Girl Talk (musician)
Gregg Gillis (Girl Talk) in New Orleans in 2011
|Birth name||Gregg Michael Gillis|
|Born||October 26, 1981|
|Origin||Cleveland, Ohio, United States|
|Genres||plunderphonics, mashup, hip-hop|
|Associated acts||Trey Told 'Em|
Gregg Michael Gillis (born October 26, 1981), known by the stage name Girl Talk, is an American disc jockey specializing in mashups and digital sampling. Gillis has released five LPs on the record label Illegal Art and EPs on 333 and 12 Apostles. He is trained as an engineer but left his job to pursue his music. He has won numerous awards, has appeared in a few films, and still continues to make music today.
Early life and education
Gillis began experimenting with electronic music and sampling while a student at Chartiers Valley High School in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania suburb of Bridgeville. After a few collaborative efforts, he started the solo "Girl Talk" project while studying biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. In school, Gillis focused on tissue engineering. Gillis states his musical inspirations to have been Squarepusher and Aphex Twin. He has also stated to be interested in punk music, including artists such as Merzbow, who can be classified as a Noise music artist. He has also stated that he was always into hip-hop and pop music. As he got older he started to like older artist such as The Beatles. He has also stated that he was first introduced to the genre by John Oswald.
Gillis worked as an engineer, but he quit in May 2007 to focus solely on music.
He produces mashup-style remixes, in which he uses often a dozen or more unauthorized samples from different songs to create a mashup. The New York Times Magazine has called his releases "a lawsuit waiting to happen," a criticism that Gillis has attributed to mainstream media that wants "to create controversy where it doesn't really exist," citing fair use as a legal backbone for his sampling practices.
The name "Girl Talk" is taken from the late '80's and early '90's board game of the same name. Gillis has given his own different explanations for the origin of his stage name, once saying that it alluded to a Jim Morrison poem and once saying that it alluded to an early Merzbow side project. Most recently, he attributed the name to Tad, the early 1990s SubPop band, based in Seattle. Gillis has said the name sounded like a Disney music teen girl group.
In a 2009 interview with FMLY, Gillis stated:
The name Girl Talk is a reference to many things, products, magazines, books. It's a pop culture phrase. The whole point of choosing the name early on was basically to just stir things up a little within the small scene I was operating from. I came from a more experimental background and there were some very overly serious, borderline academic type electronic musicians. I wanted to pick a name that they would be embarrassed to play with. You know Girl Talk sounded exactly the opposite of a man playing a laptop, so that's what I chose.
For possible future projects, Gillis is considering creating an original song rather than full-length albums featuring songs by other musicians tied together. Girl Talk released his fifth LP All Day on November 15, 2010 – free through the Illegal Art website. A U.S. tour in support of All Day began in Gillis's hometown of Pittsburgh with two sold-out shows at the new Stage AE concert hall. Since Gillis releases his music under Creative Commons licenses, fans may legally use it in derivative works. Many create mashup video collages using the samples' original music videos. Filmmaker Jacob Krupnick chose Gillis's full-length album All Day as the soundtrack for Girl Walk//All Day, an extended music video set in New York City.
In 2012, Illegal Art started to be on an indefinite hiatus, so Girl Talk was not able to release anymore of his works through them. In 2013, Girl Talk continued his work on a new mashup album, producing various hip-hop beats and tracks along with his live shows. In 2014, Girl Talk and Freeway performed an unknown collaboration during a private show. Then, Girl Talk released a video clip for "Tolerated" with Freeway and Waka Flocka Flame. The Broken Ankles EP was released soon after via DatPiff. Gillis played at the Coachella Festival in 2014. For the first time in one of his live shows, artists, including Busta Rhymes, E-40, Juicy J and Freeway, performed their vocals over his mashups.
After the success of his album Feed the Animals, for which listeners were asked to pay a price of their choosing, Gillis made all of his other albums similarly available via the Illegal Art website.
Night Ripper was number 34 on Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums of 2006, number 22 on Rolling Stone's Best Albums of 2006, and number 27 on Spin's 40 Best Albums of 2006. In 2007, Gillis was the recipient of a Wired magazine Rave Award.
Feed the Animals was number four on Time's Top 10 Albums of 2008. Rolling Stone gave the album four stars and ranked the album #24 on their Top 50 albums of 2008. Blender rated it the second-best recording/album of 2008, and National Public Radio listeners rated it the 16th best album of the year.
In 2007, Girl Talk appeared in Good Copy Bad Copy, a documentary about the current state of copyright and culture.
In 2008, he appeared as a test case for fair use in Brett Gaylor's RiP!: A Remix Manifesto, a call to overhaul copyright laws. His parents, in one scene, complain to him about his frequent stripping during his performances. He also discusses his medical career and how laws affect his research.
