Excision Says on DJs Merely Pressing Play at Shows: "F*&k That!"

Out of context, a 55-city "Execution Tour" may seem like a reason to stay indoors. But in the realm of electronic dance music, a 55-city "Execution Tour" is actually a one-of-a-kind multi-sensory concert experience, and not some serial killer's plot to murder.

Just ask Canadian dubstep DJ and producer Excision.

"The [tour] features every bit of cutting edge technology that we can cram into it, and it's our goal to deliver an experience that is as close as you will get to the future of EDM in today's world," Excision tells New Times.

The DJ took time ahead of his Saturday set at Club Cinema to speak with us about his massive stage show, Destroid side project, and the possibility of working with hologram Tupac.

Peep the Q&A after the cut.

New Times: Let's talk about the Execution Tour. When did the idea for this massive, never-before witnessed stage show come about?

Excision: The new stage "The Executioner" has been in progress since April of last year.... We wanted to get away from the 2D "trippy visualizations" as much as possible. My team and I felt that we had learned enough from Xvision to tackle the entire project ourselves.

I worked with Ben from Beama and went through 66 revisions before we finally settled on the current design. I then went and hired 50 or so animators from around the world, created storyboards of what we wanted each animation to look like, how we wanted it to sync with a specific song and spent a huge amount of time on each of them really dialing it in. 

Justin is our Mr. Fixit guy who knows a lot about a ton of different things. He handled the window to the DJ booth, which goes up and down based at the push of a button, as well as the panels that open and close to reveal lasers within the stage, as well as CO2 jets, crazy, low-lying fog machines, and even snow machines! 

A Canadian crew can't truly put on a high production value show without snow. Justin also helped with the Serato/Ableton dual setup.

How has the impressive stage show affected the way you perform? Is it a whole new rush now to get out there and watch the crowd go totally bonkers with the visuals? Do you approach music differently because of it?

I wanted to keep everything as close to a traditional DJ setup as possible, and still have the freedom to play whatever tracks in whatever order the crowd wants them. 

We use Serato music videos for 70 songs; usually I get through 55 in a set. Each of these videos stay in perfect sync with the attached song and the Serato video technology is perfect so far. Where we ran into trouble was creating a fully synced lighting show. We bridged Ableton to Serato and hacked a bunch of things in order to get the time code sent out to the lighting desk and trigger all the cues. The result is a system that gives me full freedom to cater to the crowd and still be a real DJ, but at the same time give a fully synced audio-visual show.

You might think this has been done before, but every artist I've seen, and I've seen nearly all of them, have a 100% pre-planned set that they literally just press a play button at the beginning of the show and fake it for 90 minutes. Fuck that!

Due to how long it takes for movie-grade animations to be created, I had to be careful about which songs I had them made for. I won't ruin the surprise, but it's going to be an epic set that stays true to my roots, but still has enough diversity to make everyone happy. 

Expect to leave exhausted.

I feel that these unique visuals and multi-sensory overload is a metaphor for the electro music scene as a whole. With the music, if you could dream it -- no matter how huge the drops, trippy the tweaks, whatever -- it can be done. The same goes for these elaborate stage shows. Would you agree with that assessment?

The Executioner features every bit of cutting edge technology that we can cram into it, and it's our goal to deliver an experience that is as close as you will get to the future of EDM in today's world. As far as the future years and years ahead goes, we will always be working hard to stay at least a few steps ahead of the rest of the industry.

Let's talk about Destroid. Does the crowd differ at all from your solo fan base?

I've spent over three years getting this new Destroid project ready and I really believe that the way we are putting it together sets down a new path for electronic music performance. Yes, it uses computers, but you'd never know it, nor will you see them on stage. Two custom midi guitars and a fully custom digital drum kit. 

We'll be playing our songs, covers of other tracks, as well as songs shared with us by our friends. With intricate alien/robot costumes with tons of crazy technology embedded, and the freedom to play each song differently each night, every set will be truly unique. 

We've gone so deep into the storyline of this project with viral videos and a graphic novel series that they all tie in with the storyline in the tunes. We have our album nearly finished and are looking at a March/April release! We have our first gigs booked at festivals this summer across North America and can't wait to show the world everything we have in store.

Do you find people who're "not really into electro" more open to Destroid because of the live music element to it?

I still think dubstep straddles the line between mainstream and underground, and certain kinds of dubstep have definitely become more mainstream now. But it's not like you're going to turn on the radio and hear an Excision track anytime soon. Instrumentals are the core of dubstep, and the mainstream stuff is very vocal driven. So as long as the core of dubstep stays instrumentally driven, then dubstep will always stay underground.

Some heavy hitters have production credit on the forthcoming Destroid debut. Is there anyone you wanted for the project that you couldn't get?

I have been in talks with hologram Tupac about a potential collaboration. We have a meeting with his management in a few weeks; I'm hoping he rises for the occasion.

Excision: The Execution Tour. With Paper Diamond and Vaski. 8 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at Club Cinema, 3251 N. Federal Highway, Pompano Beach. Tickets cost $25 plus fees. Call 954-785-5225, or visit clubcinemapompano.com.

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