Back to back is a term that's become watered down over the last couple of years, mostly because promoters and DJs were using the phrase to describe the work of one man, done by two people.
Quite often you will see these words used on party flyers that are trying to double-stack a lineup with way too many unknown names, and other times its used carelessly to describe the transitional time between two DJs who happen to be using the same setup (weird, I know.) But every now and then, when two authentic DJs who share more than a decade of friendship decide to tag-team the decks for four hours and go double-duty on mixing between acid and techno and all the weirdness in between, you know you are in for something much more than two dudes who look like they are checkin' their emails together. If you look around hard enough, and keep your ear to the ground, you will find promoters like Fine Time who understand this concept and strive to showcase incredible DJs like Mike Servito and Derek Plaslaiko to show us how a back to back set is really handled.
Mike Servito has recently become known as the uncompromising vinyl DJ that played four major gigs in less than 48 hours in Detroit this year for Movement— including a sub-headlining slot at the festival itself and a 3 hour slot at Need I Say More with long time friend, Carlos Souffront. Mike and Derek share a long relationship that goes way back to Detroit more 10 years ago, and continues to be something very special that translates into their music when they are playing together for their home label at The Bunker New York. As for Derek Plaslaiko, he proved his marathon worthiness as a DJ years before he was immortalized on the internet by Boiler Room for his 12-hour-mostly-vinyl DJ set that he performed from his house in Berlin. These guys are no strangers to putting in work when it comes to dance floors, and they truly defended the back to back title in what some people would call a Los Angeles techno title fight.
When Mike and Derek are on the decks, there are no breaks going on at the turntables. Mike is constantly checking every variable degree of the record playback process and dialing in his tracks with druggy, filtered precision. Derek is working the CDJs, cueing up channels of perfectly crafted heady techno and hammering in classic slabs of acid house. Mike is digging through his overstuffed vinyl bag, looking for his next selection with an analog cigarette in his mouth, while Derek takes another pull from his e-cig. Mix after mix after mix the records do not stop coming out of Mike's mystery bag. Groups of newcomers are showing up to the party in swoths, and they are immediately crowding the area in front of the DJ booth, dangerously flailing themselves around to the booming bass, getting ever so close to disrupting the delicate yet volatile lifeblood of the party. Dedicated dancers begin to pray that none of these muppets bumps into a turntable. We close our eyes and continue to soak in the frequencies that are crafted from needle and groove, and we give praise to our higher powers for bringing together two DJs who are willing and able to put in the elbow grease that it takes to truly execute a back to back set.
Mike Servito and Derek Plaslaiko are not two DJs doing the job of one person, but rather, they are the managers of an acid and techno disposal site and they wanna know if you punched your time card. The room continues to swell with dancers all the way to the back to the bar, and the one singular bathroom in the entire venue eventually gives way to many of the dancers hanging around out front and pissing in the streets. The night concluded with long whistles and cheers that were nearly indeciferable to my ears after almost 5 hours of hard-pounding music. People ended their nights twirling and staggering off of the dancefloor. The sidewalk out front has become littered with beer cans and cigarette butts, and the cars parked down the side streets are now covered in flyers that, when left on the windshield, say "Pull me over, it's 4AM and I've been out all night." By the time I got home at 5am, I could barely hear myself breath in complete silence, due to the state of my blissfully ringing ears. Thank you to everyone at Fine Time for putting together this night. Check out the next dates that Fine Time has lined up for us.
Saturday, August 15, with Carlos Souffront, Laurel Halo, and Los Angeles local consultant Matt McDermott.