Back in the doom-scrolling days before pubs finally reopened, Weetabix decided to post a nightmare-inducing tweet of baked beans covering their iconic cereal blocks. The result was near-universal outrage. Alfie Templeman took it one step further with his reply: “1k likes and I eat this on camera”.
The challenge soon hit its desired target, so has Alfie delivered on his promise yet? “I’m yet to do it!” he laughs, Zooming in from his sister’s bedroom. “Someone just made a website about it. It’s like that ‘Is it Christmas yet?’ website, but it’s for me, and about eating this Weetabix. I’m really not looking forward to it, which I guess is why someone made a website so I have to do it…”
With hasalfietemplemaneatenbeansonweetabixyet.com thankfully giving the world those all-important updates, Alfie’s fans - affectionately known as Templestans - are rightfully more excited about the arrival of the singer’s brand new mini album ‘Forever Isn’t Long Enough’ than whether or not he’ll fulfil his questionable breakfast choices.
The longest release he’s put out to date, the mini album marks an exciting step forward, with the now-18-year-old taking his vibrant songwriting to new heights. Take the dreamy, Tame Impala-inspired ‘To You’, which sees the singer experimenting with synth sounds, or his confident swagger throughout the infectiously catchy ‘Wait, I Lied’. “It’s just more polished,” he affirms. “It took longer and I made sure everything was perfected. There’s a lot more layers in the songs too, the songwriting is deeper. For the first time it felt like I was really singing from the heart rather than whatever rhymed.”
Bringing together ideas for tracks that had been floating in the archives, the release also finds Alfie diving into song ideas he’d penned back in his early teens. “There was definitely some stuff which was really terrible, but I was like 15 or whatever!” he laughs of their early incarnations. Any particular howlers? “Probably trying to make a really long prog-rock song…”
“I tend to not look at stats or anything, but when I do look at my Spotify I’m like, bloody hell!”
Luckily leaving prog firmly in his past, Alfie had some help this time around to glow up a few of his plans, hopping in the studio with Jungle’s Tom McFarland, as well as Kid Harpoon, who’s worked with the likes of Harry Styles and Shawn Mendes. “They open up the next level of how your songs can be interpreted and how they sound,” he beams. “One idea can change your whole outlook on the song. I did all these songs when I was 16, 17, so I was still very young and working things out for myself, and those guys just helped me bring out the best in them.”
Yet despite the help of a few notable mates, the record still mostly finds Alfie doing it all alone, “tinkering around in the studio, as it always is”; already known for his prodigious musical talents (he can play guitar, bass and drums as well as producing the bulk of his material himself), he’s hoping that ‘Forever Isn’t Long Enough’ shows people the next step that he’s reached. And, never one to sit still, he’s already looking at what follows next, with 20 songs for his eagerly-anticipated debut album proper currently under his belt.
“I’m constantly trying to change and do the next thing and I’ve already started making the debut album which is completely different to this,” he says. “I’ve just been tinkering around with different sounds and switching things up. I’m messing around with all kinds of different instruments at the minute, sitars and stuff. It’s got a ‘70s sound going for it at the moment so we’ll see where that goes. It’s all really trial and error and that’s what the debut album is becoming. It’s fun! It’s a bit of a guessing game really to see what I can do and what I’m capable of.”
His previous releases have already seen Alfie constantly pushing his capabilities, hopping between bedroom-pop to heavy funk to jazz-flecked indie bangers and back again: its sense of playfulness and experimentation is the one consistent throughout his genre-blurring discography. ‘Forever Isn’t Long Enough’ is no exception to this, described by Alfie as “fun and games” and a chance to play about. “Me and [bassist] Cam recorded ‘Hideaway’ in my bedroom,” he recalls. “We’d record ourselves saying stupid stuff and then reverse it. Just doing all kinds of fun little things you can do in the studio.” Take the track’s funky guitar solo backed by tropical drum beats as the prime example of said fun.
Consistently challenging himself to reach new goals, the teenage wunderkind has already shot past any original milestones that he’d previously set for himself. “I tend to not look at socials or stats or anything and I’ve been sitting at home so much, I don’t know what’s going on, so when I do look at my Spotify I’m like, bloody hell!” he exclaims. “It’s always quite out of the blue; you never expect it and it’s really cool. ‘Happiness In Liquid Form’ has nearly got 10 million plays on Spotify which is just like, what? Who’s listening to this shit?!
“I still haven’t worked that out and I always wonder about that,” he continues. “But I guess that’s the fun part! I just find it cool that people enjoy what I make and what I do and as long as that happens, I’m happy.”
‘Forever Isn’t Long Enough’ is out now via Chess Club.
As featured in the May 2021 issue of DIY, out now.