Gregg Gillis has made music with the industry’s biggest names, including Black Eyed Peas, Radiohead, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Black Sabbath and The Doors. And he’s never met any of them.
Neither hot producer nor veteran session musician, Gillis — recording as Girl Talk — is a brilliant sonic collagist with a gift for combining shards of existing and incredibly disparate work by renowned artists and turning them into supreme mash-ups.
“It’s based around preparing material for the live performances,” Gillis says while on holiday in Pittsburgh, his hometown. “It’s not very intuitive; I don’t hear a song and say, ‘Oh, the ‘Layla’ sample would go great with this.’ It’s more like, ‘That’s a nice isolated instrumental sample I might be able to work with.’ I spend a lot of time cutting things up, checking out what tempos they work at, how they pitch up or down, where it sounds interesting. From there, it’s just trial and error.”
Girl Talk performs Friday at Madison Theater in Covington. Go here for the full interview, show time and ticket information.