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With Force, and exclusive interview with Conforza Frontman Mykel Raymond

Conforza is a progressive metal band hailing from Souther New Hampshire, that brings brute force, technical skill, and wildly creative song composition. With their new album "Beyond Being" due out March, 15th I reached out in the first month of the New Year to Conforza's lead singer Mykel Raymond. We discussed everything from the bands name'e meaning, to their future plans and what made Mykel pursue music. Make sure you go like Conforza on Facebook and check out their new album when it drops on March, 15th.

Mykel Raymond live

Ryan Whitfield- So I figured lets start basic, and go with where did the name Confroza Come From?

Mykel Raymond- The term Con Forza is actually an Italian music term, meaning to play "with Force"

Ryan Whitfield- And what does that name mean to the band?

Mykel Raymond- I guess we've always had a lot of pride in writing aggressive music with a lot of twists and turns in style. We all come from diverse musical backgrounds that we like to collectively bring to the table when writing.

Ryan Whitfield- So take me to the beginning, how did Conforza start?

Mykel Raymond- It started out as a high school band for Jesse, Matt and Mikey. They became Conforza in 2008 with a different vocalist, Nick Taylor. In 2009 I took over as the vocalist and in 2010, we were fortunate enough to have Desmond join us on bass. We've definitely evolved musically over the past 4 years, and we're very excited to release our new album "Beyond Being".

Ryan Whitfield- What's the goal of your music if there is one?

Mykel Raymond- The goal of our music is to just relate to it. Musically or lyric wise, all we want you to do is enjoy it. That's why we play, because we enjoy it.

Ryan Whitfield- Honestly you can tell when bands fake their enjoyment and it really shows through that you guys authentically enjoy what you're creating. What would you say is your biggest achievement so far?

Mykel Raymond- I'd say it's that we have successfully funded everything we have done ourselves. We've never needed or wanted a gimmick, and will never use one. We write music to express ourselves and hopefully share with someone who is willing to connect with it. We have lasted through a lot of terrible times and some of the best times we could imagine being in an unsigned band. We play because we love music.

Ryan Whitfield- Being home grown is absolutely something to take a lot of pride in. And looking ahead, five years from now where is Conforza?

Mykel Raymond- Creating music of some form. Whatever becomes of us as a whole, we'll enjoy each and every moment we get to perform and write. We have received an unbelievable amount of love and support from every where we have played. We are always grateful for every opportunity we get to play.

Ryan Whitfield- Now as a New England bas what would say is the best part of being in the local scene?

Mykel Raymond- There is so much music in this region and not many people take advantage of it. Seek more. There's so much creativity out in this world and not many people get to see it. Any where you may travel will have this. The best part about being in a band from New England is that this is our home, and this is what we offer the music world. We support people who put their heart and soul into their music. Those are the musicians who mean something to this world.

Ryan Whitfield- Underground scenes are really too often overlooked for sure. I want to get into some individual questions starting with what inspires you as musician?

Mykel Raymond- I think people can take and use anything as inspiration in music. Me personally, I don't think there is anything better than jamming on a song you have no idea where it'll bring you. Music can express every emotion you feel, it's up to you, to interpret it the way you want it.

Ryan Whitfield- What's your music background? Past bands, did you play an instrument growing up etc.?

Mykel Raymond- I have been playing and creating music since I was 13 years old. My sister and I would jam in our apartment growing up with her on guitar and myself on bass. We'd write songs to pre-existing drum tracks she had on a cd she ordered. That's when I first experienced how creating music could make you feel alive. I went through a lot of bands in my teens and early 20s. I joined a grind core band called Garantula out of Haverhill Ma, and at that point i really started trying to find my scream and technique. I joined Conforza in 2009, and have never looked back. This band is full of incredible musicians who play their hearts out. These are 4 of my best friends in whole world, and being able to create and perform something so real and pure is the greatest high in life.

Ryan Whitfield- At what age did you know you wanted to pursue music, that this was it for you?

Mykel Raymond- I was 13, in a band with some friends and we watched a few Ozzfest videos and i saw how much raw energy a band could bring live and it became an instant goal. Not to become some rich asshole, but to play music in front of people, who may or may not get what you're doing but can appreciate and respect you for showing your hard work off.

Ryan Whitfield- I think growing up in the early 2000's most of us got inspired through Ozzfest, Warped Tour and Hellfest DVD's. Before they had youtube that was how you got live footage and I remember doing the same thing at 14 in Freshman year when I started playing too. Back to the local scene for a minute, who are some local bands on the top of your list right now?

Mykel Raymond- Pathogenic, HiveSmasher, Vatnett Viskar, Great American Ghost, Cryptodira, Fall Of The Albatross, Astronoid, The Summoned, Matahari, Monarch, My Missing Half, Ride Awakening. i could go on for so much longer. We've had the honor of sharing the stage with so many amazing bands who have become such great friends!

Ryan Whitfield- I wanted to end with more of a phillosophical big-picture type question. If you music can achieve one thing, spread one message what would it be?

Mykel Raymond- No matter what anyone says, whatever you read.. You are you.. You are beautiful and you were made for a reason, a purpose. Believe in everything you do, as small or huge as it may be. Because everything is possible to everyone. It matters only to you, and you are the only one who can bring it to life.

I want to thank Mykel for doing this interview with me and peeling back the curtains of the Conforza machine for a few. Make sure you check the band out and check back here in March for a full review on "Beyond Being".

Follow me on Twitter @RyanWhitfieldRM and on Instagram @RyanW3373

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