a project founded by multi-instrumentalist Robert McClung released earlier
this year their third studio album. As it was case with the previous two
records, an amazing line-up of guest musicians contributed to "Hypatia,"
and about this all and more, Robert talked with us.
is out for some time now and I have to say that this album has gathered
up pretty good coverage, what really intrigued me. Are you satisfied how
this turned out? Please tell us more about creating, as well as recording
process of “Hypatia”.
very satisfied. It definitely feels like I've reached a new high in my
abilities as a writer
and producer. And to have the respect and admiration of my peers and influences
who now work with me in Telergy
is very exiting.
an opinion that “Hypatia” is heavier than anything you’ve
put out to date. Much more experimentation, this album brings out probably
the most symphonic sound you could pull out yourselves. Do you agree?
album starts with the story. I spend months reading and doing research
on the subject. Then I begin to form ideas on how the music will best portray
the different aspects of the story.
recording process for Telergy albums is very long and cumbersome.
It's not like I can get forty musicians in a studio at the same time and
just let them rip. I spend over a year just writing and arranging all the
basic tracks before I start sending sheet music and audio files out to
all the players. From there local musicians will come to my home studio
to record their parts. People who live abroad will record their parts in
their own studios, or studios near them, and send audio files back to me.
Then it's my job to assemble everything and make it cohesive. It's a giant
puzzle, or as one person described it, musical Lego blocks.
definitely. I tried to make the best of all the amazing people I have available
to me. Making sure that the orchestral instruments were highlighted just
as much as the rock instruments. I wanted more dynamics. The rock riffs
heavier, the orchestral sections more spacious and lush, and each intertwined
in a smooth way. There was also the opportunity to play with bits of jazz
and electronica. that's was fun. Always cool to try new things.
you compare the new album and previous two, where do these recordings stand
in your opinion?
love all the albums, they are like my children. I am proud of every one.
Each has it's own unique color and feel. Certainly there is development
over time, as with any artist. The first Pink Floyd albums sound drastically
different from where they ended up later on in their careers. Same with
Zeppelin or Yes. As an artist you grow and feel the need to experiment
with new things over time. Never changing would be boring.
the music you play is described simple as symphonic prog. This looks kinda
“multicolored” and I’m interested to know about your influences.
think the production quality from the first to the second album jumped
up significantly, as I learned the craft better and honed in on the sounds
I was shooting for. I think the new album has the best mix of dynamics,
and the one before had some cool vocal sections. Each different, but enjoyable
in it's own way.
grew up on the classic rock of the 70's. The more progressive artists of
that era were the ones that seam to capture my attention the most. Pink
Floyd, Yes, Kansas, Rush, etc. As a teenager in
the late 80's, early 90's I was drawn into the heavy metal scene. And yet
again it was the more progressive artist within the genre that sparked
my interest. Queensryche, Dream theater, Savatage,
mentioned above that “Hypatia” feels multicolored. Do you
think that it could be said that the record is also “multicultural,” considering
the story and the elements it’s built of?
also very inspired by Broadway musicals. I love Andrew Lloyd Webber and
Gilbert and Sullivan. I spent many years playing in theater pit orchestras.
It was great training as a developing composer. Clearly the spoken word
acting portions of Telergy come from this influence. Over the years some
critics have bashed these segments as being "pompously theatrical" and
"Disney-esque". I actually take those critiques as a compliment, because
that's exactly what what I was shooting for. If someone can't look beyond
the stereotypical boundaries of how normal rock music is presented, that's
their problem, not mine. I'm not going to sacrifice my artistic vision
just because some critic is too closed minded to accept a new way of presenting
There are people from all over the world on the album. Allot of different
musical and cultural backgrounds being mixed together. The story is based
in Egypt, but it was at the time of Roman occupation. And it was the cultural
clashes of different religious groups that lead to Hypatia's demise. So
yes, I do hope that tension comes through in the music.
impart into your music a variety of instruments that give you a very eclectic
feeling. Is it hard to arrange and structure all the instruments in a song?
