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Gregg Michael Gillis (born October 26, 1981), better known by his stage name Girl Talk, is an American musician specializing in mashups and digital sampling. Gillis has released five LPs on the record label Illegal Art and EPs on 333 and 12 Apostles.
Gillis began experimenting with electronic music and sampling while a student at Chartiers Valley High School in the Pittsburgh 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. He later worked as an engineer, but 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.
He has given 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.
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.
Gillis is featured heavily in the 2008 open source documentary RiP!: A Remix Manifesto.
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.Wide ThumbClearartFanartBanner User Comments