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Alfie Templeman

1883 Magazine sits down to chat with Alfie Templeman about Radiosoul, navigating life in the big city, the effects of technology on modern society and more.

Alfie Templeman has released his colourfully psychedelic sophomore album, Radiosoul.

Alfie Templeman is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. In 2016, he began recording and releasing demos at the age of 13. Alfie made his professional solo debut in 2018 and has released four extended plays since then. Alfie has a knack for creating tracks that simply stay with you. His track record include his debut album “sForever Isn’t Long Enough” in 2021 and “Mellow Moon” released in 2022.

At just 21, he just released his long-awaited sophomore album‚ Radiosoul – a coming-of-age album for the present day that explores themes of growing up, the impacts of social media, navigating life in your early twenties and getting out of your comfort zone. It’s an album of self-discovery; one that teleports from disco to indie rock at a moments-notice and channels a freshly acerbic humour within his lyricism.

On Monday he released “Just A Dance” featuring critically acclaimed producer Nile Rodgers. Alfie is also set to go on a sprawling world tour this fall across the U.S., Mexico, UK & Europe and is co-headlining with Norwegian singer-songwriter Anna of the North in Mexico.

1883 Magazine sits down to chat with Alfie Templeman about Radiosoul, navigating life in the big city, the effects of technology on modern society and more.

Photography Jessie Morgan

Alfie – let’s talk about Radiosoul, your latest album. Why don’t you tell me about how the album came about and the whole story behind it? I read that it’s a coming-of-age story. Growing up, moving out and the anxieties that come with that. 

I guess the album initiated around coming out quite a massive, long, tiring tour that I did back in 2022. We’ve just come off tour, we played about 100 shows and I was very tired. I found it quite hard to be creative while also simultaneously being on the road. So, I took a step back for a while and didn’t write any music for a few months. And it got pretty, pretty boring and just mundane in general. Nothing was happening. I took a couple of solo trips around the world. I went to the States for a while, and started writing a bunch of songs, and then got into this good, creative place.

And out of that, I started recording more and more songs and all of a sudden, I was making lots of music. I was experiencing new things. And at the same time, I was moving out of my parent’s house. I moved away from the countryside to London. It was a very juxtaposed life and I feel it gave a different flavour to some of the songs and some of the attitudes to the lyrics and the depth of the songs. Things kind of came together quite quickly. It took maybe three or four months and then all of a sudden, everything fell into place, which was great. I feel like the songs just have a deeper meaning to them because of the experiences that I gained while writing them.

What’s one of your favourite songs that you’ve written for the album? ‘Hello Lonely’, ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ and ‘Radiosoul’ is out already. I’ve listened to them on repeat. By the way, ‘Film Scene Daydream’ from your previous album is one of my favourite songs!

Oh, sick. That song, funnily enough, was kind of an accident. ‘Filmscene Daydream’ was a song I made in the pandemic. One day I started writing it and it turned into a song very quickly. Just the structure of it came together extremely quickly. And I blinked and it was a song. Sometimes it happens.

I love that! From the songs that you’ve written for ‘Radiosoul’- which one was your favorite to write? 

Favourites is a weird word for me to call it my favourite, but I guess my favourite on the album is probably a song called ‘Run To Tomorrow’ which is the last song and it’s just a very personal song to me because it’s a by step guide to stopping yourself from having an anxiety attack. It deals with my feelings very directly.

I think to be honest, it’s probably my most direct straight up song. Very honest and just specifically directed towards my own feelings. So, I think to put the song out, I put myself in quite a vulnerable place to write it and also now to put it out, it’s a bit scary but also I’m very happy to put it out there because I think it’s a very meaningful song that people might relate to.

I think especially your generation- I’m only time a little bit older than you, but I can still relate to the song. And to how scary growing up and moving out of your hometown is. I moved to London when I was 19. And it was so scary! I love the lyrics: “Nothing is forever, but forever’s always whispering closely.” Everything is so temporary and everything feels so lonely at the same time. That’s how I look at it. 

