A NEW music night is emerging in Southend called Tea and Oranges... with the focus on different, quality acts and paying the artists!

It is the brainchild of musicians Tim Keech and Micky Graham who believed there was a space in the Southend music scene to fill.

Tim explained: "I suppose like many people during lockdown we thought there was a hole that closures of key venues like The Railway had left.

"There are lots of good nights still and good people putting things on but we thought we could add to the mix and help curate a night where people of all sorts could come together to feel inspired. "We will be running this monthly or every other month more likely."

The first Tea and Oranges took place on Saturday March 5, with the next one planned for Saturday May 21.

Talking about what people can expect, Tim said: "Entertaining music of a certain quality threshold, that is our aim... always with elements of experimentation and something different. We love elctro, DIY, lo fi, house music, indie, 60’s, jazz, world, ambient – you name it and we will have something we like about it and will have DJ’s playing a diverse range of sounds to complement the nights.

"Sonic Eyes from London are playing our next night on May 21. The main man is a New Zealander but based in the South London underground scene.

"We limit ourselves to one or two acts for one main reason - it allows us to pay the acts.

"DIY gig prices are the same as they were 20 years ago, its just everything else that has gone up. I have played, my mates have all played loads of nights and events locally and not been paid.

"We think paying artists is vital and the economics of this mean fewer bands booked.

"But this means we can pay bands money that actually covers costs at the very least.

"If you think, how can a young band or performers survive if gigs are unpaid? With rehearsal rooms £30-40 a night and then equipment and petrol or travel expenses, a young band may not be able to play gigs unless they are lucky enough to have parents subsidising them, and then that creates inequality.

"Pay the artists - sound men, bands, visual artists - and then this will create a better eco system in our opinion."

He added: "As many on the Southend music scene may know we tragically lost musician and producer John Hannon during lockdown.

"He was a good friend and also a central figure in booking some of the more interesting live events that happened in Southend over the last few years.

"Putting on events I know is something he felt was important, and with all the gloom in the world we need art, expression and joy more than ever.

"Music is the number one medium for this for us.

"With the Ukraine situation, straight on the back of Covid people are genuinely struggling with such disheartening things happening in the world.

"We need to connect again, we need to express, we need to enjoy and create positive change.

"It’s great to be working with Hayley, Elwira and Ben at Twenty One as they are very supportive and encouraging and the venue for me is gorgeous and wonderfully panoramic one. It feels good to be putting these events on. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter."