THIS STATE I’M IN is the stunning debut EP from one of Wales’ most exciting young bands, The Royston Club.
Released on Saturday 28 March 2020, it includes their great recent singles Mariana and Believe It or Not – which have already made waves on streaming services – and two brand new tracks in Young and Tangled Up.
Since bursting out of Wrexham in early 2019, the four-piece have already amassed well over 200,000 plays on Spotify and have established a firm following within the indie community.
Inspired by Arctic Monkeys and The Smiths, there’s also echoes of early Oasis, The Libertines, Jake Bugg and The Courteeners in their riffs and melodies. BBC Radio Wales have also compared their sound to US giants, The Strokes.
The band consists of Tom Faithfull (lead vocals & rhythm guitar), Sam Jones (drums), Dave Tute (bass), and we spoke with lead guitarist and main songwriter, Ben Matthias.
Considering you only left secondary school last summer, your songwriting talent has a maturity that really belies your age. How would you describe your music to anyone who hasn’t heard it yet?
It’s singalong, catchy, easily accessible indie music. We never want our music to be too complicated. If people can sing along at a gig, we’ve done our job.
My songs come out of nowhere. I usually start with a riff on my electric guitar and it comes together pretty quickly. A big influence on my songwriting is Alex Turner, and I like Nick Cave a lot. There’s bits of Blur in there and The Bluetones, and in terms of Welsh bands Manic Street Preachers are a massive influence. My dad had a lot of Oasis on when I was growing up too.
How did the band form?
Me, Tom and Dave were in secondary school together and started jamming in 2017 as we all loved indie music. We were mainly playing covers, but I started writing some original stuff and thought we needed a drummer. Sam was a mutual friend of ours, so he joined us in late 2018. We definitely have a similar taste in music and go to gigs together, but we each have our own little sub-genres which we like.
We started at an Open Mic Night at a local pub called Saith Seren and people there rated us, which gave us the confidence to decide to carry on.
How did the band get its name?
There’s an old man’s club in Acrefair near Llangollen where my grandparents live called ‘The Royston Club’. Every time I went I went to visit them, I would see it and we were looking for a band name, so I thought “that’ll do!”
Talk us through what you’ve released so far.
We started off with Shawshank in March 2019 about three months after we formed. Once we had released and it had been received well, we decided this was something worth pursuing. Then we brought out Waster in May 2019 and Kerosene last October, which got some radio play. We’re building more and more momentum with each release and our recent singles Mariana and Believe It or Not have had a good response, so we’re really looking forward to seeing how this new EP does.
And what can we expect from This State I’m In?
The EP was recorded with Alex Quinn at the legendary Parr Street Studios in Liverpool where some of our favourite bands have been recorded including The Stone Roses and The Smiths. It was a completely different experience to Shawshank, Waster and Kerosene as they had been recorded locally in a smaller studio in Wrexham. At Parr Street, we had The Coral recording next door and we had a chat with them whilst making a cup of tea, which was great as we’re big fans of theirs. It was hard not to be fan boys to be honest!
With this new EP, we’ve managed to kind of find our own sound after the three previous releases being completely different sonically.
Young was written while taking my A-Levels and describes the frustration surrounding the limits that come with being young. The inspirations behind this tune include Pavement and early Arctic Monkeys with the conversational tone of the lyrics. Musically a lot of the inspiration came from Sports Team’s guitars and from Sundara Karma.
Believe It or Not was written about a week before we went into the studio and is one of the songs I’m most proud of lyrically. It’s quite stripped back in the verses with a big chorus to sing along with.
Tangled Up is about a relationship going really well, but I can’t get over personal, unjustified worries about it. This one is a song of two halves – give it a listen and you’ll get what I mean.
Mariana was written last summer about a girl I met at Leeds Festival. It’s kind of a modern story of unrequited love, but without all the romance and more of being drunk at a music festival trying to impress a girl you like!
You recently played the iconic Jacaranda venue in Liverpool where The Beatles played some of their earliest gigs. What was that like?
It was an electric atmosphere, the best gig we’ve done by far. To play in the same place where The Beatles had once performed was unreal. John Lennon’s murals are still on the wall there. We’ve played Leeds and Manchester recently and a great This Feeling gig in Rhyl with The Montagues and Fever, but we’re looking to play festivals and around South Wales soon.
Talking of festivals, you’re due to appear FOCUS Wales later this year. That’s quite a journey from playing an open mic night to being on the bill at one of Wales’ biggest music festivals in well under 18 months!
Yeah, thankfully FOCUS has been rescheduled now so we’re playing the Memorial Hall on Friday 9 October, and Llwyn Isaf the following night.
We’re due to play the same night as Tim Burgess and Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, and we’re hoping to catch some of the other Welsh acts like Kidsmoke, Gruff Rhys and Seazoo as well.
If you’re going to FOCUS, you should definitely check us out live as there’s a real energy to our gigs and we’re sure to get the place bouncing.
The Royston Club’s debut EP This State I’m In is out on Saturday 28 March 2020 to stream and download instantly from digital music services including iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music.