The experimental genius of TEA

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When TEA first emerged in February 2016, it had no precedent. Accustomed to Tequila Tuesdays or Hector’s House, The Vic now opened its doors to what could only be described as ‘strict TEA’ – a blend of grime, funky house and soulful trap that attracted an eager, curious crowd. Rather than vanishing into the ether as many startups tend to do, TEA then went on to enjoy a string of successes: two more St Andrews-based events and one night in London demonstrated the versatile nature of the organisation, as it effortlessly moved from venue to venue without compromising on its initial concept.

TEA bills itself as an abstraction, an ever-changing idea that can develop alongside the modern music scene. DJ James Peel emphasises TEA’s unique aura, an atmosphere of evolution and progress: “At every event, you see a completely different crowd, the kind of people who wouldn’t just show up to a normal night.” From venue to vibe, every TEA is a completely different experience (DJ FLO recommends attending each one to avoid missing out.)

Leo Clayton, another DJ within the TEA family, enthuses on the flexibility that characterises the brand: “One of the best parts is creating a new concept.” He describes the planning process, a series of proposals shared between each team member at a rapid-fire pace, lasting until a single cohesive idea has been settled on.

TEA
Photo: 3Point Media

TEA’s consistent success in re-branding itself is derived from the eclectic taste of its DJs. As each boy takes his turn at the decks, he brings with him a new sound and style that characterises the night. FLO channels old school hip hop and grime, while James and Leo focus on the next generation of house. This lends a certain degree of fluidity to the organisation, as explained by the newest DJ to join TEA, Ferdinand Vermersch: “We’re trying something new, rather than following along. It’s meant to be something that everyone can experience.”

The desire to improve the quality of St Andrews’ nightlife seems to be the ethos behind TEA. FLO attributes the creation of the brand to boredom: “We were bored of St Andrews. We wanted something more and we thought that people wanted more too.” James echoes this sentiment: “I do it because I want people to be happy and to enjoy their night.”

If sold-out events and a constant demand for more is anything to go by, TEA has accomplished this mission. Expectations continue to climb as the boys prepare for their first event of the year, an intimate gathering at Aikman’s Cellar Bar this Sunday evening. We can surely expect great things to continue to emerge from the TEA brand.

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