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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Interview with Telergy's Robert McClung
    Posted: September 12 2015 at 04:03
Multi-instrumentalist Robert McClung have been releasing albums with his project Telergy since 2011. Every of the three records includes guest contributions from names that in one way or another left or leave impact on the prog scene. In the interview below, Robert talks about the new album "Hypatia," instruments that he can play, influences, etc.

First of all, thank you for agreeing to do this interview. Would you like to tell us about this new album “Hypatia”? Are you satisfied how it turned out?

My pleasure.

The latest Telergy album tells the story of Hypatia of Alexandria. An important astronomer, mathematician, philosopher and teacher living in Roman controlled Egypt around the year 400 AD. She and her father were guardians of the library of Alexandria, Which was attacked and partially destroyed by a mob in 391. In 415 a religious and political uprising lead to her being brutally murdered. Most of her life's work was destroyed, and she was nearly erased from the historical record. By releasing this album I hope to make more people aware of her existence, and the importance of her work.

The albums features an incredible array of musicians, from bands such as Pink Floyd, Yes, Kansas, Queensryche, Kamelot and more!!

I'm absolutely satisfied. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined so many amazing musicians agreeing to be part of this project. The results are incredible. I was beating myself up over a few spots in the mix for awhile, but everyone seams to be enjoying it so far, so I guess I did a good job?

We understand that you’re a multi-instrumentalist. Would it be feasible to give us a list of every instrument you can play? Or would there not be enough room on the blog for that?

Yes, I do indeed play allot of instruments. But keep in mind that many of those instruments are similarly related. To me, all stringed instruments (guitar, bass, violin, mandolin, etc) are all just slight variations on the same concept. Take a string, pluck it or bow it to make a note, put your finger somewhere else on the string to make a different note. The size of the instrument, number of strings and tuning may change, but the basic Pythagorean principles apply to all of them. And while I do play a few non-stringed instruments like keyboards and flute, I'm hardly a master at them. I give the really complex bits to the pros who are far better than me. As the composer, producer and overall ring leader of Telergy I have more than enough to keep me busy anyway. So when you hear a ripping flute solo on a Telergy album, it's not me, it's the amazing work of Mattan Klein. When you hear that incredible keyboard solo, it's not me, it's Oliver Wakeman, Oliver Palotai or Ryo Okumoto. I can't take credit for their brilliance. 

A list of instruments I can make sound pleasing on a good day when I'm lucky would be guitar (acoustic, electric, 6, 7 and 12 string variations), bass, mandolin, violin, viola, sitar, ukulele, balalaika, lap steel, mandola, bouzouki, keyboards (including piano and organ) bodhran, djembe (and other various whacky percussion bits), flutes (many variations including standard concert flute, Chinese, Celtic and Native American, ocarina, fife, recorder, tin whistle, etc), and I can sing a bit too, if it's the right time of day and the wind is blowing the right direction it might even be in tune? Haha!!

What instruments do you consider the most fun to play, and what instruments do you consider the most fun to listen to? Personally, my top two are the Hammond organ and the flute. The latter especially if played by Ian Anderson or Joe Farrell.

I have been playing guitar longest, so that is easiest for me, and always fun at a party. I am constantly amazed by the instruments diversity and seemingly endless possibilities. I truly love listening to cello and violin. The expressiveness is so deep. I can get very emotional and brought to tears by good players.

What kind of music influences you?

I have been influenced by almost every style of music in some way, at some point, over the years. I have played in numerous different performance situations playing just about everything. But these days my listening tastes are mostly focused on prog and classical. I still enjoy some old school metal and the odd acoustic singer/songwriter once in awhile. But mostly prog and classical.

Which Telergy album would you say is your favorite if you had to pick (because of this insistent interviewer), and why?

At this point it would definitely be Hypatia. It took the most work and planning by far, and I think I have achieved a new high in my compositional abilities. 

Could you tell us something about the stories you have written about your albums?

The Exodus was the traditional biblical tale of the ancient Israelites fleeing slavery from Egypt. It's a story that's been done many times. I just tried to do it in a new way, with a bit of a fresh perspective. I'm not a Christian, so the focus was supposed to be more on historical facts than religious conjecture, while still being respectful of people's beliefs. I think I pulled it off?

The Legend of Goody Cole was about a woman that was wrongfully convicted of witchcraft in my home town in the 1600's. She was an elderly woman that was whipped, beaten, stripped of all her property and thrown in prison for fifteen years. She was buried in an unmarked grave, and rumors have always been told that her ghost can be seen walking the streets at night looking for her grave. We used the money from the album's sales to purchase her a proper headstone memorial for her after three hundred years. I like to think she has found it and that her ghost no longer needs to search.

I described the latest album, Hypatia, pretty well in an earlier question.

Speaking of concept albums, how you feel about the term "concept album". Who do you think made the first rock concept album anyway, The Beatles, Frank Zappa, or someone else entirely? One last thing: How do you see the evolution of the concept album? Clearly the idea has changed considerably since it was first created, since the original "concept albums" were incredibly loose in structure, and they only began to have a real story slightly later.

I'm a huge fan of concept albums. I like anything that tells a good story. Which I believe was one of the primary purposes of music in the first place. Or at least it should be. The Beatles Sgt. Pepper album is the oldest rock concept album I can think of. But I was much more influenced by the concept albums of Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, Queensryche and Savatage. Also Broadway musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar and Phantom of the Opera. Those may not be technically "rock" but they were a big part of my musical development.

As far as evolution, I'm not sure?, I prefer albums that tell a cohesive story, with a plot, characters, a beginning and an end. Rather than just a bunch of songs that loosely touch on a bit of common subject matter. But that's just me.

I think I’m done with my questions, but you’re free to add anything you can think of!

Please don't forget that all profits from the new album are donated to Cross Roads House Homeless Shelter. So you will be helping to support a great charitable cause by buying the album. Thank you all!

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