Photo Adventures with the Stayaways

Back in December, the  Stayaways were featured in a London Art Spot post. Last weekend, I tagged along with my camera while they were shooting video footage for two new songs in Brompton Cemetery and the alleyways around Bank. Here’s a few of my photos and a sneak peak of what to expect from the “Liar is Me” video. For more photos, I’ve put up a set on my Flickr page.

Catch the Stayaways this Saturday at Dublin Castle in Camden for a great night in one of their favourite London venues.

Venue: Dublin Castle, 94 Parkway, Camden NW1
Date: 13 February 2010
Time: 8:30pm
Line-up: Kadejci, Stayaways, Motorcycle Display Team, Brides of Kong

Listen to a Londoner: Rakeem Neil Peebles-Nazir

Listen to a Londoner. This is a weekly post where people who live (or have lived for a while) in London answer a few questions about the Big Smoke. If you fit the bill and want to be interviewed, give me a shout at Always looking for new victims volunteers….

 Rakeem Neil Peebles-Nazir, 33

Rakeem is a journalist and writer who moved here, studied here and will, most likely, live out his days here; a naturalised Londoner, who discovered that it’s much more interesting to be Scottish somewhere other than Scotland!

LLO: How long have you lived in London?
I’ve lived in London for 11 and a half years. I moved here in may ’98 when I was only 22. The day before I moved to London, I didn’t know I was moving. It was a snap decision at about 7.30am!

LLO: Where are you from originally?
I’m originally from Edinburgh. Beautiful place, but too cold for my liking.

LLO: Best thing about London?
The best thing about London is the fact that it’s so big. There is so much to do and see. I think I could live here the rest of my life and not see most of it.

LLO: Best place to catch a gig?
Best place I’ve been to catch a gig was the Dublin Castle in Camden. I’ve been quite a few times and am rarely disappointed by what’s on.

LLO: Favourite London discovery?
: My favourite London discovery is a cool little Polish vodka bar behind Holborn station. The way the alleyway is built, it’s totally hidden from view from the main street. It’s not very big, but they have every flavour of vodka you could think of and some really nice Polish beers too. It used to be called Na Zdrowie, but I don’t know what it’s called these days… I must go check soon! [Editor’s Note: Because no one could pronounce the name, it’s now called Bar Polski.]

LLO: Best time of year in London?
RNP-N: The best time of year in London is definitely the middle of summer. If we’re lucky enough to be enjoying a heat wave, there’s no better place. All the parks fill up with people, the streets are awash with happy faces… even the traffic seems to slow down a bit. The only downside is being on the tube for any length of time!

LLO: First place to take a visitor?
The first place I’d take a visitor to the city is the London Eye. I can’t think of a better way to show someone the city than to see that view of it from over the rooftops before setting out to explore it.

LLO: Boris is…
…probably going to go down in history as London’s greatest ever mayor. He’s pure comedy value, which is where I think half of his votes came from and the other half are from those of us that think he’s a lot more astute than he let’s on. He might well witter when he’s speaking, but he’s still got a good head for politics. Well, I think he does, anyway.

LLO: What would you change about the city if you had the power to do so?
If I could change one thing about the city, I’d have the tubes running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For the relatively small amount of people that would use it through the night, you could easily afford to have some of those Police Community Support Officers on every train during the night and London would be that bit safer.

LLO: Best place to spend a Sunday afternoon?
For me, the best place to spend a Sunday is quietly reading my newspaper over breakfast with friends somewhere in the city centre. I’m a big fan of Covent Garden, but down by the river’s really nice too. Then slope off somewhere to watch the football. It’s what Sundays are all about!

Thanks Rakeem!

For more Listen to a Londoner posts, click here.

London Art Spot: The Stayaways


Deep in the heart of Camden Town some years ago, Liam, Sean and Matt downed a few pints at The Good Mixer and created a band called The Stayaways. Since then, they’ve been rocking out on stages from Camden to Croydon, gathering a following of fans along the way. Last night, they broke seven months of silence – after Matt injured his shoulder – to play a free gig in Kilburn…and surprised everyone with Lee – a brand new guitarist that made this 3-piece into a 4-piece. In this week’s London Art Spot, the original three Stayaways give us a glimpse of what’s to come now that they’re back on the stage.

