Bedfordshire songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alfie Templeman may only be 17, but his daydream sound has helped him reach heights far beyond his years.
Despite making woozy bedroom beats, Templeman first found musical inspiration in the likes of Rush, Yes and King Crimson as a child. Amazed by Rush’s powerful stage presence (despite only having three members), along with the varied time signatures and innovative sounds of 60s prog rock, it’s not something he’s forgotten. He grew up in a very musical household as his guitar-collector father displayed over 20 instruments around the house and his sister could be heard practising her own music on piano and trumpet. At seven year old, he began drum lessons and eventually learnt bass and guitar too. By 13, he’d mastered how to record with home studio software around doing his homework. Adding a finishing touch – his elegant, honeyed drawl – these early forays into production have been refined right up to the present day.
Determined and strategic, at 14-years-old he began uploading songs onto Spotify on Fridays, hoping to snap up a place on the New Music Friday playlist. He was eventually put on the Discover Weekly list instead, catching the attention of Chess Club Records’ Peter McGaughrin and Will Street. At age 15, he’d signed to the label renowned for early releases from Wolf Alice, Jungle and Mumford & Sons, and released his debut album Like An Animal in October 2018. Explaining the meaning behind Like An Animal‘s self titled lead single, Templeman said: “It’s about a man in a relationship who feels depressed every day of his life, but he can’t seem to figure why he’s down. His partner doesn’t show empathy and support to the way he feels. There’s a lack of love and care.” But the lilting guitars and swooning vocals draw ‘Like An Animal’ to a positive conclusion with the song’s protagonist moving on and owning his wellbeing.
Templeman plays every instrument heard on the EP and put together the whole release in his bedroom – a homage to his DIY heroes Kevin Parker and Mac Demarco. The full EP is a tantalising window into the world of a new, young British artist so precociously talented and limitlessly promising. Whether it’s opener ‘Yellow Flowers’, full of wistful guitars and breezy vocals which bring to mind classic 70s songwriters like Harry Nilsson, or the closing track ‘Your Voice’, which he wrote after devouring CD after CD of 80s hits on a family road trip – each track is layered with sweet instrumentation and imagery that competes with songwriting veterans.
His follow-up EP Sunday Morning Cereal (released June 2019) takes on a more R&B vibe thanks to his new-found appreciation for Frank Ocean and Tyler, The Creator. Still, it carries the same bright indie aspects as before, but exchanges the dreamy atmosphere for harder-hitting bluesy beats. Speaking to The Last Magazine, he said “I think people should know that there’s going to be a bit of change, not just throughout my career but also with each song you’re going to listen to. I could write a pop song tomorrow, who knows? So expect change.” It’s especially worth noting that he has apparently over 300 unreleased tracks hidden away, so who knows what other genres he’s tried and tested…
Templeman is currently working on his third EP Don’t Go Wasting Time, which will feature the already-released singles ‘Used To Love’ and the title track. Both tracks show the growth of his voice as clear vocals appear more prominently, while the tempos are more upbeat than ever.
With plenty of live experience opening for the likes of Sports Team and Sundara Karma, as well as performing at The Great Escape, Truck Fest, and Reading & Leeds, his live shows are quite a marvel. Catch him at NBHD Weekender on Sunday 24th May alongside headliners Catfish & The Bottlemen, The Wombats and Inhaler!