Self-taught on 10 different instruments (although not including the saxophone on Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody for asthma reasons), Templeman made his own pedal board for the new single.
“It's literally just a bit of chorus and some cool reverb sounds that I've been messing around with,” he explains. “I'm quite proud of the guitar sound because it doesn't sound like a bog standard guitar; it's got an almost synth feel to it.
"I was stacking up those guitar layers and then I nicked a royalty free saxophone, because I can't play sax – at all. I tried to blow a note out of one once and it was like, [he launches into an uncanny impression of a saxophone], not gonna happen!”
Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody is his first single since radio-favourite Forever Isn’t Long Enough arrived in September 2020. Templeman has since been included in an impressive run of 2021 tips lists; in fact, his songs rarely seem to be off the radio.
I remark that when I was arranging this interview, Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody was playing on Radio 1 – (it’s also playing again as I finish writing this).
“No way! That's just incredible. The fact that it's coming from my room and it's going out to the whole of the country is surreal to me, and I'm really thankful for it. I can never take these things in really.
"I looked on Spotify and it says I'm on 900k playlist adds or something; people have actually put me on their playlists, and that's in the space of two years. The more I think about it, the weirder I feel. It's like an existential crisis, but with Alfie Templeman songs,” he laughs.
He wrote and recorded Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody in 2017, and it niggled at him for years afterwards. He tried to go back and re-record it a few times, but could never quite get it right.
A Tears For Fears binge soon sorted that, and he realised that the song needed an Everybody Wants To Rule The World style of production. He got back in the studio, changed a few lyrics and cut it in a couple of hours. He says it’s probably his favourite song on the new record.
Templeman’s new mini album, Forever Isn’t Long Enough, is out on May 7, which serves as his most substantial body of work before his debut album arrives. He shares that the mini album is also ‘80s themed:
“There’s one song which is almost like Bruce Springsteen in a way, so I'm going with different ‘80s influences and tying it together. I spent nearly two years on it; I just wanted to make sure each song was as perfect as I could make it. It just feels a bit more commercialised – in a cool way rather than a bedroom, poppy kind of vibe. It's a bit more big-sounding.
"I wanted to make a refined and focused pop record, something more widescreen than an EP but more concise than a full-length album with a feel somewhere between Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and Tame Impala’s Currents. I realised that I needed to slow down a little and work on things carefully.”
He can't say too much about his full album just yet, other than he hopes that it will come out next year and that it was also made in his room.
“It sounds very cinematic; it's completely different from the mini album. I'm trying to go with a movie soundtrack kind of sound, with luscious strings and all kinds of different sounds going on. The whole idea I have for the record is to make each song sound completely different to the next.
"I've bought a Moog synth for it, so I'm experimenting with weird sounds. I'm just trying to go full out and be a bit more experimental. I've added bits of saxophone – real saxophone this time though – and I've been working with other really good musicians to make it sound really cool.”
With Forever Isn’t Long Enough still on heavy radio rotation, Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody is sure to follow. Templeman has nothing but gratitude for the radio stations and fans supporting him, which he’s especially relieved about given that he left school at 16 to pursue music full time:
“Thank God this worked; bloody hell! If this didn't work, I don't know where I’d be. I honestly couldn't tell you. I'm very, very lucky that this worked out because I never really considered a plan B. I just thought, ‘you know what? Music is all I want to do and if it doesn't work out’, then”... he pauses mid sentence for the first time during the interview, “life isn't legit,” he lands on, immediately laughing at himself for his Gen Z slang.
“Or whatever, fam,” he grins.