Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Who is this 'Girl Talk', and why all the buzz???

Practically everywhere I've looked in the past month or so, this 'Girl Talk' business has been all over the place. I figured it was some indie, Vampire Weekend-ish band from Brooklyn or Sweden or someplace like that, but instead, it's a guy who does mashups on his computer. Not quite the type of artist I was expecting to read about. Sold-out shows, Hollywood buzz, and seeing the name 'Girl Talk' on blogs, magazines, myspace, everywhere you could conceivably think of, I saw him. Turns out, this Greg Gillis is a DJ/mashup king, which means he blends songs together to create massive dance remixes of all sorts of random stuff. For example, his 2007 "album" Night Ripper samples, among an extensive list of others, Oasis, M.I.A., Eminem, Jay-Z, Paula Abdul, Pixies, Weezer, Phantom Planet, Elton John, and even the Black Crowes. One might think that all of this random mashing up of music would sound odd, but it really sounds cool. The songs are all like 2 minutes long, as they are intended to be one big long 40+ minute track, rather than divided into individual 'songs'. In that setting, it all coalesces together very well.

Gillis is also following in Radiohead's and Nine Inch Nail's footsteps by offering his album 'Feed the Animals' for however much a potential listener wishes to pay. The site, now disabled, hosted the album. You had to go to the site and select how much you wish to pay for the album, then select a reason why you are choosing to spend no money or ten bucks, or whatever. If you spend more than 10 dollars you will get a physical copy of the record when it comes out. It's a really interesting way to do business, and shows the changing state of the record industry.

I'm amazed Girl Talk gets to have such a countless number of samples on his records, since it requires a LOT of legal maneuvering, I would suspect. As we all know, using samples without clearance results in controversy and criticism (Vanilla Ice, anyone?) so for all these songs to exist mashed together like this is really something.

It's also funny to me how Girl Talk is getting such buzz, since there isn't really any original music coming out of Gillis. He's just taking other people's music and composing it into a new piece of music, which is pretty creative, but little more than a club DJ would do. It's interesting to me that he is getting popular and selling out clubs. I wouldn't be surprised to see him at Coachella this April, as he seems to have the type of indie buzz necessary for such an appearance.

Due to the creativity of his DJ skills, I see why the name 'Girl Talk' has invaded everywhere I go now; it's unique enough to warrant attention. Check it out if you like mashups, or really any significantly popular song of the last 30+ years. Gillis does his homework, using all sorts of random songs that sound oddly familiar. Try writing down each and every sample you recognize. I bet you can't. There are that many.

Incidentally, Eenie Meenie's own Wallpaper opens for Girl Talk at the House of Blues in Vegas on December 29. check it out. Be sure to bring your proverbial 'dancing shoes' though.

Written by Adrian

1 comment:

Jack DeYoung said...

Someone actually sampled all of the music videos for the songs Girl Talk uses to make a video collage. Pretty sure you can find it on youtube. Your blog is wonderful by the way.