Alfie Templeman is an artist who is completely in his own lane. From releasing his debut single ‘Orange Juice’ in 2018, the now 19 year old breakout British singer-songwriter has cultivated a fanbase through building a soundscape that brings in a wide range of his influences. From 50’s, to jazz, to 90’s rock, to full blown pop, he adds it all in and creates his own universe that listeners can immerse themselves within.
Alfie’s debut album ‘Mellow Moon’ is a body of work that highlights where he is at now as a musician, as well as a teenager who is trying to navigate the world. Contrasted by big upbeat production, he vulnerably explores his battles with mental health, and gives fans an option of escapism while they try to process their thoughts and feelings as well.
I recently chatted with Alfie Templeman about the delicate conception of ‘Mellow Moon’ as the record he always wanted to make, as well as the importance of discussing mental health honestly, and found out some of the hilarious reactions he got while filming his new music video for ‘Colour Me Blue’ in his hometown of Bedford. Check it out BELOW;
THOMAS BLEACH: Your debut album ‘Mellow Moon’ is a fully envisioned body of work that feels like a strong growth from last year’s mini-album. Do you recall a moment during the creative process of ‘Forever Isn’t Long Enough’ that sparked or heavily impacted the creative direction for this album?
ALFIE TEMPLEMAN: Yeah, I think with ‘Forever Isn’t Long Enough’ it was the first time I had really explored pop music. But it still felt like there was another place to go to. It must’ve been early 2020, and I felt like I could start creating more honest compositions. With the mini album it was a well put together project, whereas with ‘Mellow Moon’ it was a moment where I was like “I am actually going to sing about myself now, and actually take a bit longer with this, and craft these songs the way I want to, and not the way others want me to”. That was a big changing moment for me.
TB: I love that because this album does feel like an embodiment of all of your varied sonical influences. And ‘Do It’ in particular is a playful and anthemic song that stands as it’s not like anything you’ve ever done before, and hears you making fun of yourself. Can you explain the creative process behind this track?
AT: This song is really different for me, and honestly, I don’t think there will ever be another song like it. It’s just that song. But it came about because in the pandemic I was procrastinating a lot, and I had a bit of a habit of making lists of things I had to do, and I would just never do them. I’d say I would, but I never did. I’d even make reminders on my phone, and I still do them *show’s phone screen with multiple reminders pending*, and just never touch them. So ‘Do It’ was just compiling that stuff and was three and a half minutes of how I procrastinate. It was like therapy in a way, as it was me telling everyone how my brain works as I’m listing all the things that are incomplete in my day.
TB: Were there any reminders that actually came up on your phone while you were making this song that you took your own advice and paused the process to go and do them?
AT: *laughs* yes, like taking a shower *laughs*. My mum tells me off big time about showering because I go days without doing it. I’m grim, I know *laughs*.
TB: ‘Candyfloss’ is another high energy song that actually sugar-coats a bit of a deeper meaning. How important for you was having the distinct contrast of emotions with big pop production on this song?
AT: For me it’s easy to say a lot of things that I actually mean to the close people around me, and then see them worry and be like “oh god, no I didn’t mean that”. And I think with ‘Candyfloss’, it’s like a call and response thing with the first line being all of the stuff I actually mean, and then the next line is like “oh no, here is actually what i mean”. With this album in general, it was quite important to make the music upbeat while the lyrics are down as I’m still afraid of genuinely singing about my feelings in a sad way with sad music, as I think it’s quite a vulnerable thing to do. I think it’s obvious I’m sad, and I’m struggling sometimes, but with the upbeat music it feels like a healing process, and it’s a lot easier for me to come to terms with my feelings and just go on stage and sing about my feelings as the music is uplifting enough.
TB: ‘Just Below The Above’ is a song that was written during one of your lowest periods mentally, and sonically it’s quite atmospheric. Do you think that directly compliments the existentialism of the lyrics?
AT: Yeah, I think so! It’s one of those songs that I feel like I was just lucky enough to capture the mood of how I was when I recorded it. I was in a pretty bad place. I had begun anti-depressants when I started that song, and the thing about anti-depressants is that it actually makes your depression worse at first. I was in this horrible black hole and I was struggling making music, and that was the one song I managed to juice out somehow. Funny enough it’s one of the most meaningful things I’ve ever written.
