Alfie Templeman opens up about his new mini-album Forever Isn't Long Enough and his plans for his full-length debut...
For most artists, the bedroom recordings they made when they were 14 are in sealed tombs, never to see the light of day, but for singer-songwriter Alfie Templeman, they're the basis of his new mini-album, Forever Isn't Long Enough.
Still only 18, Templeman is now zeroing in on his debut album and finally getting the chance to tour the world. We spoke to him about why he wasn't ready to make Forever Isn't Long Enough his first LP and his plans for the coming year...
It's an eight-track mini-album. We've spoken to plenty of artists who've put out eight-track or nine-track albums, why not make this your debut?
"It didn't feel like it was long enough and it felt like it was too early in my career. It's a big milestone. It's only half an hour-long too, it's not Lep Zeppelin IV. And, although it's a milestone in my career, it's not the time for an album yet."
You're still getting it pressed on vinyl and CD, so it's still had a lot of love...
"It is basically an album, I just thought it was cool to do something like a mini-album, something that most artists don't do."
When do these songs date from?
"A couple, 'Everybody's Gonna Love Somebody' and 'Forever Isn't Long Enough' both go back to when I was 14. They were all recorded in the time between the end of 2019 and the end of 2020. It was a funny way of working for me, every other thing I've done has been recorded really quickly. The pandemic gave me more time so I was able to go back to things and make sure every song was perfect."
Did you work on a track by track basis? Are these all different sessions?
"I had more than eight tracks, but not that many more. I got down to eight quite quickly and then I worked on them steadily as 2020 went on."
There's a track with Jungle's Tom McFarland, who else has helped you with production on the record?
"Tom produced 'Shady' with me and he was brilliant to work with. Really great guy, he totally brought the track to life. I worked with Kid Harpoon, he's someone I loved working with and he played some synth on the record. Largely, apart from that, I did the album in my room at home. There's some co-production from a guy called Rob Milton and I've got April, this amazing Irish singer, on there too."
When you come to make your album, will you continue with this approach or will you look to work with one producer?
"I like the range. I've already written and recorded 30 tracks on the album so we're well on the way. I've worked with a lot of different people. I've done a lot of it by myself, but I've reached out to a range of different producers and there's a lot of variety. It's nice to have different takes. I like the Steely Dan approach. They'd get a different guitarist to do a solo for every song, I love how you can hear that individuality."
You're very self-sufficient as a songwriter and producer, is it difficult to know when to hand something over or ask for help?
"It takes a few months and then I generally realise that I can't take a song to a new level and I don't know what else to do. Often it isn't production, at least nothing technical, it's asking people you admire for advice. They always come back with things you can't put your finger on."
Is there a lyrical theme to the mini-album?
"It's a loose concept. It's about nostalgia and looking back at my life so far. It's leaving schools, being in relationships, experiencing new things, that's the record in a nutshell."
Was it always going to be called Forever Isn't Long Enough?
"It was always that. That title is frustration about not being able to do all the things you want to do in your life, it's an album about cramming things in your life. I was starting to go around the world and then lockdown hit, you can't take anything for granted."
You must be excited about the possibility of finally getting to play live?
"I'm over the moon. I can't wait to play and get out there with my band. People are telling me they've been discovering my music in lockdown and they can't wait to see the songs live. I get butterflies thinking about it."
How's the set looking?
"It's a bit like a Rush concert at the moment, it's so long. Me and the band need to get in a room together and narrow it down. I've got enough songs to make we switch it up each night and keep the shows fresh."
What's the timetable looking like for your album? Might it come this year?
"2022, I hope. After this mini-album, there will be a few singles that will tee up the full-length and then we'll be full steam ahead. It's very near completion. It's very different to this mini-album in sonic terms. I'm excited for people to hear it."
As a younger artist who has only known working digitally, what's it been like seeing older acts being forced to learn about it during a pandemic?
"When you're my age, you're used to it. But it's been great fun watching the legends adapt. I've seen Paul McCartney on Instagram Live and that was a lot of fun. It was so warm and joyful. I think the older artists have got an awful lot out of it."