The Stayaways are:
Liam Devall (Vocals and guitar)
Sean McGourty (Bass)
Matt Whiteley (Drums)
Lee Thom (Guitar)

Listen to: “Controls”

LLO: So, the Stayaways are back after a seven month break. What have you been up to and can we expect any new material?

LD: Seven months is shocking to hear. It’s like weve been away having a baby that came out a bit early, which is what you can say has actually happened. There are definitely new songs and a few re-thinks on some of the others, hopefully bringing a new and fresh approach. We are now a 4-piece, so the possibilities seem endless in terms of sound after being a 3-piece for so long.

MW: I bloody hope so! My shoulder has been pretty ruined for ages now so had to take some time out to let it get better. Now we are back and have started on some new songs. They sound pretty good, moving on from what we have done before into what I hope is becoming quite a defined sound.

SM: It was a pretty unplanned break. Matt had shoulder troubles which was getting really bad, but the break really helped and he’s back to strength. We were kinda lucky in that we wrote some new songs and had some cool gigs like in High Wycombe students union (with masses of sweets!!!) and Barfly, then recorded just as his shoulder was getting bad. During the break, we considered our sound and have made some changes like Lee to help back up on guitar and vocals. We’ve taken the recordings from before the break and re-jigged them for the new layout and concentrated on the songs we thought worked more. We’ve also written a few new ones and have more in the pipeline. It’s hard writing new songs; there’s an urge to constantly play new songs, but at the same time, I think it’s good to revisit some of the older ones. We try to get a good mix to add contrast to our set and keep people intrested.


LLO: Describe your sound for the uninitiated.

LD: I think we have a light and a dark side musically. Songs like “Manna Factory” have both, ranging from the melodic guitars and punchy rhythms heading into the dark alleyway where we set up our thrashier punk side, all with a singable melody. Generally speaking, we try to write songs that we would like to hear; it’s not about ego.

MW: Guitars, bass, drums, voices – done fucking well with a lot of passion!

SM: Personally I think we’re a rock n roll band but not one that wears leather and rides motorbikes, we can fall into more than one bracket but if you imagine a decent Iggy song, combine in some radiohead then a fat drum beat that draws on our experiences from growing up in/ around London I think thta would be something.

Listen to: “The Liar is Me”

LLO: How does living in London and its vibrant music scene influence the band?

LD: It gives you a good indication of the broad cross section of styles out there and therefore an opportunity to try and be unique. You couldn’t get that in any other city in England as in so many there tends to be a niche still lingering – based on a city’s music history – which is hard to break out from.

MW: I don’t live in london.

SM: I’m the only real Londoner in the band; however, Liams lived here for the last so many years. I think being in London and soaking up the variety in life has given us the freedom not to be tied down doing one thing. I don’t think any of us are really stuck in just one genre. Sometimes in rehearsals, we just mess around with ideas which can evolve into songs and we’re not afraid to mix, say, a kinda disco beat with distorted guitars.


LLO: Do you have a favourite venue for your gigs and what makes the best place to play?

LD: I personally don’t have a favourite place to play. I think the best nights are set up by chance. It’s great when you’ve got a good audience who get involved and you can respond to that, and that can happen anywhere. I guess it’s to do with how everyone is feeling at a particular time, the crowd and the band. If there’s a connection between the two, then it works and makes for a great gig. It’s nice to entice the aggression out of people.

MW: I personaly love playing the Dublin Castle because the sound is good, with some really helpful sound guys. Also, because of the shape of the venue, it always seems to have a great atmosphere. It’s great to play there, because you know there have been some amazing bands that have played on that stage over the years and you just strive to surpass that.

