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The Rasmus (II)
Interview mit Lauri [The Rasmus], 01.04.2012, phoner



Gut vier Jahre war es recht still um The Rasmus. Lauri Ylönen, Sänger und Frontmann der finnischen Band, nutzte die Pause, um mehr Zeit mit seiner Familie zu verbringen und ein Solo-Album zu veröffentlichen. Dieser Tage knüpfen The Rasmus mit ihrem neuen selbstbetitelten Longplayer an den Vorgänger "Black Roses" (2008) an.

Lauri, how are you doing? Did you have a good start into the New Year?


Lauri: Yeah, I had a very good start. How about you?

Me as well. At the moment I'm enjoying the beautiful weather, because we have already around 20 degrees here in Germany.

Lauri: Oh, I was just listening to the radio and they said that we will get more snow tonight, like 10 centimeters. So we don't have that warm weather here yet.

It has been quite silent around The Rasmus during the last four years. Was it a common decision within the band to have a longer timeout?

Lauri: The four years break was kind of natural. Of course we had one tour after the "Black Roses"-album. We were playing in more than 40 countries. And also I put out a solo album last year. So I didn't really have a break as I was doing my solo material with a different type of music style. I just had a break with The Rasmus. The guys were also happy to relax a bit. Aki, our drummer, became father again and he was enjoying being a home daddy.

Was it a longer planned project to publish the solo album "New World" or just something to bridge the time gap?


Lauri: I started writing songs that were sounding somehow different from what The Rasmus is. We tried to play those songs with the band, but it didn't work out. They were more like electro, dance and techno songs. Furthermore I really wanted to have another path to walk. It feels really refreshing to have that option. If one idea doesn't work with The Rasmus, I always have my special project I can do stuff for.

[Suddenly his doorbell rings. Some kids in witches' costumes ask for sweets. It's a Finnish tradition on Palm Sunday. Lauri talks to them for a while, then we continue with the interview.]

Lauri: Now it's The Rasmus' time again and it feels great to be back.

How did you manage to write new The Rasmus material especially as Eero and Pauli don't live in Finland anymore?

Lauri: They've been living abroad for four years already. It was kind of strange first as the guys live in another country. But then again we travel a lot with the band, so it doesn't matter if one of us lives in Italy, Helsinki or wherever. We just meet in one city. Let's say the tour starts in Stockholm, we meet in Stockholm. The world is a small place. But for songwriting the distance between us doesn't work, because we cannot write songs via Skype. We tried that, but it's very stupid. You have to be in the same room. It's much more than just writing the songs. It's like hanging out together, talking bullshit and having fun. That's where the vibrations come from. So we decided to have an intense two months period in Helsinki last summer. We met at our old rehearsal place, everything there was still the same like in the year 2000. We went back to the roots in another way with this new album, kind of pretending being a garage band. We didn't really have a record deal at that moment. It was a free situation to do whatever we want. We wanted to have a sort of a restart. We worked every day starting at 10 am, having breakfast together and talking three hours before even playing an instrument. It's just strange, because when the guys are away for three months and then come back, it doesn't feel like they have been away for so long, because we simply continue where we stopped last time. It's such a deep friendship between us.

How often do you see each other at the moment?

Lauri: We saw each other in Japan filming the music video for "I'm A Mess". That was like a month ago, I can't remember. But I think the guys are back in Helsinki today. We'll start rehearsing the new songs tomorrow or on Tuesday. We have to learn to play the songs live. That's another nice challenge. We go back to the rehearsal room again, listen to the album… Studio work is kind of different. You do things in bits and pieces. It's such a different world being in the studio than being on the road.

Does the new album seamlessly tie in with "Black Roses" or is it heading into a totally other direction?

Lauri: I think it sounds more free and relaxed as we felt so good inside, so confident in writing the songs. We didn't have a producer this time, we didn't have that pressure that comes with big budgets. No record company guys hung around and gave us their opinions. We should know what to do. We've been together for 18 years now, we put out eight albums. So why shouldn't we create an album by ourselves?

Who's the target group for the new album – more rock- or pop-oriented people?

Lauri: I have no idea who's the target group. We just followed our own instinct. If a song I wrote felt like a pop song, we made a pop song out of it. Other songs might have more guitar riffs and we made it a bit heavier. We didn't choose any categories before writing. We just worked freely to see what comes out of us.

How have been the reactions so far by fans who know The Rasmus right from the beginning?


Lauri: The reactions have been different. There are people who like it, but also some who dislike it. The first single is obviously a quite poppy song. It was the last one we wrote. Just one night before we left to the studio I had this very simple idea. The song has a little bit more speed and that kind of attitude that it sounded like the first single. But on the album you can find different moods. My favorites are other songs than the first single. I can't wait to let the fans hear the new album and see the live shows. Maybe it's better to judge then.

How did the creative process look like in comparison to the one of "Black Roses"?

