joseA key figure behind the success story is DJ Yolapongo, Jose Ferrándiz, now the primary engine running the show. Born in Spain, Jose has lived in Finland for the past four and a half years. He has deejayed for almost ten years in Spain and around Finland. “The main difference between Finnish and Spanish audiences is that the Spanish people are more open to new music. Finns won’t dance unless they know the song. Play something new and you’ll empty the floor. You have to carefully slip the new stuff into the set,” he explains.

Another difference is the heavy role of club organisers in Finland. Spanish bars tend to book their own programme and they usually have a clear musical profile. In Finland it’s the club promoters who bring the music. The same venue can host a different club with a different style of music every night.

“Pop-O-Matic was originally going to be just a one-off party for some friends. Back then the place didn’t even have a dance floor, but those guys got up and started to party anyway, and that got some of the other people dancing too. The next time we went back and booked a band as well. I owe a lot to the folks who were there at the beginning,” says Jose.

“The idea was from the start to have good music and fair prices and to support the Finnish indie scene.” He sees a lot of potential among Finnish bands, but what they need is more push. Since Pop-O-Matic started, indie clubs have proliferated. But it seems the tide is turning now: “Electro is now growing more popular, while the more traditional indie rock is losing out. They attract a lot of the same people, so if one goes up, the other goes down.”

Nevertheless, Jose plans to keep the club going for some time. He says he is happy in Finland and plans to stay. “For a day job I work for a software company, but this is really what I love to do.”