The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Girl Talk comes to the B1 Block Party

Alex Kilpatrick | Thursday, August 25, 2011

When one hears the name Girl Talk, the first image that comes to mind is probably not a male DJ from Pittsburgh spinning complex mashups from a laptop, using digital sampling and combining unlikely songs together.

But that is exactly who Girl Talk is, and he has gained both commercial and critical success from five full-length albums of mashup material.

As eclectic as Girl Talk’s music is, his career is even more so. Before he was Girl Talk, he was simply Gregg Gillis, a biomedical engineering student at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. While focusing on tissue engineering in school, Gillis made music on the side under the alias Girl Talk. After graduating, he worked as an engineer, eventually quitting in May 2007 to focus primarily on his music.

Today, Girl Talk creates mashup-style remixes, using samples from more than a dozen songs at once, ranging from recent pop to classic rock to alternative to hip hop.

In a 2009 interview with FMLY, Gillis revealed the reason behind his stage name choice.

“I came from a more experimental background, and there were some very overly-serious, borderline-academic type experimental musicians. I wanted to pick a name that they would be embarrassed to play with. You know Girl Talk sounded exactly the opposite of a man playing a laptop, so that’s what I chose.”

Girl Talk often releases his LPs at no cost through his record label Illegal Art’s website. For example, he digitally sold his fourth album, 2008’s “Feed the Animals,” his most critically successful to date, using a “pay-what-you-like” system similar to the release of Radiohead’s 2007 album “In Rainbows.” Since the critical and commercial success of “Feed the Animals,” Girl Talk has sold all his albums in a similar manner, including the recently-released free LP, “All Day.”

Girl Talk clearly holds a penchant for making complex multi-layered mashups, using not much more than his laptop and creativity. However, he also has the phenomenal ability to get the crowd dancing at live shows. Girl Talk will perform live at the B1 Block Party on Notre Dame’s campus this weekend, along with opening acts Midwest Hype and Tim Stop.

Midwest Hype plays an eclectic mix of funk, reggae and pop — a musical blend the band refers to as “Urban Garage Jazz.” The LaPorte, Indiana-based band has been releasing both covers and original material through their website since 2008, as well as tours. Among their covers is an acoustic version of Notorious B.I.G.’s 1994 single, “Big Poppa.” Audiences acclaim the band’s live performances as intense, high-energy and danceable.

Tim Stop, an energetic and soulful pop rock artist, just recently performed at Summerfest — Milwaukee’s annual summer music festival. His phenomenal songwriting style, vocals and stage presence draw audiences in.

More than simply musical acts, the B1 Block Party features various fun activities, from Eurobungy to rock climbing to corn hole. The doors open at 5 p.m. Saturday evening, and the opening acts take the stage at 5:30 p.m. Girl Talk performs from 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., and the fun extends throughout the after party until 4 a.m