Lauri: Some things I already said like we didn't work with a producer. Last time it was a big production with American superstar producer Desmond Child. But the whole process was kind of slow. I think, the recording took like one year. This time it was so much more focused and fast. The album was put down very spontaneously like not having so many second thoughts, which is good, I think.

What did inspire you during the songwriting this time?


Lauri: Life experiences, of course, and things that have happened to my friends around me. I kind of keep my eyes open all the time just to get song ideas. What happens in the world? Mostly it's more personal, small stories and not any political stuff. I also got inspired by movies like "Somewhere" which came out last year or in 2010. It was a very nice movie. I kind of found myself in the main character. I was going through lots of personal changes. I got a child, I quit drinking alcohol; I was drinking quite much for the last ten years. [laughs] I always went partying, partying, partying. It's a cool life, but I also appreciate other things. If you live a really hard rock life, you're not able to see things that happen in the morning like the sun rising. I really enjoy watching buildings, going to libraries, visiting museums… I'm very interested in architecture. It's a new healthy strong feeling I have now.

The new songs have been recorded in Sweden by Martin Hansen. Why did you choose him?

Lauri: We worked with him before. We did "Dead Letters", "In The Shadows" and all our big hits together. We could just call him and ask what he's doing in October. We have songs, let's make an album! Everything was so fast and easy. That was also part of the plan we had: working with a guy who we knew before. And it's good to go to another country. If we would work in Helsinki, maybe it's too close to real life.

Which obstacles did you have to overcome during the recording process?

Lauri: It was totally painless and relaxed. That sounds boring, I know. [laughs] But we really enjoyed that we didn't have to spend months in the studio. We had a really good preparation. We knew how we gonna play the songs and then we just went into the studio and pushed the button. That was it!

How long have you been in the studio?

Lauri: The album was done in two different parts, because we had a couple of gigs in Mexico in between. It was kind of strange, because we were in the middle of the studio process, then we had these gigs, we had to rehearse the old songs and then came back into the studio for recording the new songs. That was really confusing.

The new album is simply called "The Rasmus". I guess, the reason for this is not a lack of creativity in finding a perfect album title, isn't it?

Lauri: I know, it might be a bit strange that our eights album is self-titled. Usually it's the first album. But this time we made the album on our own, felt self-confident – so the title is a good stand for it.

You already said that "I'm A Mess" is the first single of the new album. Some kind of self-reflection?

Lauri: There're a lot of personal feelings in this one. The idea behind the song is very simple: Nobody is perfect. The song was born very quickly and by accident.

How would you describe your character nowadays in comparison to the time starting with The Rasmus?


Lauri: Well, of course I've changed. But still there are some parts of me that will never change. Of course we're getting older, I'm now 32. But since we started at the age of 15, some part of me is still 15. [laughs] Time stopped in some levels. Things got frozen. For example, when we're in the tourbus, the jokes are still the same as they've always been. Like I said, it's a very deep friendship. So it's a good place to be in this band. I feel kind of safe as we trust in each other. It's a strong feeling being in the band. But also I feel growing up. I became a father, I changed my way of living. I really wanna my kid to have a good future and I want to take care of him. We're travelling a lot, so I really wanna be at home as much as I can.

Is your son already stepping in your shoes? Does he realize what his dad is doing?

Lauri: Yeah, but I think for him it's very natural that dad is on TV or singing in the radio. Maybe he's still too young. He's three years old now.

Lots of bands who come up with a new album often change their visual image. But you still have the black feathers in your hair. Why are they so deep-rooted with you since 2003 and "In The Shadows"?

Lauri: I just feel that they became a part of me. Maybe it's more like this alter ego feeling. Do you know the story with Dumbo?

The elephant?

Lauri: Yeah, the Disney figure. When he got the feather, he thought that he can fly. [laughs] Well, there is some magic power, I think, it gives me a good feeling to have the feathers on.

You'll be soon on tour presenting the new album live on stage. How does a The Rasmus show look like in 2012?

Lauri: We have cool plans for the tour. We want to give every song a special treatment. I hope we can do this. At least we have some really special effects, so that will be nice. This time it's kind of a small tour. We only play for about two weeks. The venues will be smaller, so we'll be intimate close to the audience. But we will come back after the summer for a longer tour. We will also play in other German cities then.

In two years it's time for celebrating the 20 years band anniversary. What are your plans for this highlight?


Lauri: Well, we haven't really thought about that yet. When we had the 15th anniversary, we played a concert on the same stage where we had our first gig. It was in a school in Helsinki. It was a nice event. I think we won't prepare anything massive for the 20th anniversary, because it's cooler to do a little concert like that in the school.



Interview: Lea S.
Fotos: taken & (c) by Hiroshi Manaka / taken from Universal
Website Band: www.therasmus.com

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(c) Zillo Musikmagazin / Ausgabe 05/12 / www.zillo.de
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