I am Gregg Gillis aka Girl Talk. This was awesome...thanks for all the questions!!

I recently released the EP "Broken Ankles" with legendary Philadelphia MC, Freeway: http://www.datpiff.com/Girl-Talk-Freeway-Broken-Ankles-EP-mixtape.594399.html

We also dropped an insane video for the single "Tolerated": http://youtu.be/ySZHeosB0rI

Last Friday I played Coachella with the legends E-40, Too $hort, Juicy J, and Busta Rhymes. Playing there again this Friday with some more special guests...

My Proof: https://twitter.com/girltalk/status/456144913990578176

Comments: 881 • Responses: 34  • Date: 

girltalk_verified245 karma


I want to do this again!

I need to eat something now

Love, Gregg

pstills219 karma

Hey Gregg! When I was in 6th or 7th grade you were playing Sun God Festival at UCSD and I got to hang out in your trailer after your show for a bit because my sister is close friends with David. I just wanted to say thanks for the case of Red Bull and you were fucking awesome at Coachella last weekend.

girltalk_verified196 karma

THANKS!! I remember

raaaaazzzz186 karma

Wildest thing to happen onstage, mid show?

girltalk_verified437 karma

People fucking

tadallagash169 karma

Which artist has the most sample-able songs?

girltalk_verified351 karma


girltalk_verified167 karma

Hey everyone!!!! THANKS for coming out!! Excited to do this AMA right now!!!!!! LETS GO

deejayfourex162 karma

do you ever catch crap from record companies / copyright owners for all the stuff you sample?

thanks for the AMA, love your work!

girltalk_verified292 karma

I haven't had an issues thus far. In the past few years, it's been kind of the opposite. I've had a lot of manager and major label A&R people reaching out to me to give me acapellas/instrumentals to work with.

674540884 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA.

When you're making music as complex as yours, what's your basic process for choosing what to use?

girltalk_verified162 karma

It's an ongoing process that doesn't really have a definitive beginning or end. I sample new music almost every day. Oftentimes I'm thinking about my live shows. I might think that I need more 90s R&B or more 60s garage rock or whatever. I have a running list of things I want to work on. Then once I sample something, that's basically just the beginning. It's a long trial and error process. I try out hundreds of different combinations. When something clicks for me, I may try to work it in the live show. Sometimes, those things stay in the show, and other times, I'm not really feeling it. When I sit down to do an album, it's after a long period of time of experimenting with material at home and at shows, so I have a basic idea of what I think is the most interesting material.

eligundry83 karma

What is your favorite sample and why is it "I'm On It (Kryptonite)"?

Seriously though, love the music and have heard you use that sample many times in different contexts.

I guess my question is: What is your favorite sample?

girltalk_verified162 karma

My favorite sample is "I'm On It (Kryptonite)."

moo_shoe83 karma

What's your favorite Starburst flavor?

girltalk_verified136 karma

Probably dark pink? What flavor is that?

cormsss68 karma

Ay Girl Talk! this is the guy that got your Night Ripper Album tattooed on his arm ( https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/t1.0-9/430128_4657803734203_579213256_n.jpg ) Thanks for doing an AMA!!

My question is what exactly did i get tattooed on me? Is it a girl with her hair falling down? Is it a bird (everyone thinks its a bird). I need a real answer!!

Thank you for your truly outstanding music, and providing some of the best live performances ever witnessed. So happy i got to get on stage and dance, can't wait for the future performances!

girltalk_verified74 karma


i think its a SCREAMING SKULL

Mr_Frieze67 karma

What music did your parents listen to in the car?

girltalk_verified121 karma

Hall and Oates

doritos_mg58 karma

What lead you to work with Freeway on the Broken Ankles EP?

Will my faith in a follow-up to All Day be rewarded any time soon?

Your mixes have always been the soundtracks to my summers. Keep on doin' you

girltalk_verified89 karma

I took some time off from touring last year. It allowed me to work on some music that wasn't specifically geared towards performing live. It was extremely liberating and exciting. I spent over a year making beats, probably finished around 100. I thought it'd be cool to work with a rapper and do something that was in between one of my normal releases and a rap mixtape.

I've been a fan of Freeway for over 10 years. I wanted to work with someone who was hungry, someone who was eager to do something different. He seemed like an ideal candidate. He has a crazy energy and sounds great over a variety of beats. Once we connected on the phone, I knew he was the perfect fit.

I'm always working on new material that fits into the Night Ripper / Feed The Animals / All Day thing. I am playing tons of new stuff at live shows these days. Not concrete plans for another release like that at the moment but definitely working towards it.

yinznat46 karma

Hey Gregg. Pittsburgh loves you and is proud of you.