It’s that whole almost dilemma of one minute not giving a shit at all about anything because life will be over but then also simultaneously go: “Wait, life’s gonna be over soon. I need to make the most of everything.” Which one do I choose? Because my head is constantly in rotation of both two things. I feel like those two ideologies are very much things that really stand up tall in my life and my perspective of things.

In everyone’s life- especially when you’re in your 20s there’s such a constant fear all the time. It’s like I’m gonna die anyway. But no, I need to make the make the most out of my life and out of my 20s. I think that the album, or the songs already out capsulate that feeling so well. What is something that you want the listeners to take away from the new album? 

For me, it’s a natural progression, something that happened and it’s part of my story. I just want them to see that I’m an ever changing artist. I like to move on and experiment with new things that I perhaps haven’t tried before. I very much want to document my life and each album is a year of my life condensed into 40 minutes. I quite like the idea of every time doing something that brings me out of my comfort zone and try something different, a bit more intense maybe. I just like to take challenges. I guess that’s the main thing, really. And I’m not very old still. [Laughs] So, I’m still figuring it out. Step by step, you know?

Yeah absolutely, you’re definitely on the right path! For Radiosoul, you worked with some incredible and talented people such as Will Bloomfield and Nile Rodgers. I watched the videos that you uploaded with Will, they’re really cool! How was the experience like working with Will and Nile Rodgers? 

They’re all very different people to work with. I think that’s what made it really fun for me. Just the fact that every time I went into the studio, I knew who I was working with are very much aligned with my goals and my sounds and my sonics. I reached out to these people because I love what they make rather than just going into a room and not really knowing anything about one another.

I think everyone brought a different flavor, but they all understood me because with this album I wanted it to be a massive amalgamation of all different kinds of sounds and feelings melodies and lyrics. I wanted every song to have a different feel to it. So, in order to do that, I think it was really important to have a lot of different artists and people that come from different kinds of perspectives and help me merge it together.

Photography Blacksocks

And what is something that you learned from them? 

I think between all of them, what I learned was to trust my ideas, because for a long time, I did try and produce a lot of the new music by myself in my room, but for some reason, I just really couldn’t trust myself and I think I really needed another pair of ears on the work that I was producing. I found it quite hard to just concentrate and really go with my gut and actually keep going with ideas. What was nice with these guys is that I come to their studio with ideas already in my head and they liked them.

And then that gave me the confidence to put them together and also not take too long and putting them together. There was a very much a spontaneity to the album, the songs were half written, but then the energy would finished them. Almost when we played in the studio, the energy of what we’re making together finished the song. I think the spontaneity of that and just being able to trust myself a bit more that boosted my self confidence.

I know that you play 11 instruments, right? 

That’s a ridiculous thing, it’s not true! [Laughs] I can play a few pretty well and that’s it.

Well, nevertheless it’s impressive because you’re only 21! [Laughs] How did your ability to play different instruments add to the creation of Radiosoul? 

Most of the instruments I play to a very bad degree. I just want to try new things and find new sounds. I’ve definitely done that in the past with other records and other projects that I’ve made. But for Radiosoul, this was the album where I finally just realized I could try anything and risk it. And working with other producers also helped me with that because I’ve worked with people that had all sorts of strange things that I’ve never tried before. And I was just down to experiment because what was there to lose, I might as well try it. I was also fed up with hearing the same guitar riff or the same synth sounds that I’ve been using for five or six years. So, to make this album, I had to clear the canvas and start fresh and try completely different ways of building up songs.

I used to start a lot of songs with just drums and then build them up from there. Whereas this one, sometimes drums would be the last thing that I’d add and we filled it up with just weird vocal sounds. It was just all of the bases of experimenting with how to structure a song, how to build it, how to write it. There were lots of things being thrown around, which is really fun.

You touched on that earlier a little bit, that you were in the countryside before and now you’re in the big city. Did this transition impact your creative process and perspective on life? 