SM: I really love playing the Dublin Castle. Everyone there is soooo nice and, after the bands, a club night starts up. Also, with the design of the stage you can get a really good feel for the audience and it’s not too expensive for people to get in. Barfly’s pretty good too, but a bit expensive on entry though you can get a really great buzz from the audience.

Matt, Liam, Sean

For more songs and updates on where to next catch the Stayaways live, keep an eye on their MySpace. To be added to their mailing list or book them for a gig, you can email

Listen to a Londoner: Sean McGourty

Listen to a Londoner. This is a weekly post where people who live (or have lived for a while) in London answer a few questions about the Big Smoke. If you fit the bill and want to be interviewed, give me a shout at Always looking for new victims volunteers….

Sean McGourtySean McGourty, 27

Sean plays bass for Camden-based trio, The Stayaways, fills his bedroom with mahoosive amplifiers and his stomach with oddities from Borough Market. He enjoys fiddling with programming codes, oooh-ing and ahh-ing over planes, and spoiling his dog, Muddy. Oh, and don’t touch the hair.

LLO: How long have you lived in London?
Erm, 27 years

LLO: Where are you (or your family) from originally if not London?
Mum’s Irish; Dad is from London

LLO: Best thing about London?
Me…..Does that count? Otherwise, the diversity. It’s one of the few places where you can dress or do whatever you like and no one really worries about it. Also, there are so many hidden places and quirky independent things to keep you interested and always something going on.

LLO: Worst thing about London?
Dodgy winters without real snow, smelly people on the tube, busses with erratic schedules…

LLO: North, south, east or west?
Northwest every time

LLO: Best restaurant?
Depends on mood. Ooooh, the Jerk Pit on Wardour street, I think. I like the Chelsea kitchen too. Paul for hot chocolate.

LLO: Best shop?
Depends on funds, but Wunjo or Macari’s Musical Instruments for interesting vintage guitars or cool handmade effects and a good chat. Foyles for books and coffee and cakes 🙂

LLO: Best place to escape the city?
Hampstead Heath or the South Bank, walking along the river.

LLO: 2012 Olympics – stay or go?

LLO: How do you spend your time on the tube?
Reading and/or people watching.

LLO: Most random thing you’ve seen in London.
There’s a guy with a pink tank in Southwark. I’ve only seen pictures, but it looked cool.

LLO: Best place to catch a gig?
Dublin Castle

LLO: Best local band?
Can I say mine? The Stayaways

LLO: Favourite book, song or film about London?
Dial M for Murder is kinda getting up there. I just saw it in a theatre and it was really good. There is a film version set in London. Quadrophenia is a film I really love too and it is set in London.

LLO: Favourite London discovery?
There’s a part of Hampstead heath where you can climb up this building and see all over North London.

LLO: Best place to spend a Sunday afternoon?
Pub having a roast or walking through Portobello Market. Ooooh, or the food-y part of Camden Market.

LLO: Best museum or gallery?
The Victoria and Albert is amazing, although there’s a place called the Shuttleworth Collection just north of London that has loads of vintage planes that still fly. It’s really cool and good fun for aviation geeks :0.

LLO: Favourite market?
Portobello. There’s loads of cool stuff from the guys selling old things they’ve discovered to the old clothes, food stalls and then down to the classier end. Always a good vibe and you can stop off at a pub to take a break or get a fresh coconut.

LLO: Most influential Londoner?
If I was under the influence, could I be classed as influential?

LLO: Best time of year in London?
Probably around June/July when things start to get warmer and the days are longer.

LLO: First place to take a visitor?
Some pubs around Camden to experience the nightlife and at the same time a kind of local feeling if you get the right ones.
LLO: Boris is……
…a scary cyclist

LLO: What would you change about the city if you had the power to do so?
Hmmm, I’d love it if the tubes ran later.

LLO: If you were to dress up as one of the tube station names for a costume party, which would you be?
If I was playing safe then probably go for King George V (on the DLR), however I think I’d prefer to be daring and try Queensway 🙂

Thanks Sean!

For more Listen to a Londoner posts, click here.