Cheers and thanks for taking your time for us. Could I kindly ask you to identify who and what you are?
A > Antti Loponen, the man behind Consciousness Removal Project.
I understand that "Consciousness Removal Project " is very much a solo venture, is that right?
A > That is true. I write all the songs and play most of the instruments on the albums. I only need help on the instruments I can't play such as drums or cello. Even in those cases I arrange the parts. I also take care of recording the music. For live concerts, CRP becomes a five-piece live band, but the guys play mostly the parts I played on the original recording. When you're working alone, the best ideas don't get diluted like often in democratic bands, where you have to make lots of compromises.
The band name "Consciousness Removal Project ", where does that come from?
A > I don't remember precisely, but I was posting demos of my songs onto the Internet back in 2004. The instrumental songs seemed to get the best reception, so I decided to make a separate project for them, and it needed a name. I guess the idea was to make music someone could fall asleep to. I was also into The Dillinger Escape Plan at the time, and thought their three-piece name was cool.
What is your earliest memory of music? What ignited your personal need to create music?
A > My earliest memories of music are probably some embarrassing songs I liked as a kid. I started playing piano before I went to school, and don't even remember much of that. I switched to guitar when I turned 11, and forming a band led to writing my own songs.
Do you see that "Consciousness Removal Project " has some redline, or carrying theme, throughout the discography?
A > It seems that apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic concepts seem to appear album after album, but on different scales and themes. I don't make plans further than one album at a time.
I have been listening to some of your works (free from Bandcamp) and a few words that come to my mind describing your music is "aggressive" "majestic" and "melancholic", even "beautiful". How would you discribe your works?
A > That's a nice description. I think the genre post-metal is the best single word to describe CRP, even though it probably annoys some purists. And CRP has always been to me more about the "post" than about the "metal".
How did you come to the conclusion of giving your music away for free online?
A > CRP used to be just my bedroom project, I would just write and record the songs at home and post them online for my friends while I was in another band that was actually signed to a record label. After "Do You Ever Think It's The End Of The World" in 2010 the exposure kinda exploded and people started asking for CD's and wondering why I give away my music for free. But that's just what I always did and thought it would remain that way. After all, I can record the music on my own, it basically doesn't cost me anything. I made a very limited CD pressing of the previous album "The Last Season", set the price low just to cover the expenses and it still sold out pretty quickly even though the free download was available the whole time.
Do you have any formal musical training?
A > Nothing else but the piano lessons I took when I was a kid. Learning music theory was useful, and I appreciate being able to play keyboards these days.
How composed are the songs you make for "Consciousness Removal Project "? Do you leave anything to chance in the process or is everything throughly calculated?
A > All CRP songs have a pretty complete demo when the actual recording begins, but there's always some room for experimenting and refining the parts during recording. And sometimes some parts are played so well on the demo with one take that I can't do it better with a hundred takes. In those cases, the feel goes before technical quality.
Where does the actual process of composing music start for you? What kind of things ignite your inspiration?
A > I just strum on a guitar at times to relax, and usually come up with interesting riffs, which I then record on the computer. I usually make "building blocks" of songs by recording one round of a riff on guitar, bass and programmed drums. Then I can copy and paste them to construct a structure of a song. Sometimes I combine these "blocks" from different song projects. Lyrics are a different story, they take more thought into it, although the actual words aren't usually finalized until I'm standing at the microphone, recording the vocals.
How has the audience accepted you (both live and on record)? What about the music media, any immortal reviews or articles you remember?
A > It has been very positive both ways. I appreciate all feedback, be it positive or negative. Sure, it was great to be featured on Terrorizer's blog or to get 4/5 from Rumba, which is one of the biggest music magazines in Finland, but still all reviews, blog posts and message board comments make me feel every bit as good.
In retrospective, how do you view the evolution of "Consciousness Removal Project "?
A > Hard to say. I never meant CRP to be even this popular, or to last this long. Sure, a turning point was in 2007 when the metal edge was added to the equation and the live collective was formed. The second turning point was in 2010 when CRP became my main band and people started actually listening to it. Still, the most important thing about CRP is to be my own little bedroom music project that just puts out albums and plays concerts at times.
Do you have any final wishes or last words before the last goodbye?
A > Thanks for the interview and thanks to all listeners. A new album is in the making and should be released later this year! It will be slightly different than the latest ones, but I hope you all still enjoy it.
Many thanks for your time.
Live photos: Mikko Pajulahti
Promotional photos: Ville Salminen