I think the main thing for me was, coming into London, it felt like you had to fight for a place here almost at first. There’s so many amazing artists and creatives that base themselves or grew up here and were already very much present in the London scene. And obviously London is one of the most important cities for art in general. So coming here, it was a bit like: “Oh god, I really have to step up my game.” And that made a difference to how I created songs. I think I tried harder, I just challenged myself to get better as a musician quite often within the sessions. I recorded a lot of the album in South London and everyone’s just really chill, it’s where I live as well and everyone’s a bit nicer.

I didn’t feel too much pressure at the same time. All my favorite musicians live in South London or are from South London, and they’re all really good music but they don’t really show off too much. So, that definitely had a massive impact on the record.

Who are your favourite artists that you look up to? 

One of my favorite producers is a guy called Wu-Lu. He makes amazing music. He’s just really good at producing and also just an incredible singer himself and artist and he always experiments with different instruments. And also a bunch of bands coming out of Dane Terry’s studio.

The reason I worked with Dane is because I love all the bands that he produces and the way that he produces them. He has very unconventional ways of producing things. He will put on lasers in the studio when you record and he’s really good at capturing energy and that was something that really inspired me about making the music.

You started making music when you were eight, right? How do you think you grew as an artist compared to when you started? 

Well, I’ve definitely got taller, not very much. Not not too taller. [Laughs] But ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved listening to albums and the thing I always wanted to do, was to become a producer and become someone that records music. And I think it was often just the excitement of hearing all my favorite songs in my headphones and just going: “How did they do that? How do they make that, how do they get those sounds?” And growing up, I just wanted to do that and I wanted it to be my job.

So, I think just out of having a passion for production and music in general. I just kept teaching myself little tricks. The last 13 years it’s just been me slowly getting better at putting things together and piecing bits of the puzzle and becoming a better producer, a better writer, just going back to the same motive that I had since I started really.

I think Radiosoul will be the song of the summer. It’s just what you need on a rainy day like today. It lifts the mood! 

Yeah, for sure. Interesting, isn’t it? I guess the most sunny songs are the ones that have kind of already came out. There’s a few more for the album. I feel like it’s got everything in it but it still sounds summery. There are some songs that sound a little bit rainy but they also sound like rain in summer if that makes sense [Laughs].

With social media playing a role in modern day life, how does Radiosoul explore the theme of curated Instagram profiles and the search for genuine connection in today’s digital age?

Well, that was the whole point of the title track, really. It was questioning why people have just ended up becoming Radiosouls. There’s no real disconnect between someone’s brain in the bigger world and through the internet. Even looking at ??? and the idea of submerging yourself into this worldwide web thing is just crazy to me. And so, it’s very much asking, since when did we get this dependent on the internet and just technology and is that ever going to slow down? Or we just going to progressively get closer and closer to it? I really feel, with the threat of AI, people are going to take a step back eventually, but some people aren’t.

And it’s going to divide us into two things. And Radiosoul starts questioning that a little bit in the early stages of seeing AI and social media taking over. And it is me worrying and being very much concerned about how in the last 10 years, everyone has just become so mean. I can see older people like parents and aunts 10 years ago but why are kids glued to their phones? And now those same people are glued to their phones. It’s affecting everyone and it’s crazy to see. Some of the songs on Radiosoul are just a bit of an observation on that and how scary that is and how they could easily just take over the world.

Most people in their early 20s just want real connection but it’s so hard to connect with people nowadays when everyone is on Instagram and TikTok and everything is so surface level. And AI can be used for drafting templates, like things where you dont need creativity for but it can never replace real creativity.

I agree with you. And it’s helpful in a way that you can go on chat GPT and be like: What’s the word for this or something and it will tell you what it is. But that’s as far as it goes. People don’t write lyrics and write melodies through AI.

Exactly! I’ve heard that a lot of students use Chat GPT to write their dissertation! 

That’s so bad because eventually something’s going to happen. It’s like cheating. It works. And then next minute, you’ve actually got to sit down and do an exam where you can’t cheat. It shows that it’s all bullshit.

Yeah, absolutely. I think you can work against it with creating real lyrics and working with people who are genuinely interested in creating something that’s real. And it’s so cool that you’re so genuine and honest and relatable and you stand out in the crowd. A lot of artists especially on TikTok, only create content for it to go viral.

