We’ve all heard about them. Those guys. The boys and girls who started companies, broke into the music game or finished university, all while you were still figuring out how to microwave two-minute noodles. Bill Gates taught himself to code BASIC when he was 20 because he’d suggested something to MIT. Lil Pump is 16 and has amassed 30 million streamed songs on SoundCloud. We know all these stories, but we rarely get a chance to see them in reality.
Blake Sanders is your chance.
When Blake was just seventeen he started his own clothing brand. “I saved up for a long time,” he laughed. “Almost as long as the government’s been paying our foreign debt off. I bought custom t-shirts in bulk and sold them wherever I could. Online, farmer’s markets, even started an illegal export business to Thailand.
“It was called Shaka Vato™. It was a hit from the start. I recouped my initial investment in the first week after selling enough shirts to clothe an extended Irish family. ” It sounded like his business was heating up, but when I asked Blake why he hadn’t stumbled onto the next Tommy Hilfiger, he merely shrugged and said, “They say some business opportunities are made in heaven. But then again, so are lightning and thunder.”
However, Blake still felt the entrepreneurial itch. He said he had three ideas for a new business: a local DJing gig, a ghost-free real estate broker, or a men’s ‘brief jerky’ underwear line.
Thankfully for Bathurst’s music scene, he chose to go with the first option. “After I completed the HSC, I started my own company called Larry’s Larrikins, which is an event company ran about once a month at The Oxford Hotel.”
“When I started it I was just getting into the club scene of DJing. Being so young and the new kid on the block, I was being told what I could and couldn’t do at events. I didn’t like that, and eventually I realised that people were after a particular kind of night out. It was the perfect opportunity for me to do something new. That’s how Larry’s Larrikins was born.”
No one’s perfect. Blake admits he sometimes messes up through a set, but usually people are too drunk to either notice or care. And each mistake is another lesson to learn from for Blakeüs, the name Blake adopted for his night-time persona.
Larry’s Larrikins is so much fun for Blake that he turned down an LA weekly club spot performing alongside Marshmello. Just in case you want to join in the action, Larry’s Larrikins is ran every 4-6 weeks at The Oxford Hotel. It’s a pretty exclusive event, and only 500 people are allowed through the door. Just in case the free food isn’t enough to drag you there, the night is much turning into the monthly social Super Bowl of the central-west, and I’m fairly sure that Dre has checked it out a couple of times.
I asked him if his success was discouraging for any young DJs who saw themselves as subpar to his talents. However, Blake understands that he’s not the most musical person, and yet he is creative and determined, and according to him, that’s all it takes to succeed in the industry. “In all honesty, I have never really been musical and I’m still not the most musical person you’ll meet. The most important thing I have learnt about music, however, is that the world revolves around it. Everything comes from music, and it will always generate certain emotions in people. That’s very powerful for me.”
You can check Blake out at the Oxford Hotel when he performs, or visit his Facebook page here. In terms of upcoming events, it seems that Blake’s talents have attracted Slumberjack, who will be performing in Bathurst in a couple of weeks time. You can buy tickets here.
For parting advice, I asked Blake what it was like to be part of the 1%, and how to get there. “There is absolutely no shame in giving something a go. If you do something and it works, then good on you. Keep working at it. But if you do something and it fails, it doesn’t matter. At least you tried, unlike the other 99%. And all that trying is eventually going to translate into success.”