Mr. Jeff Abel, the monster that typically goes by the DJ moniker of Excision, is the global dubstep phenomenon from British Columbia – and with the good will of the Olympics rapidly approaching – we thought we'd take a few minutes to chat it up with Excision, in light of his upcoming ID Fest performance. Here's the very non-demonic answers he was able to throw at us.
What does your creative process look like? Are you someone who bangs out a whole track in one sitting, or do you chip away at it until it's exactly where you want it to be?
There might be a day where I'm truly inspired with an idea and I get the vast majority of it finished in a day, but usually it takes a week or two to really get everything sounding exactly the way I feel it should sound. It definitely helps to distance yourself from a tune in progress so you can hear it from a listeners perspective and not a creators perspective. You may get really attached to a certain element in the song just because you spent a lot of time creating it, when really the tune would be better suited to go in a different direction.
Tell me about your experiences in Detroit.
I legitimately love playing in Detroit and really anywhere in Michigan. It's got such an energetic crowd that you can tell really loves music. They aren't just getting excited about the anthems that always get a reaction, they are there to get down and hear things they've never heard before. Detroit has become a second home to me for the last few years as my girlfriend lives in the area. When I talk to people outside of Michigan they always have a look of shock when I mention spending so much time in the Detroit area but it's filled with so many genuinely positive people who are really proud of where they are from. You can feel that energy having played at DEMF/Movement to the Fillmore or Electric Forest it has always been a very intense experience that I count among the best shows I've ever played. I'm really looking forward to IDentity Festival coming up here in Detroit!
How do you feel you fit into the evolution of the dubstep genre as a whole?
Dubstep has become a sort of catch-all tag for anything that is bass music nowadays. Yes I was one of the first people creating/playing Dubstep in North America but I've been mixing up genres and playing anything with a crazy bassline for years, regardless of the tempo. Many of the people going to the shows will classify electro house or drum & bass as dubstep. People might credit me with creating a sub genre of dubstep but it was more like I took elements of other genres and applied them to a new tempo. I think that's the real reason for the success of dubstep in America. It's grown to incorporate genres and styles that people already love and presents them in a new way with pounding sub bass underneath it.
What would you be doing with your life if you weren't creating music?
I can't do the repetitive 9-5 thing. People don't give themselves enough credit in making their dreams a reality. I'd rather try to do something crazy than consistently fail over working in a cubicle. Invent, create, it doesn't take long to come up with an entirely new idea of what to do with your life. The next time you catch yourself saying "I wish..." just do it!
You have over 1 million "likes" on Facebook and appear to be pretty active on Twitter. Do you think part of your success has been your interaction with your fans via social media?
Definitely, I've poured hundreds of hours into keeping the communication lines flowing. Taking a few seconds to talk to a fan can mean so much to some fans that they will love you for life. Some artists spend so much on advertising but will never give their fans any love. It also helps so much to hear things from an outsider's perspective. Some artists dismiss reading fan comments solely because it gets tiring reading the same compliments over and over. I understand that, but It's more important to understand WHY people are having a good time at your show, listening to tunes or whatever, so that you can maximize this and give them more! | RDW
IDentity Festival • 7/20, 2 p.m. • Elektricity Festival Grounds • 10 Water St., Pontiac • idfestival.com • All Ages • $40-$60 (VIP Also Available)