end up being on the album. It`s gonna be out later on. I don`t know exactly when, but it just felt like it broke the concept of the album. It´s an old song and it wasn`t done at the same time like the rest of the songs. It was too much of an extra song. I hope this song would find its place in a movie or something, because it`s very cinematic. There are beautiful strings arrangements. The song is ready, but we`re just waiting for the right place to put it.
 
Do you always have a pen and a paper with you to write lyrics down as soon as they come into your mind?
 
Lauri: I always have my little tape recorder with me including old fashion cassettes. (laughs) I don`t count on these electronic things like notebooks or something. I prefer my good old cassette recorder. I put all the ideas on this recorder and it doesn`t matter if they are shitty or good. I just put them all down and get back to those ideas later on.
 
And if you write lyrics, do you already know then if it`s becoming a ballad or rock song?
 
Lauri: Yeah, usually I know the music first. Sometimes I have some titles ready and then I start to write the music. But mostly it`s the other way around.
 
How would you continue the sentence “Music is…”?
 
Lauri: Music is life.
 
And in your life there has currently been a little change. You became father of a son in this year. Congratulations from my side!
 
Lauri: Thank you very much.
 
How many sleepless nights did you already have or isn`t it that stressful?
 
Lauri: Well, he is such a sweet little boy, you know, sleeping like an angel. That is really good. Of course it can change, but I think that is all about how safe he feels. I have the chance to stay a little bit at home before the crazy touring starts. That is really amazing.
 
But I guess it`s not the easiest situation being in such a successful band and being a family father at the same time. How do you handle that?
 
Lauri: Well, I always thought about it that I´m not the only one doing that. Some fathers are just doing some other work and they are on tour and travelling for their business or whatever. I mean, it has to be possible from now on. You know, I go for the tour and do that with the full force and when it´s over I run back home to play with my son.
 
I understand, but here it`s just another situation, because your girlfriend Paula is also in a band. That`s why I think it`s not so easy…
 
Lauri: We will find a way…
 
Is there a wedding planned with Paula?
 
Lauri: (laughs) No.
 
Are you actually a traditional person that you celebrate your birthday, midsummer or Christmas?  
 
Lauri: Yeah, we had great midsummer parties this year. Midsummer is like a big celebration in Finland. I don´t know if you have that, too, but we have like big bonfires…
 
Well, not those ones, but we also celebrate it a bit here…
 
Lauri: Okay, yeah, it`s like an old pagan ritual. Girls or maybe some guys as well, I don`t know, but they are picking some flowers from the field and then they put them under the pillows of their future husbands and all these cool things. Then we had a nice sauna by the sea and all my friends were there and we went swimming in the cold water. (laughter)
 
Which are your biggest talents beside the musical ones?
 
Lauri: Cooking. I`m a really good rice cooker. (laughs)
 
Are you easily influenced?
 
Lauri: Yeah, quite easily. I just watched a horrible movie. It was the first or maybe the second part of “Saw” and I had such crazy nightmares and couldn`t get these pictures out of my head. Why would I have want to watch this? I have such a strange imagination, so it`s like ten times bigger afterwards than the movie and what`s happening there. (laughs) I was really influenced by that. I wouldn`t recommend the movie to anyone.
 
Björk is your big idol. Why is she so fascinating for you?
 
Lauri: She`s always been like a different personality in the whole colourful music world. My sister kind of introduced me to her music and took me to see one show. I went into some sort of trance. That show really impressed me. I´m not a big fan of that kind of music like techno, but her whole presence is so strong. When she`s in the room it`s like you can`t leave the room and can`t watch anywhere else.
 
And when can the German fans see you and The Rasmus again? Is there a tour planned to present the new songs soon?
 
Lauri: Yes, but it will take place in the next year, I think in January. We haven´t yet played enough shows in Finland. Our Finnish fans are quite disappointed that we always go abroad to Germany, Italy and wherever. So we promised to do a big tour there first, but maybe some Mega-German-fans will find their way to Finland to see us on the shows there.
 
Okay Lauri, I thank you very much for the interview. Enjoy the rest of the day!
 
Lauri: Thank you.



Interview: Lea S.
Fotos: taken from therasmus.com
Website Band: www.therasmus.com

(c) Zillo Musikmagazin / Ausgabe 10/08 / www.zillo.de

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