Describe the creation process of a Telergy song.
sometimes it is hard. Getting so many sounds to blend smoothly is a delicate
balancing act. I start each piece thinking about the feelings or emotions
of the scene I'm trying to portray. I then pick what instruments I feel
would best represent that feeling. Once a rhythm or melody has been established
I just start to break out from that point and bring in other instruments
I feel push the story along and allow the listener to visualize the events
that are being portrayed, through the notes themselves.
is it like to make an album for Telergy? How much time do
you set aside for the music and how long does it take to build a concept
and make a story out of it? Are these two separate parts of one big process?
album takes about two years from start to finish. I have a full time job
as a music teacher, so I must find the time for Telergy around
that. Mostly nights, weekends and school vacations. I always have the basic
story outline in place before I start the music. Which takes a couple months.
Once that is done I know how many musical pieces there will be and what
they need to represent.
is a project, and that means that due to many obvious reasons you don’t
perform live. Have you ever thought of gathering a line-up and performing
get asked that question very often. I would love to find a way to have
Telergy performed live. But to do so would require dozens of musicians,
weeks of rehearsals, a very large hall and massive amounts of production.
All of which would cost a fortune. As much as I might like to see it happen
I just don't have the budget to take it to that level. Telergy is very
grandiose and it's just not the kind of thing that's going to work in a
small club with a handful of people. So until a financial backer comes
along who wants to sink some money into the operation, the odds of it happening
are highly unlikely.
forming Telergy, have you been involved with any other projects or bands?
many. I have toured and recorded with a very long list of people and recorded
many albums with them and as a solo artist. You can see the full list on
my personal website (robertmcclung.net). The one that some people might
recognize is I had a short stint as the fill-in touring guitarist for the
Irish soul band The Commitments. It was great honor, and the handful of
shows I played with them certainly exposed me to the larger world of the
music industry outside my local scene.
comes next? Should we expect something new from Telergy in
the near future?
will definitely be something at some point, but I can't speculate as to
when right now. I'm just starting to research a few different story ideas.
Once I have pinpointed what the story is it's usually a two year process
to pull it together. But I'm not going to rush it. It will be done whenever
it is ready. I want whatever it is to be the best it can be.
Legend of Goody Cole (2013)
Mcclung – Guitar, Bass, Violin, Viola, Mandolin, Piano, Organ,
Keyboards, Flute, Balalaika, Ukulele, Sitar, Lap Steel, Bodhran, Percussion,
Tenor And Baritone Vocals, Mob Vocals
McClung's exemplary and diverse career all began when he was a very small
boy. His magical, musical journey began with his Grandfather, Donald Mcullick,
a country singer/guitarist, who spent the 1950's touring and performing
with blockbuster artists such as Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison.
Grandpa would take his young protege out to the swing under the apple tree
in the backyard and show him songs on an old acoustic guitar. He would
later give that guitar to Robert. That guitar was the key to the music
box of Robert's life. A life long dedicated to the art and craft of music.
high school years were very non-traditional. While most students spent
time at football games and pep rallies, Robert spent his time performing
in pit orchestras and composing for local theater companies. His extensive
theater credits include work with the Hampton Playhouse, the Portsmouth
Academy of Performing Arts, the Seacoast Reparatory Company and the Portland
Stage Company. Robert was comfortable on both sides of the stage. He was
an accomplished performer, composer and overall technical advisor even
in his teens.
graduating High School, Robert took on the daunting task of recording his
first solo album "Obstacles Overhead". The album featured members of Capitol
Records recording artists Thanks to Gravity and Pondering Judd. All of
his hard work paid off and the album received airplay on many local radio
allure and glamour of the Rock and Roll life soon called, and Robert found
himself fronting a heavy Metal power trio called Nine Shades of White.
The group toured extensively throughout the east coast, and recorded two
well received albums.
taking time to record projects with Boston based singer Rick Skeehan and
the world renowned Irish folk group the Makem Brothers, Robert joined a
group called Two Much Trouble, and performed on their album "Frankenstein".
