Jaska Raatikainen was born in the town of Lappeenranta, in Finland. His first instrument was the piano, and during most of his childhood also played the French horn in a big band - a fact which later led him to be introduced to Alexander Kuoppala. It was only at the age of 12 that he began playing drums, he had his first double bass pedals before he owned a drum kit. He was inspired by musicians such as Scott Travis (from Judas Priest) and Mikkey Dee (from Motörhead). He has two brothers; Jussi Raatikainen, who plays for numerous professional Finnish metal bands, as well as Julius Raatikainen, who plays for melodic death metal band Kauna.
When Jaska met Alexi Laiho at school in the year of 1993, they realized that they had similar ideas and musical taste. Thus, they began playing together and idealizing the band which would one day become Children of Bodom. Jaska played a vital role in the formation of the band, since he was the one who brought both Alexander Kuoppala and Janne Wirman to their line-up. He also contributed some keyboards to their first demo, Ubiquitous Absence of Remission.
He is a quiet and reserved person who spends a lot of time by himself. Most of the time, he stays in single rooms in hotels and generally picks the beds on upper corners while traveling on tour buses. Interviews with him are rare, and despite being one of the founding members, he lets Alexi and Henkka Seppälä do most of the talking.
Up to the recording of the album Hatebreeder, Jaska was endorsed by Sonor drums and by Sabian cymbals. He eventually lost the deal with Sonor and for some time played with different drumsets, until settling with Pearl drums in 2003. His drumsticks are custom Millennium II sticks from Pro Mark with his name engraved on them.
Jaska has had some side projects, some of them unrelated to music. In the year of 2000 he was asked by the director of a popular Finnish soap opera (Siamin Tyttö) to play a special part on it. He played a character named Rauli for three episodes, until the character's death. He did have the chance to show some of his drumwork before that happened, though. According to Jaska, he had always dreamed of acting, but does not plan to take his career further.
He has also helped quite a few bands when they needed a competent drummer. During Sinergy's 2000 European tour, he replaced Tommi Lillman, who had injured his leg. The problem, however, was that this happened three days before the start of the tour, which meant that Jaska had to quickly learn how to play ten of Sinergy's songs. Despite the high degree of difficulty, he managed to perform very well, and fans of both bands enjoyed seeing both Jaska and Alexi on stage together with Sinergy. On the Suicide By My Side album's booklet, the band wrote a dedicatory to Jaska for, on to their own words: "saving our tour".
Jaska has also played in Virtuocity and Evemaster albums, but since those are both studio bands, he does not have to worry greatly about Children of Bodom's tour schedule, which already has to be calculated ahead to some extent, due to Alexi's active participation in Sinergy.
On the 2002 tribute to Chuck Schuldiner - mastermind of one of the most notable death metal bands of all time, Death - Jaska, who is a fan of the band, played a couple of cover songs with Norther.
Since 2003 Jaska has a side project with Norther guitarist Kristian Ranta entitled Gashouse Garden, which has not yet been signed to any recording label.
In early 2010 Jaska became the father of a baby girl.
Jaska Raatikainen Drumstick Collection
Current Drumstick Count in Collection: 3.