The Covid-19 pandemic hit every industry in 2020, including music.

But that did not stop it from being a year to remember for Wrexham-based band The Royston Club.

With two of its four members playing for Chirk AAA Football Club, the up-and-coming band began the year playing a gig before just 25 people. By the end of the year, the group had hit one-million streams on Spotify.

Sam Jones, Ben Matthias, Tom Faithfull and Dave Tute began making music at the start of 2019, setting their sights on selling out venues across the country.

After releasing their first EP ‘This State I’m In’ in March 2020, the Indie group were prepared to play live across the country, but the Covid-19 pandemic put brakes on their plans.

Being unable to play for crowds has been frustrating, admits drummer Sam, but seeing their fanbase grow throughout the year gives the band more reason to look ahead to the future with optimism.

Sam said: “Obviously for a band like us, straight away you look at the opportunities we’ve missed out on.

“In terms of live gigs and getting out there around the UK, which is obviously a huge negative for us.

“But at the same time, we’ve probably tripled in size since lockdown in March which is really weird.

“It’s one of them where it’s a bit of a blessing in disguise because even if we had played gigs this year, we might not have got to the size we are now.

“It feels weird to say that, but we just don’t know how things would have worked out.

“It’s frustrating because the situation surrounding Covid seems never-ending at times, but we need to look at it with a positive attitude as a band and realise that it has been a successful year for us.

“We’ve got a good platform now, so when things do get back to normal, we’re in a better position than we ever have been to be able to make the most of it.”

Sam says the band’s following has almost tripled in size since before the pandemic, and the increased level of interest led to sold out shows in some of the UK’s biggest cities, which were set to be played before the end of the year.

“Three of the dates for the tour – London, Liverpool and Birmingham – we originally put them on sale in June to be played mid-November,” he said, “because at the time we thought we’d have been able to play by then.

“But now we’re in a situation where we’re in January and we’re almost in the same situation as we were in March, which is a really frustrating thing not just for us, but for other bands in our position as well.”

“It’s just the not knowing when everything will be back to normal which is the frustrating part - it’s obviously really hard to plan ahead.

“We have the tour in April and May, but we’re still not holding too much hope that it will go ahead at this point - it really could go either way and it’s out of our hands.

“I think that has been the hardest part, the uncertainty.”

The thought of live shows and being able to play some of their new material in front of their growing fanbase is something which keeps the band motivated during a difficult situation.

Sam said: “Since releasing the EP, we haven’t played a live gig, so no-one has seen us play our songs like Young or Tangled Up live while they’ve known it.

“Obviously Mrs Narcissistic as well which we’ve released, and we have a couple of other songs ready to release as well which should be out before the tour.”

“Without sounding cocky at all, I don’t think we really realise how big the band has gone.

“Don’t get me wrong, we’re still not massive compared to other bands, but considering how much we’ve grown since before the pandemic – last January we did a gig in Manchester and managed to bring 25 people to watch, and that was a push to bring that many.

“Now we’ve sold out a 450 capacity venue in the same city less than a year later, so I feel like until we start playing live, it won’t actually set in with regards to how well we have done.

“We do talk about it now and again – whenever we’re frustrated or not feeling very motivated, it’s quite nice to be able to say we’ve done quite a good job considering what has been going on.”On Spotify alone, The Royston Club’s music was heard by listeners in 88 countries in 2020, with their songs being streamed for more than 33,000 hours by more than 100,000 people.

Worldwide and local support is equally appreciated by the group, who remain overwhelmed by the backing they have received.

“We’re massively thankful for the support locally and further afield too,” said Sam.

“Even going to football training in Chirk, the players, managers and people at the club are asking about the band and how it’s going.“It’s really nice to see that even people who may not be massively into that kind of music, or into that sort of scene, are still able to show a level of support and interest to it.

“While we can’t get out around the country doing gigs and things like that, the people closest to home showing an interest is another big boost of motivation for us.

“We could all talk about the band all day, we love it. So when people are asking about it, it’s always a nice thing.”The Royston Club are hoping to return to the stage in 2021, as long as the pandemic permits, and hope to be using the platform they have made for themselves to play in front of their fans, new and old.

“All of us four in the band are still, not pessimistic, but realistic about it,” Sam said. “We know we’re a way off getting to the next level and getting to a position where music can be our full-time thing.”“We just want to make sure we can be consistent with it and make sure we keep releasing good songs after good song, to use the work we have done and maintain the momentum in the right sort of way.”“Hopefully when we get back to normal we are able to make the most of what we have created so far.

“I just feel like being able to go on tour and do gigs with bands who are the next level up from us is our aim.

“Bands like The Lathums, Sports Team and The Night Cafe – they’re all big bands in the Indie scene, and just to have the experience of playing with a band like that and understanding what the next stage looks like for us.

“When we do our next tour, it’s going to be a bit of a shock to the system, and those bands there have been doing the next step up from that, so I think a lot of it is just easing our way into it, hopefully smashing the tour and then making the most of support slots and support tours that we can do.”