According to Ylönen, the Rasmus' new album brings back fun and risk-taking to the band's music. Ylönen says The Rasmus has earned gratitude in Russia by playing in larger cities that lie far from Moscow, such as Chelyabinsk and Kazan. REWIND, FAST FORWARD When success is based on well-timed tricks, that success can be extremely difficult to repeat. Ylönen found that out in 2005 when The Rasmus's album Hide from the Sun sold 15,000 copies in the UK about one-twentieth as many as the 290,000 copies of Dead Letters sold there. Ylönen has since admitted that as a result of their sudden success, the group tried to be something they weren't. The popularity of "In the Shadows" trapped the band into a stereotype from which they couldn't escape. The rest was an album full of contrived music, which Ylönen now says was not really The Rasmus. "I realised that the idea of The Rasmus has been to try out any and all ideas," Ylönen says. Ylönen was not content to lick his wounds. Instead he decided to rediscover his old idearich seam of creativity. He spent three years writing songs for the Black Roses album, which was released last autumn. As Ylönen sees it, the disc brings back a sense of fun and risk-taking to the band's music. The album became the group's most extravagant and expensive project to date. "We found this amazing new self-confidence. It was as if we had been possessed by something on our previous albums," he muses. As producer of the album, the group hired American music business legend Desmond Child, known for writing such smash hits as Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca," Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name" and Kiss's "I Was Made for Loving You." Ylönen says that Child approached the band and proposed the collaboration. Sound-wise, the collection is poppier than ever. According to Ylönen, the group decided it would rather go in the direction of, say, recent Britney Spears than heavy metal which led to the band's own description of the music as "death pop." Despite its ambitious production, Black Roses did not take off as hoped after its release in late September. As of early February, the album had only sold some 135,000 copies internationally, 5,000 of which were in the UK. HOME FIRES BURNING Despite their happier sound, The Rasmus's new songs feature lyrics suffused with death, bitterness and loss although you would not guess the latter from Ylönen's cheerful, laidback mood. Last spring, his partner Paula Vesala, singer with the popular Finnish rock duo PMMP, gave birth to their first child, Julius. "That's been really great; I arrived in a good mood for this interview because I spent most of the morning with my son. It helps you forget all the crap." Guitarist Rantasalmi became a father last summer, now all of four band members have kids. That will have an effect on future tours. Whereas in the past the group played as many as 250 concerts a year, tours will from now have to be shorter and more concentrated to allow for more family time. "That's a good thing," says Ylönen. "It helps keep you focused on what you're doing." The Rasmus's European tour continues through the spring with March dates in Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Bilbao and April dates in Bochum, Frankfurt, Vienna and Haus im Ennstal. www.therasmus.com MARCH 2009 BLUE WINGS 47
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