The Rasmus

The Rasmus biography

The Rasmus are a Finnish rock band that formed in 1994 in Helsinki while the band members were still in upper comprehensive school. The original band members were Lauri Ylönen (lead singer/songwriter), Eero Heinonen (bass), Pauli Rantasalmi (guitar) and Jarno Lahti (drums). Jarno Lahti left the year after and was replaced by Janne Heiskanen in 1995. Heiskanen quit the band in 1998 and was soon replaced by Aki Hakala. The Rasmus has sold 4 million albums worldwide, 400,000 copies in their native Finland alone. They have won numerous awards, both domestic and international.

While still in highschool, Lauri Ylönen, Eero Heinonen, Pauli Rantasalmi and Jarno Lahti formed the band "Rasmus". The band played their first gig at their schools pre-Christmas party (December 23, 1994). 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". In only a few weeks the EP had 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 early in 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 labeled as an EP, 3rd went No. 8 on the Finnish Singles Chart later that year.

Next year the band won an EMMA (the Finnish equivalent of Grammys) for the best new comer 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. Lauri wrote Liquid on Lauttasaari bridge. The band also wrote religious material which never saw daylight.

During 1999 Rasmus were headlining big festivals in Finland. Janne Heiskanen left the band after playing his last gig supporting Red Hot Chili Peppers. Janne decided to retire himself in meditation in India, where he lived for some years. This left the band in disarray and were close to breaking up. Aki Hakala, who had previously sold merchandise for the band, was eventually asked to become the new drummer. Together with Killer and Kwan they formed the Dynasty association a small, independent record label for recruiting new Finnish artists.

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