TEN MEETS ALFIE TEMPLEMAN
Alfie Templeman’s ride has only just begun. The 19-year-old British artist’s debut album Mellow Moon has arrived and we’ve been waiting for this one. “It’s pretty much impossible for an album to define who you are when you’re 19, but I think the real message I want to say with this record is that I’m still figuring my life out,” he says. Figuring it out through cinematic vocals and over smooth, rich production that makes us instinctively move, Alfie has crafted an incredibly impressive debut album. We spoke to the artist (who has just covered Harry Styles' As It Was in the BBC Live Lounge overnight) about Mellow Moon and his upcoming Australian tour:
We love the album! It’s so strong. You’ve said this album made you feel like you’re on a different planet. To set the tone, describe what this other world feels and looks like?
"Damn! Okay! Right off the back with the biggies. It’s very colourful, there’s a lot going on. There’s a lot of different textures, there’s a lot of different sounds, and there’s a lot of different people. I feel like I’ve written songs for all ages, and all types of different people. There’s truly a song on this record for everyone, so I would say this planet is inclusive and colourful."
You began working on this album at a very turbulent time in the world - and for you. Some of the songs on the album acted like therapy for the anxiety you were feeling. Why is it important for you to speak out on the anxiety you were battling? And how did you overcome it?
"It’s important for me to speak out on it because I feel like once I do people are a bit more understanding in terms of what I’m going through and know my situation a little bit more. If I didn’t say anything people would be like “why did you just disappear”, but I think people know I am battling my own little demons, and there’s a reason why I’m not frequently online. It’s a lot of weight off your chest I guess. You have to ground yourself. But to be honest I am still asking myself that question of how to overcome it because a lot of the time you can’t. But you do have to ground yourself and just put your feet on the ground physically and feel the energy from the ground because it is amazing what that can do."
Do you have a mentor? Did you work with anyone in particular on the album that had a significant impact on you?
"No one that had a significant impact, but a lot of people that added what was necessary for the songs. I don’t specifically have any mentors, and the closest person to me would be Todd Rundgren. I obviously look up to him and how he does things. I recorded everything and then took it to other people to try to add some things."
What do you think was the biggest lesson you’ll take with you that you learnt from making this body of work?
"Just the whole idea of trial and error, and that it’s so hard to make an album in general. I’ve tried really hard to challenge myself, and challenge myself on songs like ‘Galaxy’ where I’m trying to get better at guitar and synth sounds. In general I’m just trying to get better as a musician and I will take that to the next record, and the next record after that. There will be new things I’ll try out every time, and this is a great example of that."
Sonically, how do you think your music has evolved?
"I’ve been messing around with a lot of synthesizers for this record, and new textures that I haven’t previously explored. There isn’t too much ambience on this record, and that is something I want to mess around with on the next record, but I did slowly play around with it towards the end of this record. Underneath ‘Take This Time Away’ there is a lot of ambience and sound effects, so those are new sonics for me. But also new dynamics and different textures. There are songs like ‘A Western’ where everything dips and goes flowers and then comes back up, and then goes into other songs like ‘Your A Liar’ where they are quite hard hitting."
Is there a song you’re most proud of on Mellow Moon?
"I would say ‘A Western’ and ‘Just Below The Above'."
We can hear the Khruangbin and Steve Lacy influences at moments in the album. Who would be the ultimate Alfie Templeman feat. ____
"I would love to do something with Blood Orange as that would be cool. Oh also Steve Lacy would be cool."
We’re so excited to see you on tour with The Wombats in June. What are you most looking forward to about coming to Australia?
"The spiders! I’m joking haha. I am most excited about the beaches, the weather even though it’s winter and just playing shows. I also have a bunch of online friends I can’t wait to meet, and honestly I can’t wait to meet everyone as they seem really cool."
How should fans listen to the album when it comes out? What’s the best Mellow Moon listening experience? On a sunset drive, in a bedroom with headphones on etc…
"I think in a bedroom with headphones on considering that’s how I made it. It’s that kind of record I think. It’s a good vinyl experience. I actually haven’t listened to it on vinyl yet, but I just know it will be."
What do you hope people take away from this album?
"Just that this is a constant evolution and this is the start of something very big, and there’s a lot of new things to explore but this is a great opening door to it. My mind is very complex, and I’m trying to get it in song form, but this is a little peek into my world, so I hope it helps people."
Listen to Mellow Moon here.