Girl Talk

Looking to change the music industry 400 illegal samples at a time.

By: Samantha Bent

Girl Talk, a mash-up artist from Pennsylvania is looking to change the music industry 400 illegal samples at a time. He has a tour planned for 2011 and you can catch him at the House of Blues in Boston on February 26th.
Gregg Gillis, a Pittsburg native who used to be a chemical engineer until he quit his day job in order to do mash-ups full time.

His fifth album, All Day was a released a couple of weeks ago and is available for free download on his website (http://illegal-art.net/allday/).  It features close to 400 samples from all sorts of different artists from Simon and Garfunkel to Aphex Twin and to Miley Cyrus. 
The term mash-up refers to two or more different songs being put together to make a new song.  New York Magazine called it “the audio equivalent of quilting.”  A lot of the time mash-up artists try to put two things together that are total opposites. Over the years, mash-up has evolved as a genre and has spawned things like the video game DJ Hero, which is all about mixing songs together.

What makes him so good is the complexity in which he mixes the songs he uses to make them actually sound like brand new songs.  This is the reason he doesn’t license any of the music he uses, because of a part of copyright law called Fair Use.
“I believe in what I’m doing and I believe in the concept of fair use. I think this music should be legal to be put out on CD or for free or online or however you want to do it,” says Gillis in an interview with Spin Magazine.

Girl Talk has been featured all over the place from MTV to NPR and he is quickly becoming a worldwide phenomenon.  News of his most recent CD release reached all the way to Australian broadcasting station ABC.  His hometown of Pittsburg even recently honored him with his own day, December, 7 which is now “Gregg Gillis Day”.

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