Since releasing his cut-and-paste masterpiece Night Ripper
in 2006, Gregg Gillis, better known by the stage name Girl Talk
, has become the belle of indie blogs. Taking jumbled, sample-based dance music and pushing it to extremes, Gillis upped the ante for laptop performers, bringing the genre a new found credibility and mainstream exposure.
Fame, fortune and globetrotting was the furthest thing from Gillis' mind however when he began taking snippets of top 40 tracks and mashing them up into lively re-contextualized nuggets. Gillis was enrolled in Cleveland's prestigious Case Western University and biomedical engineering was his focus at the time he began releasing work under the pseudonym Girl Talk.
Gillis released two albums while at Case Western -- 2002's Secret Diary
and 2003's Unstoppable
-- and toured with his sample-loaded project while on summer and winter breaks. He went on to graduate from Case Western and landed a job as a biomedical researcher, all the while rocking the socks off art galleries and house parties on the weekends with his mashups.
"I never saw it as a viable profession," Gillis tells New Times
about his sizzling music career. We caught up with the affable computer music whiz when he was relaxing at home in his native Pittsburgh. "I'd book a tour, jump in a van, and aim at breaking even," said Gillis about his early stages. For him, making music was not about "making a dime," but rather "fucking shit up." More »