The Spastic Science! Girl Talk Is All About Confetti, Sweat, and Scientific Rigor

Photo by Paul Sobota
Hard-core party scientist Girl Talk.
Have you ever slipped into a pair of wet jeans, popped a pill, shared drinks with a stranger, rubbed private parts with 4000 people, and danced so hard you blacked out before waking up for another night of the exact same thing?

Well, get ready for your first Girl Talk experience. (And if you can afford and/or handle it, your second.) 'Cause this Thursday and Friday, Gregg Gillis, a former biomedical engineer from Pittsburgh turned professional party starter, will be hijacking the Fillmore Miami Beach for a sloppy doubleheader of irresponsible fun.

It'll be kinda like an arena-sized cock rock show stuffed inside an amphitheater that's four sizes too small. Or an underground electro orgy. Or an old-school house party. Or even some sort of manic mega-event where hatchet-shaped guitars, tricked-out laptops, and vintage 808s are being simultaneously smashed for the amusement of a mob gone wild on giddy mass hysteria.

Yes, your pants will be too tight. The air will be thick with pheremones, both secreted and synthetic. The floor will be soaked in sweat, beer foam, and spilled Red Bull. And this whole spastic scene will seem like total Top 40 chaos, just barely controlled by some hyperactive longhaired DJ who kinda looks like David Lee Roth's skinny, skater-ish baby brother.

But if you can avoid getting dangerously drunk, drugged-up, and horny, you might still be able to delve deeply enough into the superdense sonic layers of these Girl Talk tracks to discern this ingenious dude's extremely careful, exceedingly deliberate, and methodically tested approach to the science of party starting.

"On the surface, I think [the Girl Talk project] has a very party-based esthetic. At the shows, there's confetti and balloons and people sweating," Gillis admits. "And that's great. But at the same time, I've always been big on the idea of creating something original that's based entirely upon someone else's creation.

"I've always wanted to present this as new music based on samples," he explains. "And with the albums, I never want them to be considered traditional DJ mixes. Ideally, I wish people could say, 'My favorite album this year was the Girl Talk album,' and not say, 'This mix that he did.'"

To be real, you'd have to be locked in a constant state of heavy intoxication and brain-deadening arousal to miss the fact that Gillis' mashups go way beyond post-ironic juxtaposition and a little beat-matching.

Just take last year's 71-minute slab, All Day, his newest and most crazily ambitious experiment so far. Released as a free download via Gillis' own Illegal Art label, the album attempts to seamlessly stitch together 373 distinct samples ranging from 2 Live Crew to Miley Cyrus to Devo. After a single sober listen, you should see straight away that there's an insane level of craftsmanship involved in the creation of every Girl Talk cut.

Photo by Christos of Detroit

And indeed, working off a never-ending list of sample-ready songs, Gillis spends serious hours locked in the lab chopping, hacking, and micro-editing pop, rock, hip-hop, dance, and punk hits into useable audio snippets before painstakingly reshuffling all that appropriated material into entirely fresh configurations.

"It's a long process," Gillis says, snickering as if that's a massive understatement. "A lot of times, I might spend a week just cutting up songs and not even trying out any combinations, just preparing potential tools to make music," he explains. "And then there's the trial-and-error part where a new hip-hop song comes out and I wanna try it. So I experiment with 100 samples and maybe 20 kinda work and only four really click. From those bits, I might just choose one and develop it."

Location Info


The Fillmore Miami Beach

1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Music

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