If there are two careers that seem more polar opposite than being a lawyer and a DJ, you’d be hard-pressed to name them.
However, in Snedden Hall & Gallop business lawyer Maarten Vlot, these two interests combine to create a formidable litigator and a renowned DJ.
Four days a week, you’ll find Maarten in his office at the Canberra law firm, where he generally specialises in dispute resolution. However, on Wednesdays he produces a weekly radio show called Liquid Sunshine that is broadcast locally through 2XX as well as in the US.
He says what most people don’t realise is that the two skillsets actually complement one another, particularly when it comes to him being able to provide legal advice to creatives and litigate in the small, but growing, arts, music and events law space.
“A lot of creatives are very keen to get things happening and organise events and the like, but they often have no idea where to start,” says Maarten.
With his background in law, love of events and music, Maarten came to the realisation that he could help.
“I’m able to assist people – many of who are much more creative than I – to realise their dreams,” he says.
But it’s not just about filling in forms, either. Arts and events music law might seem niche, but it actually encompasses anything from copyright issues to organising events.
Maarten also says something that occasionally arises is when musicians perform but don’t get paid for it, and they need to have their wages recovered.
“A lot of musicians don’t realise how wide the legal scope of their profession is,” he says.
Determining who gets paid in a band, for example, when multiple people collaborated on a project can see problems arising.
“Is it the collective who gets paid, or is it one or more individuals? They seem like mundane questions and realistically, no-one thinks about this when they start off making music with their mates,” says Maarten.
He sits on multiple boards and helps organise the You Are Here festival, and the Dutch Food and Culture Festival, so he knows firsthand the complicated legal requirements that often crop up in these spaces.
When many of these festivals are run by volunteers who are incredibly passionate about the cause, but may not know all the necessary boxes that need to be ticked, legal advice can be extremely useful, says Maarten.
“You have to know how to fill in the paperwork, know how to apply for grants, and simply how to deal with government,” he says.
“It’s not something anyone is taught.”
With such a strong passion for events, music and creativity of all kinds, Maarten says he aims to find the most cost-effective solution for his clients in all cases.
“It might sound like a bit of a cliche, but it’s actually very important to me personally and professionally,” he says.
“I’m not in the business of trying to spend my clients’ money unnecessarily.”
When it comes to his own music taste, Maarten is all about deep funk, rare groove, disco and beats, and this is what is reflected on his radio show.
That being said, his music career was kick-started by joining heavy metal band Judgement Day, which he says was “world famous in the Netherlands”.
Maarten was first drawn to music for its ability to convey a wide range of emotions, and being a radio producer and DJ allows him to share the music he loves with others.
“I get very excited when I can share an amazing track with people and say, ‘Listen to this,'” he laughs.