The atmosphere of the song is really cool. I did it in this very room with just a guitar, and I figured it out. It was quite a ghostly experience for me.
TB: The album has a lot of Mental health discussion. So with the release of this album and being on tour again, what is something you do for your mental health to recharge or have a moment to yourself?
AT: Recently on tour, we’ve been playing games as a band to have fun and break things up a little. We play Wikipedia games like “guess which albums have sold the best”, or whatever. It’s really lame stuff, but it gets your brain going because often I get really anxious on tour and sit in the corner and look at social media for too long, or just zone out and look at the road for ages. So anything you can do to stop yourself from doing those things is really good.
TB: You recently collaborated with Amazon Music, Twitch and Minecraft for ‘Welcome To The Mellow Moon’. Did you have a favourite spot to head to in the world?
AT: Yes! They made this 14 storey spaceship building, and every floor you’d go up would have a sample of each song, and would be custom-made to suit the song. So ‘Candyfloss’ for example was really pink. So that was really cool! The stage was super awesome too, and there were even Minecraft statues made of each band that played. We also had a really cool merch stand, which made it feel like a real festival!
TB: Your music video for Colour Me Blue sees you running all over Bedford away from the Blue Gang. Because you were actually filming this in public, what were some of the actual reactions you had from people? As it must’ve seemed so ridiculous and worrying for on-lookers?
AT: It was hilarious *laughs*, that’s a really good question. There were a lot of roadman guys (Definition: UK slang. someone, usually a young man, who spends a lot of time on the streets and may use or sell drugs, or cause trouble:) hanging around, and I thought they were going to beat the shit out of me, but they were taking videos and thinking it was well-cool. There were also a lot of elederly people waiting to buy their fish-n-chips who thought it was well-cool too. And there was a guy “reading his newspaper in the car”, but you knew that he wasn’t and was just watching what was happening *laughs*.
TB: Also, It must’ve been hard running for that entire time. Were you exhausted at the end of it?
Yes! Yes! That day was exhausting. There was not one scene where I wasn’t running. That for a whole day, was a lot. It was literally like a marathon. I actually wonder how many steps I did that day. Give me a second, let me check my phone. *Checks phone health app*. Okay, it was 15,000 steps. That doesn’t feel like a lot, but it was *laughs*.
TB: You’re heading to Australia for the first time in June to tour with the Wombats and for two headline shows. So what is on your vision board of what to expect from your time down under?
AT: The first thing I thought of was a bunch of Australians just getting drunk. I heard the bars are really cool in Australia, so I’m keen to do a lot of bar exploring.
TB: Let’s play a quick game of rapid fire questions based on the album. Are you ready?
AT: Yeah, let’s go!
TB: The song that nearly didn’t make the album was…
AT: ‘Do it!’ I wasn’t sure about it at first as it’s so different.
TB: The song I’m most looking forward to performing live would be…
AT: ‘Just Below The Above’! I have this cool different idea of how to play it live with a massive guitar solo at the end.
TB: The song that went through the most versions to get it to where it is now was…
AT: ‘Broken’! It originally started off as a really soft rock song.
TB: The first song from the album I’d want you to play to your friends if they’d never heard of me before would be…
AT: Probably ‘A Western’ as it’s got a bit of everything in it.
‘Mellow Moon’ is out now!
ALFIE TEMPLEMAN – AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
Tuesday 14 June – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW
Thursday 16 June – Howler, Melbourne VIC
For all touring and ticketing information visit HERE
PERFORMING AS SPECIAL GUEST FOR THE WOMBATS
Thursday 9 June – AEC Theatre, Adelaide SA
Friday 10 June – John Cain Arena, Melbourne VIC
Saturday 11 June – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney NSW *Sold Out*
Sunday 12 June – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney NSW
Wednesday 15 June – UC Refectory, Canberra ACT *Sold Out*
Friday 17 June – Riverstage, Brisbane QLD
For all touring and ticketing information visit HERE