Interview with Robert McClung from Telergy

September 8th 2015

The brainchild by Robert McClung, Telergy have been active since 2009 and during the period of six years McClung put out three albums. The newest offering is this year’s “Hypatia” which features guest contributions from Durga McBroom-Hudson (Pink Floyd), Scott Page (Toto, Supertramp), David Ragsdale (Kansas), Chris Caffery (Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Mike LePond (Symphony X), Oliver Palotai (Kamelot), Anna Phoebe (Jethro Tull), to name but a few. In an interview with Perfect Prog, Robert talks about the new album, but also the project’s future.

How do you feel now that “Hypatia” has been released?

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Robert: Relieved! Each album takes years of intense work. It's nice to have it finally done and out to the world. Gives me time to relax a little before doing it all over again.

Are you satisfied with feedback you received so far?

Robert: Absolutely! It has gotten many great reviews and lots of wonderful compliments. There are still a small handful of people who complain about the spoken word segments and the lack of lyrics, but if they don't like it, they don't have to listen to it. I'm not changing my artistic vision to please them. I need to please myself first and foremost, or this wouldn't be worth doing in the first place.

What was recording process like considering that there are many great musicians involved?

Robert: Tedious and time consuming. But that's the stuff I thrive on. Getting all of the different audio files and sheet music out to the right players, waiting for them to get their parts done around their busy recording and touring schedules, sometimes arranging studios near them to get their parts done,  getting the files back and assembling them together in my studio. All of that stuff takes allot of planning and work. But it's worth it. The results speak for themselves. It's like a giant musical puzzle, I'm just the person putting all the pieces together to make it a coherent picture.

How do you feel about the album’s production?

Robert: Great! It sounds fabulous. All the players gave it 110%. Emmanuel De Saint Meen and Steven Francis at Tailor Made Mastering did a splendid job on the final mastering. There are a couple spots in the mix I wish I could have had more time to tweak. But you could obsess about little things like that forever. At some point you just have to step back and let it be what it is.

Explain your choice of making an album based on the story of Hypatia.

Robert: I felt her's was a story that hasn't gotten nearly enough attention. Most kids don't learn about her in school. I saw this as an opportunity to bring her story to a wider audience

How do you feel “Hypatia” differs musically from the previous two albums?

Robert: It's similar in it's overall style. The heavy, symphonic, progressive rock vibe. Mostly instrumental with bits of spoken word acting in between the long musical segments. That is the same. But there was some room to play with bits of electronica and jazz on this album. That was fun. We also recorded one of the pieces live, which was a totally new adventure.

Are there any outtakes off the album that didn’t make it to the final release? Do you have in plan to release these someday?

Robert: No. Not in as far a musical pieces in the whole. Everything that is written appears on the albums. There are definitely alternate solo takes and different arrangement ideas that weren't' used. But those are hardly worth releasing. And who knows, they might end up being used on future albums?

What does the future hold for Telergy?

Robert: I haven't decided yet. I'm still searching for the right story for the next album. I have had some great suggestions. So right now I am just enjoying my down time and doing lots of reading. Once I have found the story that I feel best works within the Telergy format, I'll put out the call and we'll all go for another ride.

Have you seen any great shows recently?

Robert: I saw Nightwish a few months ago. Fantastic! Their new Celtic pipe player adds so much to the band. I also saw Kansas recently. Their music never gets old for me. Always a huge inspiration. To have David Ragsdale involved with the Hypatia album was such an honor. I can't wait for their new album. Their first one in fifteen years, it's going to be incredible!!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Robert: Thank you to all our fans all over the world who have supported and believed in this unique musical storytelling form. Your kind words and support mean the world to me and all the players involved with Telergy. I hope we can keep sharing this wonderful thing we have built together. Thank you!!

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Interview by: Annie Grossmann