A Conversation With Alfie Templeman

By Jesse Miller and Ceceli Riffo-Drecksel

Alfie in the KCR production studio

We had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Alfie Templeman, a British singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer. Alfie is 18 years old and has already made a name for himself within the music world. Last Saturday, December 4th, he came into KCR’s live studio to talk with us and we attended his concert at The House of Blues later that night. Here are some of the highlights from our interview with him on-air:

Tell us a little bit about yourself 

“I’m from England. I make music in my bedroom and have been doing it for years now, I started on Bandcamp and Spotify. I did everything by myself – record all the songs and instruments. When I was 15, I was picked up by a label and ever since then, I’ve been doing that and it’s really fun! Now I’m touring the states.”

When did you start making music, what age, and how did you start?

“I started playing guitar when I was about 7, and I wasn’t very good at it for a while ‘cause I was too small to actually hold it in my arms, so I played it on my lap. When I was about 10 or 11, I had a really terrible laptop and got Audacity. I got garageband after that which made it a lot easier since I had built in presets. I eventually started using logic and that’s how I do all of it now.”

You recently just released a song with Chloe Moriondo and Thomas Headon called “Dizzy”, tell us about the process of making that and how the creative process worked?

“It was crazy because when we did it, we hadn’t actually met each other in person, and Thomas and Chloe still haven’t met! We did it all online on facetime which was really weird, you don’t hear of many songs made that way. They would just send them singing to me and I’d put it on a logic file and put it together. I’ve done it quite a few times actually, I worked with this guy called Carpet Gun and did some stuff with them online and stuff. It’s really fun and a good challenge. I like doing it like that but at the same time I’m excited to do more stuff with them in person because they’re lovely people to work with. It’s hard to get the real-life personality across when everything you’re doing isn’t actually in the same room.” 

Tell us a bit about where you were when COVID hit and how it’s shifted your way around writing, producing, and releasing music

“I was at home kind of daydreaming about touring. When we went into lockdown I was back at Bedford in my house with the family so everything was fine. I thought it would be easier to make songs but when I tried to record in my bedroom, I had nothing to sing about. For months, I kind of sat there, thinking, ‘Help?’… I eventually kind of started messing around, not making proper songs or singing about really serious stuff, just making fun stuff to keep me going. I was fed up with watching youtube videos and eating fast food all the time. I tried to do something productive and it took a lot longer. I used to make songs everyday and I don’t do it quite nearly as often. The pandemic has honestly made the songs a lot stronger because I’ve learned to be patient and take more time with them. In a way, I’m actually quite thankful for it. I still put stuff out, so at least I’m doing something!”

What’s your favorite song you’ve ever written?

“Out of all the ones that are out, there’s one called ‘Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody’ that came out this year. I wrote it when I was 14, actually, but I kind of did it up a little bit. It started off as a disco song, and I wanted to make something very universal and simple. I got a lot of inspiration for it from Tears for Fears and Phil Collins. It was all done in my bedroom and directly through a pedalboard DI. It only took about 2 hours to make. There’s also a song on the new record that’s called “Just Below The Above ‘ that I started when I was 14 as well. It’s very Radiohead-y and has Pink Floyd and Queen in there as well. It’s quite proggy and weird but it finishes the record and I think it’s the best song I’ve made. I’m really excited to put it out there. My new record is a concept record as well.”

What’s the longest a song has taken you to make / finish?

“’Dizzy’ took a while, since we were procrastinating a lot and everything was so busy. Some of the songs on this new record took a while as well actually. I have a song called “Happiness in Liquid Form” that took only about 2 hours. So some of them take no time at all, you don’t know where the time goes. But it’s super fun and therapeutic. There’s no rules and I’ve never had a lesson in production so I have very weird approaches to producing.”

What’s been your favorite stop so far on tour?

“New York was amazing. We went to Joe’s pizza and I really liked the crowd in New York, it was super special. We were supporting Chloe Moriondo so we haven’t done a headline show there just yet. Some girl shouted my name in the streets of New York and someone came up to me at Amoeba the other day… It was really weird. We made a stop in Toronto and it was really cool. It was really cold and so was Boston. Los Angeles and San Francisco have been my favorites. I really like California. I really can’t choose.”

What were your top 5 artists this year?

“Todd Rungren, Genesis, Mac Demarco, Jamiroquai, The Beatles. Space Cowboy by Jamiroquai was my top song.”

What are some of your musical guilty pleasures?

“Genesis, Phil Collins, Charlie Puth” 

What are your biggest influences?

“It changes an awful lot but Hiatus Kaiyote is a great new soul band and the singer is incredible. I’ve been listening to a lot of Leon Bridges and Frank Ocean. There’s also an album that came out in the 70’s, it’s called ‘Plantasia’ which is an amazing record and it inspires me to use my Moog. Todd Rundgren, especially his song ‘Cold Morning Light’.” 

How long have you been working on your next album for? When will it be released?

“I’ve been working on it for 2 years. It’s gonna come out next year. I’ve never worked on something that long but it’s done, mastered, and has artwork. It’s called ‘Mellow Moon’. I’m really excited to put it out. I really enjoy collaborating with others on artwork because it’s exciting to see the finished project.” 

