Stepping out from behind the shadows and onto the Eurovision stage for the first time are Finland’s rock idols The Rasmus.
The veteran hitmakers, who’ve been releasing music since 1996, are now up for a new challenge. Bassist Eero Heinonen summed it up pretty well when the band was asked about dipping their toes into the Eurovision Song Contest pool for the first time:
Maybe in this COVID time, we want to do something fun and different. This is something we’ve never done, and we’d like to be part of this environment!
Even though they’re one of Finland’s biggest musical exports of all time, lead singer Lauri Ylönen understands the blessing and challenge of coming into a competition when they already have a track record of chart success.
It’s an interesting angle that we have a history, with a huge hit [2003's 'In the Shadows’], which was a success in a lot of the countries in the Contest. I’m curious to see if that will cause a reaction and wake up the beast! Maybe there’s a nostalgic side to it, but bands are always measured by their latest song. The past is the past.
The group is coming to Turin with their rock anthem Jezebel, which puts a modern spin on the story of the eponymous biblical figure, a woman of great beauty, power, and, unfortunately, cruelty. Lauri explains:
Our 'Jezebel’ is more about the modern girl (or boy) who is feeling confident, responsible for their own life, and feeling independent, rebellious and a little bit dangerous.
Speaking of fearless women, guitarist Emilia ‘Emppu’ Suhonen, is an advocate for other young ladies to pick up a guitar and rock out. Emppu, who started learning guitar from the age of five, would love to see more opportunities for kids of all genders to learn to play:
There are unfortunately a lot of little girls who are hesitant to grab a guitar or form a rock band, even though music should be gender-free. Maybe there should be more support from society and school. That early environment is crucial, so girls would be more likely to pick up instruments and play.
Emppu is the newest member of The Rasmus, having just joined the band this past winter. Although Lauri, Eeri, and drummer Aki Hakala have been playing together for over twenty years, Emppu feels that she fits right in with her musical brothers, and is happy that the four of them are going through the Eurovision experience together.
There have been a lot of changes in my life. I kind of feel that it’s easier to do this with the band, even though I’m new, but this whole ‘Eurovision thing’ is new for us all. The four of us together are experiencing something new. If we had gone for a tour first, the guys would have known what to do, and I would have been the newbie, but we’re all newbies here!
It just goes to show that even if you’ve been rocking stages around the world for decades and have shelves filled with trophies and gold records, there’s always a place to grow and experience something brand new.
The Rasmus will be opening up the Second Semi Final on Tuesday 10 May.