Alfie Templeman's 5 Favourite Record Producers
Described by Record Collector as "one of the best collections of summery pop in ages” Alfie Templeman's acclaimed debut album Mellow Moon is out today on Chess Club Records/AWAL. With the 19-year-old sensation playing no less than eleven instruments and contributing heavily to the production of the album, we got together with the man himself to find out the five producers that light up his night sky.
DIY Magazine declare that Mellow Moon "seems to exist in an alternate universe". It's an observation that could also comfortably describe the oeuvre of Alfie's musical hero Todd Rundgren. From Todd's own momentous solo albums such as the mercurial Runt, to his production work for artists such as Grand Funk Railroad, The New York Dolls and The Tubes, Alfie recognises "so much variety and versatility in his production and overall catalogue." Noted for his command of a considerable range of instruments and the mixing desk, Rundgren is the total package when it comes to production (biographer Paul Myers proclaimed the studio to be his "ultimate instrument"). It's a high-bar standard to which Alfie relishes the pursuit: “What I love about him is that every single record he ever put out, he changed.”
"If you’re that versatile, and you can play anything, then you’ve got to show that. Prove it" - Alfie Templemen on Todd Rundgren
The mesmerizing piano hook and unforgettable vocal line of 1972's 'Hello It's Me' is a great jumping off point into Rundgren's formidable catalogue, not to mention an evident forebearer of Alfie's contemporary search for pop perfection.
Alfie describes French electronic music pioneers Daft Punk as "one of my biggest influences in dance music and the inspiration for a lot of my synth sounds." The duo started out in the underground French house scene before bringing the disco-loop production style known as The French Touch to worldwide attention in 2001 on their Discovery masterpiece. The final studio album by Daft Punk, Random Access Memories saw their sound evolve to include live instrumentation and immaculate funk soundscapes. "I reference them when I want a super clean and polished production sound" Alfie explains. The blend of icy synths and mute-picked guitars on megahit 'Instant Crush' serves as a perfect example of their pristine Parisian sensibilities.
Not for nothing does Alfie describe 'the fifth Beatle' George Martin as "one of the most ground-breaking producers." Back in the 1960s, as the in-house record producer for EMI, George was tasked with helping The Beatles to start properly recording their songs early in their career. Across subsequent, increasingly experimental, albums this partnership became the most celebrated artist/producer pairing in pop music history.
Working not just as a producer, but as an arranger and composer, George added orchestration to some of The Beatles' most celebrated songs such as 'Yesterday' and embarked on a journey with the band to push the envelope of what is possible in the recording studio - and the limits of the album format itself. "His approach with panning, tape manipulation and engineering techniques has always amazed me" Alfie confides. The legendary guitar solo in 'I'm Only Sleeping', which appears in reverse on the album, is a perfect example of this mastery of manipulation.
Co-founder of krautrock group Can and notable for his groundbreaking work that bridges the gap between avant-garde artistic sensibilities and pop music, Alfie considers Holger Czukay "an ambience pioneer". After being sidelined from Can, Czukay undertook a run of solo albums which manipulated sounds in trailblazing ways, from using shortwave radio sounds to nascent tape-based sampling that pushed the definition of what constitutes a musical composition. Through a career of collaborations with Jah Wobble, David Sylvian, UNKLE, Brian Eno and many more Holger continued to explore experimental recording techniques and soundscapes, which have profoundly influenced Alfie's own sensibilities: "He got me really interested in dynamics and how ambience can affect the whole sonic and mood of the song/album" he reflects. Listen to 'Cool In The Pool' and consider the fact that the dynamics and ambience at play in this are achieved using the physical splicing of tape!
American singer, songwriter, record producer and graphic designer Chaz Bundick aka Toro y Moi, has been an influence on Alfie's studio sounds and musical philosophies. A prime figure in the emergence of the chillwave microgenre that emerged in the late 2000s, Alfie admires Chaz's bold artistic decisions: "He's never scared of holding back, always a new direction and well thought out plan each time."
'So Many Details', the hit single from 2012's Anything In Return encapsulates the Toro y Moi sound; sublime synths percolate over crunchy drum loops punctuated by reverb-washed guitar licks: "His drums and guitar sounds are some of my favourites," Alfie divulges "I’m just always amazed by everything he touches."
Mellow Moon is out now on exclusive and signed formats from Alfie's Official Store, including Lunar Glow Vinyl and Signed CD, alongside mixed-format bundles.
Commenting on his debut album, Alfie shares: “It’s pretty much impossible for an album to define who you are when you’re 19, but I think the real message I want to say with this record is that I’m still figuring my life out, and the ride has only really just begun."