One of the week’s most joyous releases is from the 17-year-old definitive wunderkind Alfie Templeman.
Alfie’s fourth EP, Happiness In Liquid Form, is a snippet of his life on the border of a new stage of life. It’s the dizzying, often overwhelming but truly formative and wild days of wrapping up the rigid structures of high school and gaining a tremendous independence as you become a young adult with choices, responsibilities and a shit tonne to learn.
A magnetic, free & repeatable six tracks of disco-pop, with some occasional psych tendencies, is available now and to unpack it – Nic Kelly in Bold, Alfie in not-bold.
It’s 8am here and 11pm for you. Do you think you do your best work in the night-time?
God no! it’s just that I’m never up at eight in the morning! To be honest, I typically start a song in the afternoon and then finish it off around this kind of time. Any later, I start worrying that I’m going to get noise complaints or whatever, because I live in quite a small little village, so I try not to record too late. I’m sure it is quite a vibey experience but I’ve never really ventured into it.
The anxiety of getting a knock at the door just sends you away from the idea of working late.
Oh god I hate it. I hate hearing the phone ring or the door knock, it just scares me.
This EP is so damn good. Before I listened, I was like, this could go one of two ways. This could go down the really fun, lots of bops angle, or maybe it’s going to kind of be sad and serious. From the initial listen, it’s bop central. For people who are hearing it for the first time and people that haven’t dived into the lyrical content as much, is this just a fun EP? Or are you talking about some, you know, legit stuff on this as well?
I mean, I don’t really venture into that with lyrics, until recently. This kind of time period, I started recording this one last year just when I left school. So there’s definitely little one-liners that are kind of in there, but most of the time I find that I write lyrics and then find out the meaning afterwards. Like, I look back and realise I kind of subconsciously write about it. So in a way it’s more just me writing kind of fun songs that keep me from being bored, in a way! I made it when I’d just left school. I actually just finished the fifth EP as well. And that’s a whole different story. Now that I’ve had some time off of school and like this is a new chapter in my life, I can start to write about different experiences. But this was like, right off the bat. This is like straight away, here’s six songs that I’ve just written and recorded, when I left school. So it was kind of just like, well, I’m gonna see what this feels like. And it came out pretty cool! It was more just like, let’s see what I sound like now, rather than, let’s talk about what I’ve just been through.
It’s a sonic snapshot more than anything else.
I mean, it’s different. I don’t think many people go for that, to be fair.
I like that there’s someone just making bops for the sake of making bops, right?
Literally. I mean, I’m pretty young, so I just try not to talk about it too much in general, because I feel like, there’s no point in saying my life story when I hardly know who I am as a person anyway.
You know what’s interesting is obviously, you are very young, you’re 17 right now, and I feel like not many young people are willing to acknowledge how young they actually are. Has it taken a little while to realise that you’ve got like this massive life ahead of you and this is really just the start because I feel like when you’re making so much music and you’ve been doing this for a damn long time already, it can be tempting to go “I’m deep into my career already,” when you’re actually still super young. Has that been a self realisation experience?
That’s a really good question. Yeah, it’s weird. I toured with a band called Sports Team last year and they’ve been putting out stuff as long as I have and they’re about ten years older than me. The whole time I just thought, we’re like, the same age. That goes out of your head, like you just forget about that! It’s like you’re all in the same boat. It doesn’t matter what age you are, a musician’s a musician, you can have like Mick Jagger who’s approaching eighty and then you’ve got young people like us. When you’re in it for a few years, it feels like a lifetime in a way, because it just feels like it’s right for you. I always think that by the time I get to like, twenty-seven or whatever, because those years go past so quickly, I’ll look back and I’ll be like, “blimey, that first EP I put out was over twelve years ago,” and I won’t even realize I was that young. It’s such a crazy thing to think about.
That is frightening to think about, to be totally honest.
It is weird. Because I mean, I’m not even thirty in that scenario, I’d look back and I wasn’t even thirty and the first music will still be like nearly fifteen years old. That’s weird. It’s such a weird thing to think about.
It mortified and excited me when you said that you have just wrapped up a fifth EP as well. I think sometimes people struggle with having made all this new stuff and seen all this growth but they’re still – in terms of release cycles – putting out the last thing they’ve made. How does your mind reckon with that?
It’s weird. All of these songs that I do, it’s almost like it’s one long stream of music and I kind of just go YOINK and get these collections of songs and put them out. They’re all kind of like one flowing bunch of songs that I’ve released, to me. But for the fans and the people that listen to my music, it’s like five different entities of music, whereas some of the songs were recorded in the last record. Which is why sometimes I don’t really connect them to a period in my life, like, I mean, there’s a lot songs in the fifth EP that’s coming out soon that were actually written about three years ago, you see. I mean, I’ve got so many songs in the bank as well, I’m probably nearing a thousand. Songs are songs to me at the end of the day and yeah, it is cool to see that but I just try not to think about that. I try not to overlook who I am as a person, because I’m just a person and I make music, but there’s not much to it in a way! If I’m honest, like, I’m so young as well. There’s nothing to really say apart from that… I’m a young musician. I try not to categorise what I’m doing.
At the end of the day Alfie… it’s not that deep is it?
Exactly. That’s the thing. Music’s music. People forget that.
They do, it becomes such a serious entity and it becomes such a serious and self expressive medium that sometimes people forget to have a bit of fun with it.
God, yeah. I don’t like the amount of seriousness. I mean, sometimes it works and sometimes it is a serious thing, political songs and the like, but if you’re just a normal bloody person – sorry, excuse my French – that’s just making music, then what’s the point?! You don’t have to make a song and dance about it. You know what I mean? It’s just a bit of banter, innit?!