A year on from their formation in the musty surroundings of a GCSE maths classroom,  Hertfordshire based alternative rock band,“The Replies”, are beginning to gain a rightfully earned name for themselves. The 4 man outfit consisting of; Isaac Franklin (lead vocalist / rhythm guitarist), Dylan Palmer (lead guitarist), Joseph Sykes (Bass guitarist), and Max Allen (Drummer) have seen themselves expand from the impracticality of playing in an impossibly cramped bedroom, to experiencing the thrill of upcoming live performances. With an upcoming gig that will see them perform at The Horn in St Albans on the 27th of February, I looked to find out more about the bands beginnings and what exactly makes them tick.


When Allen and Franklin first conceptualized visions of fashioning their own distinctive sound, the primary intention was simply to enjoy themselves.  Any form of music, let alone the layered and detailed music the two were hoping to create, would of course be difficult to formulate as an inexperienced duo. Thus, the pair found themselves searching for individuals who could fill the void that was presented before them. This search was a painless one. Allen and Franklin served as a mid-point through which the final pieces of the puzzle could be placed, with the prior acquiring the skills of Sykes and the latter Palmer. In hindsight the grouping was a foreseeable one, not only do they all share a similarly admirable sense of humour, but each member also shares, as Allen puts it, “a genuine love and passion for music”.


When I collectively asked Franklin and Allen what genre they would class their music as, they squabbled over the answer. Each of them opened their phones and browsed through spotify in order to find a sound that closely resembled their own, yet, even after partaking in detective work deserving of a place in a Sherlock Holmes novel, there remained an uncertainty regarding the topic. After some debate Franklin eventually gave me a definitive answer.


Alternative Rock.


The uncertainty of the pair speaks volumes about both the group as a collective and the music they are aiming to make. As a collective they are, as is usually the case in such circumstances, making music with the sole intention of enjoying themselves, while the music that they are manufacturing with said enjoyment is distinctly unique. As Allen described, while his eyes were transfixed on the Call of Duty campaign that was playing out in front of him, “All of us have a genuine passion for music and when you have a love for something, you want to make it yours”. His in game death that followed shortly after my untimely interruption allowed for a further elaboration, “We went straight into writing our own stuff” he said  “how good it was is another question, but we wanted to go straight into writing our own stuff”. Fortunately for the bands eager listeners, their music is leaps and bounds beyond Allens first person shooter abilities.


The past 12 months has seen the band construct a brief but intensely sincere discography.Their highly eulogised track ‘Paperweights’ details a girls dreams to escape to a better life as she is suffocated by the constraints of her hometown,  while the heartwarming tale, ‘Dream of Sleep’ places its focus on the nostalgic memories forged during childhood. Melodic earworms performed by Franklin are accompanied by the undeniably talented Palmer, while the hypnotic bass lines composed by Sykes along with the powerful beats devised by Allen provide a mesmerising foundation for the bands songs. 


As Allen vividly described the setting in which the band was initially forced to play in, the idea that the best music typically finds itself growing in the strangest scenarios rang true. In the case of the Hertfordshire outfit, these strange scenarios were not generated through the means of the hallucinogens that have enjoyed a persistent popularity within the music industry, but instead the conditions they were forced to play in during the infant stages of the bands development. With Allen’s house undergoing a somewhat extended 60 minute makeover, the group found themselves crammed into a space which can be most flatteringly defined as impractically small. When I asked the drummer about their initial playing conditions he chuckled and explained “We couldn’t move, with all of the gear in the room we couldn’t move, it was very funny”. 


The comedic bizzarity of the groups early days extends as far as their name itself. In the hope of receiving an answer detailing an intricate subliminal message regarding their name, I asked Franklin how exactly the group became known as ‘The Replies’. In the 40 second voice note that graced my SnapChat an hour later, I discovered that, despite not having the subliminal message I was hoping to find, the story of how the band's name took shape is interesting in its own right. After liking the sound of ‘The Re’,  they searched an oxford dictionary in order to find something that, in their eyes, worked. Eventually, after several different names were tried and tested, ‘The Replies’ was finally settled upon. Their amusingly unconventional technique was justified by Franklin as he explained, “All band names are s*** at the end of the day, all our favourite bands had s*** names, so we thought we'd just get something down”.


12 months and several teaser tracks later, The Replies are yet to look back over their guitar strapped shoulders, with new music in the works and a live performance over the horizon.


Tickets for the bands upcoming live show can be purchased from the band members for just £5 or through the official The Horn website that can be found at https://www.ticketweb.uk/event/crafty-second-bite-the-sideliners-the-horn-tickets/10344355. 


For any enquiries you are able to contact the band through their instagram account, @thereplies.


George Robertson.