Yeah, that’s also the same with songs that are just specifically written to be big on TikTok. Like choruses just to get tons of views. It feels so superficial. I feel like that’s going to die off eventually. It’s going to look so weird because all the songs are a minute and a half as well. And it’s just ridiculous. You get two choices. You get a one minute song or you get a slow reverbed version of that.

I agree! I definitely think that your songs would do well on TikTok!

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. There are songs that have done better. There’s a song called ‚Movies’ and it’s weird though, because no one used to listen to it and then it got on reels and then it’s my most popular song. So, it is also really strange how that can just happen. And the thing about it is that it’s natural as well, it’s free promotion. So that’s cool.

I’ll make sure to use one of your songs for my TikToks. [Laughs] 

Yes, please. [Laughs]

Who is an artist that you would love to work with in the future? 

Oh, good question. I guess just any producer that I like. I really like like wuhou or Sam Evian, or McGee. Those kinds of people. Just artists that are very present and produce good music. I’m all about working with good producers. That’s my thing, to be honest.

I know that you’re perfprming an intimate tour in the UK in June which is very exciting! What are some of your dream venues to perform at? 

Oh, Sydney Opera House would be crazy. That’d be a bad one. Maybe if I ever did a headline show it would be at Madison Square Garden. I’d be gassed. So yeah, probably that as well. Some mad big venues.

What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten throughout your career?

Oh, that’s a really good question. Mostly just don’t overthink it. Don’t overdo it. That’s one thing I learned from every producer I worked with and from this latest album. Sometimes, I just think too hard and it’s better to just keep it simple. And just trust the idea and run with it and the more that you think about it heavily, it’s not going to help you so just don’t overthink it. Just chill out and be easy.

Whats your take on fashion? How do you think it intertwines with music? 

As far as it goes, I just think about myself when I record songs, I just think about the music videos for them. And things I could wear in the music videos. But for me, I just really don’t care about what I wear. It’s really bad. I just wear a lot of T-shirts and jeans and that’s it. And like as far as I’m concerned, someone’s gonna have to drag me out of my bed and dress up nicely if they want me to look good on a press shot. [Laughs]

A shirt and jeans is very simple, it’s very french! [Laughs] 

Yes, it’s very Paris! [Laughs]

What is something that you want to be remembered for? As a musician and as a person? 

Hopefully, in a few years time I’ll be producing other people a lot more and writing for other people and also have a good backlog of music out in the world. So, hopefully I’ll be respected as a songwriter and a producer. And that’s it really for me.

I just want to be respected and seen as someone that you come to to help write songs and put together good music. I haven’t got too many aspirations in terms of that stuff. I just want to be respected as a producer.

And how do you think Radiosoul is different from your debut album, musically and thematically? I think it’s just a lot more mature. It’s been about two since since the debut album. And in those two years, a lot has happened. I started writing this album when the debut album came out. I was 19 and just about coming out of that late teenage era of my life. I think for me, it represents a change and a bigger maturity in my songwriting but also my experiences and my lyrics, and it just sounds a bit more bold and I feel like I was a lot more adventurous on this album and taking a lot more risks.

So yeah, I like that. And I feel, it sticks out a lot. Some of the songs are quite long. There’s a lot more going on, it’s quite all over the place. All my favorite genres make it on this album.

And if you wouldn’t be a musician, what would you do? 

Oh, hopefully work at a garden center or be a chef. One of those, I guess those are my other two things.

I like gardening. Do you want to do gardening?

I’m not very good at gardening but I’d like to get better at it. And I’ve always loved gardens and there’s something great about them.

It’s very soothing and therapeutic for sure! What do you do when you’re not in the studio? 

I like cooking. I do like making food and messing around with that. Or just eating at nice places. And go on walks. And just chill out with mates and go to the pub.

What does a perfect day in London look like for you?

 Stay away from Central London. And if it’s a nice sunny day, maybe go get a picnic. Go out with some mates, chill out there. Later on, go to the pub, get smashed, and then go to bed. Sounds sick. [Laughs]

Radiosoul is out now everywhere.

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