The Rasmus frontman Lauri Ylonen reveals band was ‘about to break up’ before Eurovision: ‘It saved us from destruction’

Lauri Ylonen has opened up on how close The Rasmus came to splitting up for good, before Eurvision brought hope back to the band (Picture: Redferns)

frontman Lauri Ylonen has revealed the band came close to splitting up as lockdown and personal struggles drove the members apart.

Lauri, Eero Heinonen, Aki Hakala and new guitarist Emilia ‘Empu’ Suhonen stormed back into the limelight this summer as they with new single Jezebel.

While they didn’t get the result they – or their masses of fans – were hoping for, Eurovision saw the Finnish four-piece , some of whom may not have followed them since .

But Eurovision represented much more than that, as Lauri tells

‘I think it was really something that saved us from destruction. It was just perfect timing for something like that,’ he says.

‘It really was important at this point, because we were really almost about to break up before all these good things started to happen.

‘Everything , and I was thinking, what if this is the end? If we don’t get to play anymore?

‘It was, for a moment, very devastating.’

The Rasmus, complete with new guitarist Empu, stormed back to the spotlight on the Eurovision platform (Picture: AP)
The band made a big impression with their unconventional act even if they didn’t get the winning result (Picture: Eurovision Song Contest)

Lauri previously revealed to that The Rasmus had been working on new record when they decide to stop it in its tracks and go for Eurovision instead, which, as he has now revealed, ended up to be a saving grace for the band.

That album, Rise, is set to release on 23 September and features hit single Jezebel, as well as new track, titular song Rise.

Which, amid an album full of darkness, is extraordinarily hopeful – despite Lauri being at his ‘lowest point’ when he wrote it and ready to leave The Rasmus for good.

The singer headed to Greece, where he met with Black Roses producer Desmond Child, and together the pair created their two newest tracks.

The Rasmus are now as strong as ever as they return wit e new album and tour (Picture: Venla Shalin )

‘Rise was the first song we started working on,’ Lauri says.

‘I was actually literally lying on the sofa, and [Desmond] was like my therapist – making notes, asking me questions about my life.

‘And I was telling him everything, all the s*** that could come out of me.

‘The band was really doing bad at the time. I was really feeling like I should go solo or something. I told him that, you know, I’m gonna quit.

‘And then he was the one who said “you know, if you go solo, nobody gives a f***!”

‘He put me back on track. Definitely. He’s a wise man.’

At the same time, The Rasmus was dealing with founding member Pauli Rantasalmi quitting the band, which Lauri admits came as a shock – but of course, ‘I was considering it myself.’

During that time, The Rasmus as a whole was in danger of being dissolved, with Lauri describing the situation as everything being ‘up in the air.’

The band had been separated, with Lauri in Hawaii and Australia and the other members in Finland – and newly-instated Covid restrictions made everything even harder.

‘We’re trying to put this album together and I was really, actually, I was depressed,’ the frontman confesses.

‘But then things started to get better. And [Pauli] left and he was a gentleman, he said, like, “I’m just gonna leave and leave you guys space to grow, wherever you want to go.”

Pauli was a funding member of The Rasmus, which started when the friends were in high school (Picture: REX/Shutterstock)
Aki, Lauri, Eero and Pauli enjoyed a massive hit with their track In The Shadows, and Pauli has now been replaced by ew guitarist Emppu (Picture: WireImage)

Lauri explained that, during the writing of the new album, Pauli worried he was ‘hitting the brakes too much’ when it came to new ideas, and ‘didn’t want to be the guy who’s always against things.’

‘I seemed to have a lot of ideas,’ Lauri explains. ‘At that time, [Pauli] didn’t have ideas, but he didn’t like any other ideas, so it wasn’t really creative. Like, if you’re working in a team, if you don’t like something, you better come up with something better. That’s how it works.

After Pauli left, Lauri says, ‘it was like a plug that we pulled out. And all of a sudden, we were back in the flow.

‘If you don’t want it anymore, then do something else. Like, you’ve got to love it. You’ve got to be the best every night.’

Now complete with a new member Empu, The Rasmus are ready to make music for a long time to come (Picture: AFP)

Now – in what will be a relief for fans of the band – there are no plans for The Rasmus to break up, and despite their newest album still weeks away from release, they’re already working on the next, with time in the studio booked and new songs ready to be recorded.

They’re also ready to set out on a massive tour in October and November, with multiple dates in the UK, and Lauri more than ready to get back to the energy of headline shows after a summer of festival sets.

‘I think this is going to be a great, emotional ride with a lot of good memories,’ he says of the upcoming tour.

‘When you play in front of your own fans, it’s amazing. They know all the lyrics almost to every song (no mean feat when you consider The Rasmus have nine studio albums reaching back to 1996).’

‘And it’s just magnificent, that power in that room.

The Rasmus return to London in November, after last playing the O2 Forum in 2019 (Photo by Venla Shalin/Redferns)

‘It’s something indescribable, and I sometimes laugh at it because I think it’s so funny that, you know… for one hour and a half we all go crazy and scream and shout and then we go home. Like why would you do that? That’s so funny to think about!’

The band are eager to see fans new and old at the gigs, as they prepare to show ‘who we are in 2022.’

‘I think I would say we’re better than ever!’ he says, grinning: ‘I’m really confident that we are the best band in the world!’

It sounds like The Rasmus are set to stick around for a long time to come.

Rise is released on 23 September; tickets for UK shows are available now.


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