Tell us a bit about your side project

“I have a project called Ariel Days where I do all the art, music, instruments, producing, mixing, and artwork. I started it a few years ago after I got signed! It’s something that I can do completely by myself. I started a label called Haunted Attic Records and I started doing Ariel Days and it started getting a lot of plays. I have complete creative control over everything. The music under it doesn’t suit my other sound so it’s nice to have the option to do whatever I want with that project and just experiment. It’s nice to have options. There’s a lot of artist pages on spotify that I’ve just put random songs on there and not told anyone.”

How would you explain your sound? 

“With the sound of Alfie Templeman, it changes but it’s quite concise. It’s quite colorful and still me. Ariel Days is a bit darker and more honest in places.”

Live performance at the House of Blues Voodoo Room

Alfie finished the last leg of his North American tour here in San Diego at The House of Blues Voodoo Room with openers Rebounder and Alix Page. He brought the room to life with his youthful presence and energetic performance. The colorful sound and sincere lyrics perfectly match Alfie’s playful demeanor. The excitement of playing in front of a live audience exuded out of him. Alfie made sure to connect with the crowd during and after the show. He thanked the crowd for their claps and praise, and even spent time meeting fans once his set was over. We hope Alfie will be back in the states soon as he is set to release another album this coming year.

Be sure to check out Alfie Templeman on Spotify and Instagram!

The Sounds of State

Have you ever wondered what everyone walking around campus is listening to through their headphones? I most definitely have. Personally, I cannot imagine walking around campus, doing homework, driving around, or getting ready without music and was curious to see if this was the same for my fellow SDSU students.

I created a survey to learn about what types of music my peers are listening to as well as the frequency and occasions they do. It was very interesting to see the results come in because I found that music is a HUGE part of a majority of students’ lives on this campus.

I found that students spend around 4-7 hours a day listening to music, which is a lot considering the time required for sleeping, class, etc. On a scale from 1-10 (1 being not important and 10 being the most important), the majority rated music as a 9.

A majority of those I surveyed use Spotify as their preferred music platform, with some using platforms like Apple Music, SoundCloud, or Youtube. It is interesting that of all the different platforms used, they are all streaming services meaning college students tend to use a streaming subscription to listen to their music rather than anything else. These streaming platforms often have deals for students as a means for them to gain more clients while making it affordable at the same time.

As far as favorite genres of music, the results were kind of everywhere. Rap/Hip Hop and Indie/Alternative received the highest amount of votes which did not really surprise me. Rock/Alternative and R&B received the next highest, followed by EDM, then Pop, Country, and then Jazz.

As for occasions of music listening, I found that everyone surveyed listens to music when they study or do homework. Genres listened to while doing this include EDM, Lo-fi, Indie, Instrumental, and others. Results were the same for listening to music while walking to class, getting ready, and driving around in the car. The frequency differed but everyone does listen to music while doing these things. My favorite part of this survey was asking people to explain their music tastes. Some of my favorite responses include:

“All over the place but really good,” “The intersection of what I want to hear and what I need to hear,” and “Anything but country.”

I already knew, based on seeing students walking around, that music is a very big part of most students’ lives on this campus, but this survey really reiterated that.

Written By: Ceceli Riffo-Drecksel

Mac Miller’s Circles Album Review

Not what I expected but exactly what I needed is the best way I could explain Mac Miller’s posthumous album titled Circles, which was released in January.

Though a posthumous album feels eerie it is definitely the closure I, millions of other fans, his family and loved ones, and Malcolm himself needed. Following his death in 2018, I wasn’t sure how to live with the fact I would never see him perform live and would never get to see his career continue to bloom. One of my favorite artists of all time, his music spoke to my soul in ways most other artists haven’t. Miller’s oftentimes heavy yet heartfelt lyrics accompanied by his versatile sounds are some of the reasons I find his music so distinguished. His albums tell a story from beginning to end, something not entirely unique to him but is so well done by him.

His last album released before his death, Swimming, has become one of my all-time favorites and left me wanting more. I wanted to see him come to the resolutions and clarity he was pondering in this album. Circles does the tricky job of tying it all together. Miller was working on Circles with composer-producer Jon Brion at the time of his passing. It is not known how far into this project he got but Miller’s family put their full trust and support into Brion to make the album he would’ve been proud to share with the world.

Surely this task was not easy, therefore Brion should be immensely proud of himself for not only giving us a great album but making one he knew Miller would be proud of. Filled with questions about life, “Does it always gotta, does it always gotta. Gotta be so complicated?”, viewpoints on humanity, “Everybody’s gotta live. And everybody’s gonna die. Everybody just wanna have a good, good time. I think you know the reason why,” and personal notes to self, “No, they don’t like it when I’m down” this album explores the depths of self-discovery, healing, and the shared human experience.

If you haven’t had the chance to give this or his entire discography a listen, I highly recommend you do. Rest in Paradise Malcolm James McCormick. Your impact will live on forever.

Written by: Ceceli Riffo-Drecksel