Canadian DJ/producer Excision just hit House of Blues Boston with his new stage setup! Read on for some photos from the show and an interview about The Executioner and his new project, Destroid, with fellow producers Downlink and KJ Sawka.
The Executioner is a 420-square foot display of 3D video-mapped animations. As he performs live, Excision syncs audio with video while pushing out 100,000 watts of sound. While photos, videos and seeing the show live all portray the main idea, we still had a few questions…
How long did it take to make The Executioner a reality? How many people were involved with making it happen?
►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.
What makes The Executioner’s visuals different from those in other DJ’s sets?
►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 percent 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. It’s always going to be an epic set that stays true to my roots, but still has enough diversity to make everyone happy. You can expect to leave exhausted.
With such massive sound, can this system actually break bottles and light bulbs?
►How loud a sound system is depends on how close you are to it, and how big the room is. Our 100,000-watt PK system is really dialed in for dubstep with 40 subwoofers putting out pure bass. It can do serious damage to venues, especially the smaller ones. The bass in small venues bounces off the back wall and doubles the bass in some places. On many occasions, on a Monday or Tuesday night, we would explode thousands of dollars of alcohol bottles. Venues also don’t like it when huge chunks of drywall fall from their ceiling at every drop, or when all their light bulbs explode.
Were there any difficulties creating The Executioner?
►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.
Find more info about The Executioner like tour dates and tickets, here.
Destroid is a new, full-on live dubstep collaboration between Excision, Downlink and KJ Sawka. While Excision and Downlink handle the beat production, KJ works the drums. Their debut album, to be released in April, features sounds from Bassnectar, Space Laces and more; their live show will launch at a number of festivals in 2013. We’re pretty excited to see the specially made armored suits the trio will perform in.
“I can’t wait to show the world everything we have in store,” Excision said. When we asked him to describe the album using only three adjectives, he answered with, “intricate, new and crazy.”