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January 24, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Excision brings on full throttle EDM | Concert preview

(Terrance Blanton /  Fadewood Studios)

(Terrance Blanton / Fadewood Studios)

“We Will Rock You” could easily be the catchphrase for Excision’s 2014 tour.

Armed with his next single, “Rock You,” based on the 1977 Queen classic, and a completely insane 150,000-watt sound system, the Canadian DJ, producer and dubstep innovator is ready to push the boundaries of electronic dance music.

Be sure to bring earplugs.

Excision’s 60-date tour, which features a concert with Dirtyphonics and ill.Gates Friday at the Paramount Theatre, re-imagines Queen’s enduring rock anthem as a mashup of dubstep, drum ’n’ bass, hip-hop and other styles. It features fellow Canadian dubstep producer Downlink.

“I wanted to do a 2014 take on the classic by Queen,” Excision, aka Jeff Abel, said by phone from his home in Kelowna, B.C. “We tested it at a few of the shows last year, and it went really well. The whole crowd was singing along.”

The 2014 tour expands on last year’s production, dubbed The Executioner, upping the wattage from 100,000 to 150,000. The 28-foot wide, 15-foot-tall video and lighting installation is so enormous that it won’t fit inside some venues. But Seattle will get the full-throttle production designed by PK, a sound, touring and event production company based in Calgary and San Francisco.

“We started out with PK from day one,” Abel said. “I was kind of coming up as the premiere act for western Canada, where there really wasn’t much of a scene until 10 years ago. PK put our initial crew together when I did my first tour in 2010. We still rely on them for sound, and they’re always sending us their best new gear.”

Excision, who founded EDM label Rottun Recordings, is a technophile who prides himself on adding cutting-edge gear to his touring show. His newest toy, the Clay Paky A.leda B-EYE, is a state-of-the-art LED “wash light” for beaming super-bright, kaleidoscopic illumination.

“It’s really crazy,” he said. “It’s not even out yet, but I hope we have it for Seattle. We’ll be the first ones touring with it in North America.”

While growing up in Kelowna, Abel became obsessed with dubstep even though there were few outlets.
“There really wasn’t a scene until we started trying to grow it back in 2003,” he said.

Dubstep, which originated in South London, is an electronic dance music genre with distinctive drum and percussion patterns and super-heavy bass. Excision’s aggressive version includes metal, hip-hop and other styles fused into a thunderstorm of beats.

“My thing is anything that’s super high-energy and gets a strong emotional response when you play it super-loud,” he said. “I’ve never made music designed for the radio, and I’ve never really been concerned with breaking into that market. I just want to make music that makes people scrunch up their faces up and say, ‘That’s awesome.’”

If any song can do that, it’s the bass-heavy, roof-shaking “Rock You.”


With Dirtyphonics and ill.Gates, 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, at the Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $35-$40 (877-784-4849 or


Comments | More in Dance, Rock/Pop | Topics: "Rock You", Concert Preview, Excision


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