The group earned a wild reputation with its heavily modified tour bus that
spit flames and transformed into a mobile stage.
the summer of 1997 Robert was enlisted as the lead guitarist for the premier
seacoast rock group 202 The Band. For the next 5 years he rocked crowds
every weekend all over the New England area. In 2002 the group released
the album "En Route". Many of the songs featured on the album were either
written or co-written by Robert.
anxious to take drastic "left turns" along his musical path, Robert accepted
an invitation by the renowned New York City based jazz guitarist Larry
Simon to perform in two of his large scale new age, rock, jazz ensembles,
Collective Consciousness and Infinite Soul. Each group sported, at times,
over twenty members. This setting not only gave Robert the chance to tread
on new musical ground, but it also gave him the chance to explore new instruments
like mandolin and electric violin. Robert now plays an electric violin
custom made for him by Mark Wood of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
and Roll of course was never far from his heart, so of course he did just
that. Robert next found himself playing second guitar for his close friend
and virtuoso guitarist Dan Miller in the Dan Miller Band. This heavy metal
goliath created enough of a rumble to make it into the final round of the
Boston based Beantown Meltdown battle of the bands.
2005 Robert finally found the time to release his second solo album, "Dust
Covered Man". Produced by Grammy nominated producer Mac Richey, it was
a somewhat dark and introspective, acoustic based, singer songwriter album
that featured flutist Cynthia Chatis and blues harmonica guru "Hatrack"
Gallagher. Robert's version of Pink Floyd's "Goodbye Blue Sky" had the
distinction of being voted the 2nd best cover of a Pink Floyd song on iTunes,
during 2005. Ritchie Havens, the internationally known folk singer, has
also given his stamp of approval on Robert's version of "Darkness Darkness".
the spring of 2007 Robert was given the immense honor of performing as
a member of the world famous Irish soul band "The Commitments" on their
2007 U.S. tour, filling in for the bands ailing original guitarist Kenneth
also saw the release of a series of Hypnotherapy CD's by therapist Sharon
O'Connor that featured music written and recorded by Robert. He has also
written music for independent films and television. Several pieces written
by Robert were used on the television series "Knights of Mayhem".
2007 Robert also found time to reunite with some of his old 202 band mates
in a short lived group called Stone Circle. Unfortunately the band was
shelved after the untimely death of their friend and bass player Dave Holebrook.
Another close friend and bandmate, Tom Doyle, passed in 2012.
2008 Robert had the pleasure to study with British classical guitar master
Edward Flower, expanding his already diverse background even more. Later
that year he was recruited to do transcriptions for Guy Davis, a popular
performer in the modern blues world and son of famous actor Ossie Davis.
2009 Robert was invited to join the faculty of Rocksource 360. An online
music school whose faculty includes Ben Connolly (RA), Jon Donais (Shadows
Fall), Dave Ellefson (Megadeth), Mike Mangini (Steve Vai, Dream Theater)
and Zak Stevens (Savatage, Trans- Siberian Orchestra).
also saw the birth of Robert's own recording studio, the Dragon's Den,
and the start of the project for which he is most well known, Telergy.
An orchestral progressive rock juggernaught that has swept the progressive
rock world by storm. Over the course of three albums, "The Exodus", "The
Legend of Goody Cole" and "Hypatia", the project has feautured performers
from such notable groups such as Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Yes, Kansas,
Queensryche, Twisted Sister, Night Ranger, Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra,
Sympony X, Kamelot, Rhapsody of Fire, Hawkwind, Magellan, Spock's Beard,
the Boston Symphony Orchestra and more.
2010 Robert joined with his old friend, blues singer, T.J. Wheeler to record
a record for the charity organization "Raising the Blues" a group that
provides music lessons for special needs and underprivileged children in
the New England area.
also saw Robert's return to acting, when German based toy company "Ravensburger"
enlisted him to voice the role of "the Gnome" in the new, electronic version
of their wildly popular "Labyrinth" game.
all his accomplishments as a writer, producer and performer, Robert has
also earned a reputation as a gifted music educator. Giving private instruction
at Equinox World Music in Portsmouth, NH, Exeter Music in Exeter, NH, and
serving for eight years as Assistant Director at Music Makers in Hampton,
recently, Robert was hired as the guitar instructor for the Lincoln Akerman
middle school in Hampton Falls, NH, where he teaches the next generation
of budding Rock stars.
Robert isn't making music he enjoys fine art, renaissance fairs and sleeping.
the journey continues...