- Secret Diary CD (2002, Illegal Art)
- Unstoppable CD (2004, Illegal Art)
- Night Ripper CD (2006, Illegal Art)
- Feed the Animals CD (2008, Illegal Art)
- All Day (2010, Illegal Art)
- Stop Cleveland Hate 12" (2004, 12 apostles)
- Bone Hard Zaggin' 7" (2006, 333 recordings)
- Broken Ankles (with Freeway) (2014, Girl Talk Music)
- bricolage #1 CD (Illegal Art) – "Killing a Material Girl" – 3:37
- Illegal Art 2007 Sampler MP3 (Illegal Art) – "Let's Run This"
- Circuits of Steel CD (SSS) (2003) – "On Nesbit"
- Ministry of Shit CD (Spasticated) – "Let's Run This"
- Love and Circuits CD (Cardboard Records) – "All of the Other Songs Remixed" (under Trey Told 'Em)
- Circuits of Steel II CD (SSS) (2007) – "Andy Van Slyke Marijuana Sensitivity"
- Tolerated (with Freeway) (2014, Girl Talk Music)
- I Can Hear Sweat (with Freeway) (2014, Girl Talk Music)
- Beck – "Cellphone's Dead" (2006) (unreleased)
- Peter Bjorn and John – "Let's Call It Off" (2006)
- Grizzly Bear – "Knife" (2007)
- Bonde do Role – "Gasolina" (2009)
- Bad Brilliance – "Non-Tradition (Girl Talk Remix)/It's So Fun (Andrew WK Remix)" (2009)
- Tokyo Police Club – "Cheer It On" (2007, under Trey Told 'Em)
- Simian Mobile Disco – "I Believe" (2007, under Trey Told 'Em)
- Professor Murder – "Dutch Hex" (2007, under Trey Told 'Em)
- Of Montreal – "Gronlandic Edit" (2007, under Trey Told 'Em) (unreleased)
- Thrill Jockey Records – Super Epic Thrill Jockey Mega Massive Anniversary Mix (2007, under Trey Told 'Em)
- Grand Buffet – Pittsburgh Hearts (2003) – "Cool as Hell"
- Jim Jones – "Believe in Magic" (feat. Lloyd) (2011)
Gillis started out and still uses the software AudioMulch. His "instrument" he plays is his laptop. When he plays live every sample is set off by himself. It is likely for him to layer many loops over each other. The set is mapped out in his head and memorized, though the set is live and is subject to change. There is also a video visual to the show that is set off by someone else. It's a live show and he changes it up as he sees fit, but he still practices his set. He has also been known to invite fans onto the stage to dance alongside him.
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- citeweb|url=http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/28/one-on-one-girl-talk-computer-musician/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0%7Cauthor=Nick Bolton|title=One on One: Girl Talk, Computer Musician
- "a (girl) talk with gregg gillis " thefmly – those who were strangers had turned into friends". Thefmly.com. April 30, 2009. Retrieved May 30, 2010.
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- Staff, Rolling Stone (December 7, 2010). "Rolling Stone‘s Top 50 Albums Of 2008". Stereogum. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
- Lapatine, Scott (November 22, 2008). "Blender‘s Top 33 Of 2008". Stereogum. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
- "NPR Listeners Pick The Year's Best Music". NPR.org. December 2008. Retrieved August 30, 2009.
- Stiernberg, Bonnie (December 7, 2010). "Pittsburgh Celebrates Gregg Gillis Day". Paste Magazine. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
- Maher, Dave (March 4, 2008). "High Places, Trey Told 'Em, Fuck Buttons on Huge Comp". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved August 28, 2008.
- "Beck Song Information – Cellphone's Dead". Whiskeyclone.net. Retrieved August 28, 2008.
- "Non-Tradition (Girl Talk Remix)/It's So Fun (Andrew WK Remix)". The Brooklyn Vegan. June 4, 2009. Retrieved December 12, 2009.
- Suarez, Jessica (April 17, 2007). ""Cheer It On" (Trey Told Em remix) [MP3]". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved August 28, 2008.
- iskeith3 (July 19, 2007). "Girl Talk at the Pitchfork Music Festival". YouTube. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- Raymer, Miles (October 13, 2007). "The Thrill Isn't Gone". The Chicago Reader. Retrieved August 18, 2008.
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- Grandy, Eric (15 November 2007). "Girl Talk Murders Seattle". The Stranger. Retrieved 2010-10-26.
- Gillis, Gregg (July 13, 2012). "Gregg Gillis on the Girl Talk Live Show". illegal-art.net. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
- "Girl Talk Interview Part 1". YouTube. Nov 15, 2010. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
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