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This year, the Finnish band got it exactly right. You can’t even accuse them of being some sort of overnight corporate entity. Breakthrough album ‘Dead Letters’ is their fifth, and like lead single ‘In The Shadows’, it turned out to be a runaway success. The Rasmus have been working towards this for years, and thoroughly deserve the fruits of their long labour…their overwhelming commercial success throughout Europe will ensure they remain major players in 2005.”
Kerrang Yearbook, December 2004

Last year was a remarkable year for four young men from Helsinki. After 11 years together as a band, and each still only 24 years old, they finally captured Europe with the release of their fifth studio album, ‘Dead Letters’. With over a million and a half copies sold worldwide, eight Gold and five Platinum Awards, and Top 10 placings in eleven countries for their signature anthem ‘In The Shadows’, which was the No.1 Most Played Video on MTV Europe, THE RASMUS had finally made it.

In the UK alone, debut single release ‘In The Shadows’ entered the singles chart at No.3 in April, remained in the Top 10 for seven weeks, sold more than 180,000 copies and was one of the Top 20 Best Selling Singles of 2004. The video reached No.1 on the UK TV Airplay Chart. ‘Dead Letters’, also out in April, sold Platinum sales of over 300,000 copies, and was in the Top 50 best selling albums of the year. They sold out two UK tours, in April and October, plus two stand-alone consecutive nights at the London Astoria in June, and were nominated for two Kerrang Awards for Best International Newcomer and Best Single.

And now, the Finnish Grammy Award winning quartet are back with the follow-up to ‘Dead Letters’. Set for release on September 12th, ‘Hide From The Sun’ is the Helsinki-based foursome’s sixth studio outing. Displaying striking new textures through bold arrangements, the addition of strings and piano to the band’s signature infectious dark rock sound, topped off with Lauri’s smoldering vocal, results in an injection of Muse-like drama. It’s an album the band found easy to write despite the obvious pressures which come in following the success of smash hit singles ‘In The Shadows’, ‘Guilty’ and ‘First Day Of My Life’, singles which shot the band to the fore, took them around the world and saw them building up a massive and loyal fan base. “There are more contrasts in the music this time,” explains Lauri. “It’s beautiful melodies set against cutting lyrics, or sweet words over intense, heavy guitars. We’re proud of the arrangements on the new album.”

“Soundwise, we were more confident in what we wanted, this time more than ever,” says guitarist Pauli, something frontman Lauri agrees with: “When it came to writing the songs, everything felt so easy - that’s not only from the last year, it’s since we formed – we’ve been together 11 years now and that’s quite a history. We know each other so well we don’t need any words, the chemistry is such that you pretty much know what the other guys will play and if you get an idea for a song you can imagine what the others are going to do with it. To be able to play around the world gave us a lot of energy and it felt like we were feeding our minds – especially playing the last shows in Japan. After that, we went straight into the studio.”

‘Hide From The Sun’ was recorded at Stockholm’s Nord/Hansen Studios with producers Martin Hansen and Mikael Nord Andersson, the duo responsible for the band’s last two long-players ‘Into’ and ‘Dead Letters’. “We’ve made great progress with them, why would we break the winning team?” notes Lauri. “The communication between us has reached new levels – it’s much easier. It was also nice to record the album in Sweden instead of Finland, where we’d go home after the day’s recording and get separated. We were more focused on the band and a lot of our good ideas come after the day in the studio. We were confronting everything as a group; we lived in the same apartment in Stockholm and it was great that we could go and do something as a group in the evening - it made the band feel stronger.”

A feeling clearly reflected in ‘Hide From The Sun’, The Rasmus’ most confident outing yet, which sees them raising their own musical bar and experimenting with light and shade to produce attention-grabbing soundscapes with dark lyrical themes of hiding and escaping influenced by their hectic 12 months. As Lauri explains: “Last year was a crazy year and somehow it made me more aware of things. So far there’s a few key words for the album – escaping and hiding. It sounds a bit negative but it’s more like searching for your own feelings and emotions. A load of things happened in my life after ‘In The Shadows’ came out, a lot of positive things. I also saw a lot of shit and witnessed a lot of bad things; it was such a rollercoaster.” One of the most monumental experiences occurred in Mexico where the band stopped off at the pyramids at Teotihuacán, near Mexico City, and were enrolled into their Indian guide’s tribe! “These people are so down to earth,” recalls the singer. “I’ve always been into nature, it means ten times more to them than me or us so-called normal people in Europe, and meeting these people and getting so deep in their culture, made me stop and think.”

Spiritually re-invigorated, the songs came rolling out with tracks such as lead single, the hook-laden, power-rock track, ‘No Fear’, the obvious first choice single and, similarly as ‘In The Shadows’ had been to ‘Dead Letters’, one of the last songs that the band wrote and recorded, or the dynamic of ‘Shot’ or ‘Immortal’, both of which follow the theme of protecting those close to you and going beyond the call of duty to do so. Other songs include ‘Night After Night (Out Of The Shadows)’, a lyrical sequel to ‘In The Shadows’ and one of the album’s highlights, ‘Dead Promises’ with string arrangement by Finnish metallers-with-cellos, Apocalyptica, who have been linked to The Rasmus since they released ‘Bittersweet’, a single featuring a duet with Lauri and HIM’s Ville Valo. Lauri also added his vocal to ‘Life Burns’ from the band’s self-titled album. “It was a fair trade that they come and play on our album,” he laughs. “I had the riff for ‘Dead Promises’ a long time ago and thought of cellos for it, so it was a perfect match. When it came to arrangements, we had more ideas than the producers. I had some ideas, which started off on the piano; stuff I played on tour when I was killing time that made up the skeleton of the song. That’s why it’s important to record and memorise all those things you come up with while messing around because they could end up on the album!”

Forming 11 years ago and signing a deal with Warner Music Finland at 16, the band quit school for a life on the road. “You could say we were over-confident,” states Pauli. “We’ve always been over-confident, there was no other option. We weren’t thinking, ‘If we fail…’ it was more like, ‘We have to do this…’ We didn’t even think anything else.” They released their debut full-length ‘Peep’ which rapidly went Gold, followed by second-album ‘Playboys’, which again went Gold, earned them their first Emma (Finnish Grammy award) and saw them sharing stages with the likes of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rancid and Garbage. Third album ‘Hellofataster’ followed in 1999, the year which also saw former merch-guy Aki joining the line-up. Signing to Stockholm’s Playground Music in 2000, The Rasmus have since gone from strength to strength.

“I just felt, ‘Yes! Finally! It’s about time this happened’,” Lauri, once nicknamed Lintu the Finnish for bird, says. “I somehow knew it was going to happen, I had a feeling in my bones, but there’s still lots of things to learn. I think if we’d got this success five years ago we would be dead - it’s so crazy, full of temptation and things that mess your head up. It’s been good to grow up in the band and see things slowly grow with us, that’s very important.”
 

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