Mike Servito | The Bunker New York
Some DJs burst upon the scene like a supernova, fading just as quickly. Others take years, even decades, to make their way—but those are the ones who make the most impact, thanks to a lifetime of accumulated musical wisdom. Mike Servito is a prime example of the latter. His career is one that’s defined by a slow and steady rise to upper ranks of the deejaying realm—and along the way, he’s perfected a jacking style that equal parts house, acid and techno, a sound that pays homage to the past while being very much of-the-moment.
A Detroit-area native, Servito got his early education by tuning into the Electrifying Mojo and the Wizard (Jeff Mill’s radio moniker). By the early ’90s, Servito was primed to try his hand at the deejaying arts, “I was just kind of cocky about it,” he says. “I knew I could do it.” And he was right—in the DJ hotbed of Detroit, internalizing knowledge gleamed from the likes of Mike Huckaby and Claude Young, he kept working at it until he established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the Motor City circuit, eventually becoming a member in good standing with the inner circle of Ghostly International.
But Servito felt the need for a change from the sometimes insular environment of Detroit. By the late ’00s, he was living in NYC with no real game plan in place. As it turned out, he didn’t really need one—he soon fell in with the city’s premier techno party, The Bunker, becoming one of its mainstay residents. Around the same time, he was beginning to make his presence known on a global scale, packing dance floors with gigs around the States and around the world. But it was a hometown festival snub in 2014 that really got things going.
Servito had played Movement once before, in 2011. “And between then and 2014,” he recalls, “I had been playing so many Bunker parties, playing so many great gigs and my profile was rising—so I was sure they would book me again.” The invite never came. Instead, he booked himself at every Movement after-party he could, one of which was the annual No Way Back, a legendary throw down hosted by The Bunker New York and Detroit’s Interdimensional Transmissions label. The set, a riotously sweaty bleeps-and-beats affair, was recorded for posterity; unexpectedly but deservedly, it garnered a nod as the year’s No 1 online Mix of the Year on Resident Advisor.
That was the spark that set Servito’s career aflame, the push that took him to the top. Since then, he’s cemented his status as one of the most respected spinners around, regularly manning the decks at such hallowed halls as Berlin’s Panorama Bar, London’s XOYO and Tokyo’s Contact, not to mention the world’s best festivals—including, of course Movement. And to this day, his approach to deejaying is refreshingly simple: “I really don’t think about it,” he says, “When I’m playing, I just dive in, and I’m OK.” He’s far more than okay—he’s one of the best around.