Mellow Moon

Alfie Templeman

Mellow Moon

When Alfie Templeman was halfway through making his full-length debut, he was hit by a revelation: More pop bangers were needed. Lockdown was lifting and you could see your friends again, make plans, and sniff the breeze—and it unlocked a sense of liberation in the singer-songwriter from Bedfordshire, England. “When I started out about two years ago, there was no pop at all [in my music],” Templeman, aged 19 at the time of release, tells Apple Music. “It was all quite R&B, quite indie and I just hit a point last summer where, all of a sudden, I was seeing places again and I felt like I had a lot more energy.” That feeling of emerging from the darkness and making sense of troubled times runs right through Mellow Moon, the follow-up to Templeman’s 2021 mini-album, Forever Isn’t Long Enough. It builds on the jubilant indie pop of that set, but the hooks are sharper, the sonics bolder, the euphoria more exhilarating. If Forever Isn’t Long Enough was like a giddy coming-of-age drama, here Templeman emerges as a young adult with a new sense of self. “I had a bit of a mental health thing last year, but it taught me a lot about myself,” he says. “As bad as depression is, it can teach you a lot of things, and you see a lot of things in black-and-white, as they are. The pandemic showed me who I was before, and who I am now.” Here, he takes us through Mellow Moon, track by track. “A Western” “I started this one at home during the pandemic when I was 17. I recorded the drums in my dad’s shed and then laid down some head-bopping basslines. With the lyrical content, it’s a lot of ’60s and ’70s pop culture that your dad will enjoy. The end part of it has got a beautiful piano wonderland—it opens up into this fluttery piano part. There’s a lot of new sonics going on.” “You’re a Liar” “This is about getting into a relationship and realizing that all the best parts of it were based on complete lies, things you were told that you believed, and it all turned out to crumble down in front of you. Lyrically, it’s very straightforward. I feel like this album needed that a bit, considering it’s got a lot of really intense moments.” “Broken” “This is a bit of an anthem for people my age, referencing things that I was thinking in the pandemic, all the little wobbles of being a teen and figuring yourself out. Analyzing yourself is an important part of growing up and realizing who you are. In the last couple years, it’s something that I’ve been a lot more open with myself about. I can speak to my mind a lot more and realize my flaws. With ‘Broken,’ it’s realizing where I messed up in the past and realizing I can’t just stay in bed all day. I have to get up and make something out of it. It’s one of the most important songs on the record because it’s so upfront and so honest and real.” “Folding Mountains” “This represents those days when you wake up and you know, right off the bat, that today isn’t going to be the greatest day. It’s about climbing that mountain and getting through it. Even when you feel like you’ve got no energy to get through what might be a stinker of a day, you do it anyway and live to see the next one, knowing that it’s not just today—tomorrow’s just around the corner.” “3D Feelings” “This is about being reminded of your past self, when seeing places that you used to go to, or people you used to be close with, even smelling something that feels familiar, and how that can give you butterflies or make you angry. There’s many different ways to feel 3D feelings. But in the song, I’m talking about someone that I love and hold close to me. I got super nostalgic in lockdown. I left school in 2019 and then the pandemic hit, so I started really processing everything then. I was getting butterflies about a lot of things, missing my friends and missing my girlfriend—things like that.” “Candyfloss” “‘Candyfloss’ is about how life can sometimes appear too good to be true. Candyfloss is what it all appears to be, until you get deeper into it. It appears to be so beautiful and lovely, and then there’s always a downside to it. It was a song that I made with Justin [Young] from The Vaccines, and there’s something really cool about the lyrics—it’s got a call-and-response thing.” “Best Feeling” “This actually started out as a Tinder advert. I got pitched to make this song for Tinder. I wrote the lyrics from the perspective of an old bloke who doesn’t really know how to flirt on the internet; he’s incredibly awful at sexy vocabulary, one of those weird soft boys that try to get sexual in the worst way. Initially, they liked the song but were like, ‘No, this is kind of negative.’ I changed some of the lyrics to make it more positive but even more cringe in a way. It’s a funny song.” “Do It” “I’ve always wanted to make a song that’s like one of those hilariously bad, pseudo-ironic ’80s motivational videos. It’s just me having a laugh at myself, procrastinating a lot—lyrics about just trying to get myself out of bed, trying to have a shower, go somewhere. There’s even me promoting my album in it. The song has a dark, punky, nightclub vibe. I guess now that I’ve mentioned it’s ironic, it’s not really ironic anymore.” “Colour Me Blue” “This one’s super sweet and straightforward, like a little capsule of happiness. There’s not much optimistic language in the record, but this song’s got a lovely vibe to it. It’s got that Todd Rundgren-style piano. I made it with Kieran [Shudall] from Circa Waves. We wanted to make something that was really sweet and happy and pretty. It’s even got a few Strokes references in it, just for the craic.” “Galaxy” “It’s amazing how there’s so many different ways of telling someone that you love them, and when your whole world revolves around them. It can be pretty scary when you’re in a relationship and you’re working that out for the first time, but it’s also a beautiful thing. The more I’ve fallen in love, the more I’ve been comfortable with being in love. ‘Galaxy’ is saying, ‘You are my galaxy, everything revolves around you, I’m doing this for you, I’m being a better person for you.’ Especially in the lockdown, and the last few years, my girlfriend really helped me to be a better person and try to be better for her.” “Leaving Today” “This is the first time I’ve played cello since I was about eight. I got a cello for my birthday last year, and I was really excited to try and record it. I layered it on as much as possible, trying to make, like, a mini Alfie orchestra. The song is about the idea of going on tour again. I’d just about managed to get over my stage fright, and then we went into the pandemic, and it felt like I started from square one. I had to work my way up again. The song is about that one day where it’s like, ‘OK, goodbye, I’m going on tour, here we go. I can’t look back now.’” “Take Some Time Away” “For some reason, when I’m high, I think of really good songs. This just wrote itself in my head, everything just poured out. It has a bit of a James Bond sound to it. It’s very mysterious and dark but is about needing a break from the music industry and social media. It can get so intense online, and it makes me super claustrophobic and anxious. Every time that I’ve gone away and turned my phone on silent, it’s been the best for me.” “Mellow Moon” “This reminds me a lot of the film Up because some of the lyrics are about being carried away on balloons, and it’s just a really pretty song. I wanted to make something that was really romantic and sweet. The song sounds like saying goodbye to the love of your life, like you’re going away. I think it’s pretty common to wish away the afternoon, which is one of the lyrics, when you’re suffering depression. Your mind is so clouded that you just want to go to sleep and stay asleep. This song helped me confront those feelings a lot.” “Just Below the Above” “I wrote the music when I was 14 but re-recorded it at the lowest point of my life, which was last year. I had three weeks of little to no motivation. I couldn’t write a song if you put a gun to my head. One day, I went back through some old songs, and this demo really resonated with me. I rewrote some of the lyrics, and at the time I was feeling very existential, so a lot of the lyrics are asking about the afterlife—what’s out there? I feel like death is life’s biggest mystery and the deeper I explore that mystery, I’m rewarded with both pain and pleasure. The deeper you go, the darker it gets, but the more answers you get. With this song, I really captured all the different ways of thinking about it. It’s a really special song to me.”

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