Considering his ever-growing popularity and countless sold out shows, Jeff Abel, better known as Excision, certainly is a mystery. With ominous branding complete with skulls and masks, the elusive nature this artist brings carries over into his PR exposure. Very few interviews or even simply unmasked photographs exist of this 100,000 watt prominence in the electronic industry. UPC managed to score an exclusive interview with the phantom Excision as he storms the country on his rigorous Executioner Tour.

UPC: Even through your ever-growing popularity you still manage to maintain an underground feel. How do you foster that?

Excision: 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.

UPC: Where do you draw inspiration from for your branding?

Excision: It came to me in a dream; a sea of virgins. They whispered…. “ you will make hard dubstep, and women will love you forever.”

UPC: Your tour seems really rigorous, you’re performing nearly every day, how do you stay excited and not burn out?

Excision: The new stage “The Executioner” has been in progress since April of last year. When we built Xvision, we learned what projection mapping is truly capable of, and with a bit bigger budget this year we were able to produce something far more complex. 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.

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.

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.

Be sure to check out and follow Excision on Soundcloud for the latest!