Partly by chance established Lobby Myyrmäki aims to make attending concerts a part of the everyday life of Myyrmäki residents

Valtteri Pokela

Established at the end of 2021 and recently joined as a member of the Finnish Jazz Federation, Lobby Myyrmäki is an intimate and versatile live music club, the decision to establish which was made based on a discussion of less than 10 minutes. Although the birth of Lobby may seem like a whim, its operation is based on uncompromising professionalism and a desire to offer the best possible concert environment for both musicians and audiences.

Located in Vantaa’s Myyrmäki, Lobby was established partly by chance: a seasoned professional musician, saxophonist William Suvanne, was looking for studio space when his acquaintance Jane Manninen suggested founding a jazz club. The friends’ first meeting on the topic lasted less than 10 minutes, after which the decision to establish was made. Tipi Anttila soon joined the club’s working group, taking responsibility for marketing, among other tasks.

Establishing a new club naturally required a lot of work: the clock was disregarded, and the club space project was completed just in the nick of time. “The last day before opening was very interesting: the renovation was far from finished, generally there hadn’t been much sleep, and the last night was probably spent working with somewhat the same eyes. The final lists were put in place only 2–5 minutes before opening the doors,” recalls William Suvanne, the managing director of Lobby.

The guiding principle of Lobby is to be an unusual small live music club, inspired by, among others, the legendary Village Vanguard in New York. “Good acoustics have been extremely important to us from the beginning, and a lot of work has been done for it. I can proudly say that we succeeded excellently. Even if there is a big band playing at full volume on stage, the sound pressure doesn’t feel high, and the sound is pleasant in every way. On the other hand, softly played music also comes across to the listener clearly and pleasantly,” rejoices Suvanne.

In the initial stages of the club’s operation, it was finding its place; there were many gigs in the first few years and on several weekdays. The hundredth public event was held in less than two years. Nowadays, live music is mainly focused on weekends. Manninen and Anttila, who were involved in the early stages, stepped aside, and today the operation is run by managing director William Suvanne with his spouse Suvi Leppätie.

Saksofonisti William Suvanne esiintyy pianistin kanssa Lobby Myyrmäen lavalla.

Lobby’s managing director, saxophonist William Suvanne, (on left) performing at his club. Photo: Emma Turunen

Over the course of two and a half years, Lobby has hosted many professional gigs, with a special emphasis on jazz and other rhythm music. The versatile club has also seen theater, stand-up, drag shows, wine tastings, and much more. There is a music studio associated with Lobby, so several studio sessions have been held on stage and in the rehearsal rooms. As part of the background organisation’s activities, the Myyr York Rhythm & Jazz Festival will be held for the second time next October, at Skenesali, in same premises where Lobby is located.

The guiding principle of Lobby’s programming is simply quality and interest. “For the last 20 years, I have worked as a freelance musician, mainly working on weekends. As a result, apart from festival gigs, I haven’t seen many live performances by my Finnish colleagues, which is why I have booked only bands or artists for Lobby that I would have liked to see myself. Therefore, I recommend establishing a club to everyone, live music is the best,” says Suvanne.

Lobby recognizes that the audience base for jazz and other rhythm music could be broader in Finland. Improving the situation is approached patiently and determinedly. “The habit born during the Corona era of spending more and more free time at home is certainly a challenge for the entire industry. Since expanding the regular audience of a relatively new rhythm music club is a slow process, our typical club evening audience mainly consists of the audience brought by the artist or band. Our goal is to make attending concerts a part of the everyday life of Myyrmäki residents,” says Suvanne.

On Saturday, May 4th, Lobby Myyrmäki will host a record release concert featuring William Suvanne Trio feat. Mikko “Gunu” Karjalainen and Olli Virtanen Group. More information and tickets:

Cover photo: Janne Saarinen