I have two questions:

  1. What started the "jump on stage" tradition?

  2. Are the Pirates making the playoffs this year?

girltalk_verified50 karma

  1. No doubt on the Pirates making the playoffs. Last year was amazing

  2. For my first 6 years, I never really played to more than 50 people. I played mostly in basements and DIY show spaces. People were "on the stage" automatically at those shows. I would play house parties, just right in the middle of everyone. So at some point, my friends just started jumping on stage when I would play venues. It didn't happen every show but sometimes. When things started to get a little bigger, the tradition just continued. There weren't many shows where I'd be like "get on stage!" It just started happening, and the reputation grew

Something_Nice38 karma

Dude! 1) How awesome was it having all those legends on stage with you? 2) You gonna release the instrumentals for Broken Ankles? 3) how do you get money? can i buy merch?

check out /r/mashups while youre here.

girltalk_verified43 karma

Definitely gonna release the acapella's from Broken Ankles, possibly the instrumentals

Merch! http://www.kungfunation.com/artists/48-girl-talk

Collin338838 karma

Mr. Gillis I am a huge fan and been following your music since around 06'-07' and seen you live a total of 7 times and by far i have to say your shows are some of the greatest experiences I've had

My questions for you are:

  • Your music started off glitchy and....well crazy to say the least. its some of my favorite of what you've done (Unstoppable). my question is will we hear any more full length albums like this in the future?
  • For your Feed the Animals tour who came out on stage in the mask?
  • Thu Tran was a part of your shows theatrics for the Feed the Animals tour....how did the two of you end up working together?
  • When i saw you here in Portland for the first time they had to shut the show down and clear the stage because of too many people...do you still have this problem or do most venues know whats coming?

girltalk_verified40 karma


I am definitely proud of Unstoppable. 10 years later, and I do think it kind of occupies its own space. Even though the overall sound is different, I think what I did with Freeway recently is the most closely related to that. On "I Can Hear Sweat," there's some Mouse on Mars samples and glitchy elements. It's more buried in the mix but definitely there. But just overall, it has some similarities with the sample splicing and trying to make new melodies out of cutting up and rearranging previous ones.

On the FTA tour, I think the masked people were my friends who helped with props. Chris Duffy was probably masked.

Thu and I still work together. We may do a video together for one of the songs on Broken Ankles. I went to Case Western in Cleveland, and she went to Cleveland Institute of Art. They share a campus. We were college friends. She just worked with me at Coachella last weekend.

The shows have been more organized in recently years. Not as many shut downs. It just reached a point around 2009 that so many shows were ending prematurely, I decided to start having a barricade. I'm happy the show has evolved and moved on. It's allowed me to incorporate a bunch of production (lights, video, props, etc)

N1I2N323 karma

Girl Talk!

I'm a fan and seen you at several festivals and they're always fun and you always seem super pumped to play.

Any particular shows that stand out? Any good stories off the top of your head?

Have you ever received any hate from musicians for sampling any of their music?

girltalk_verified29 karma

Not directly. The musicians who I've sampled and who I've interacted with, have all been pretty open minded.

I think when I started, it was different. The idea of unsolicited remix wasn't as widespread. But now, I think most artists are used to their work being appropriated and recontextualized.

TheFedoraMakesMeCool22 karma

Do you use any hardware or do you do everything "in the box" as they say?

girltalk_verified30 karma

I use an Akai MPK49 at home

trollmysmallpp20 karma

When did you first get started with music? Did you always have an interest in music?

girltalk_verified32 karma

Yeah, at a young age, I was immediately drawn to it. My first passion was rap and new jack swing. Bel Biv Devoe was my first tape.

I think a big early influence was Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. I honestly think that was the first thing that made me want to start performing music live. I love this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQRYVsqVT3M

npcraig19 karma

Hey man, idk if you remember every college you've gone to but I went to Knox College in Galesburg IL.

You played there a longggggg time ago and our campus police shut you down early. You came to a frat house instead and took over the stage for the night, it was amazing (found this: Spring 2008). You opened my eyes to a whole new world of music too so thanks man.

My question is related to that; what type of venue do you enjoy to play at the most? do you prefer the sold out packed arenas of people? small schools/frats? or music festivals big or small?

girltalk_verified34 karma

Festivals are kind of the easiest for me. Club shows can be more physically demanding. Both are rewarding in their own way. It's hard to pick one of the other.

I do think small, overly crowded clubs or house parties can be the ultimate way to experience what I do. It's just that real, raw shit

coorisstinee19 karma

What was your first mashup you ever created consist of?

girltalk_verified31 karma

The first sample-based stuff I was doing probably wouldn't be considered a mash-up, but in the late 90's, I remember destroying Hole's "Celebrity Skin" with 4-track manipulate, layered synths and circuit-bent. I spent a lot of time remixing pop music into abstraction before I was officially doing anything that would be a "mash-up."

My first traditional-style mash-up was probably Richard Marx and Khia... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ul3NULNf7j8 that youtube pic is really stupid / funny / wonderful

Im_Dunn17 karma

I saw you on Friday and you were incredible. It was one of my favorite sets from the weekend and the best ending to a show I've ever seen. Just wanted to say thank you for an amazing time.

girltalk_verified19 karma

THANK YOU!! It was an extremely surreal night. Definitely a show I will never forget

helohelo16 karma

With so very few artist in your style of music where do you find influence and inspiration?

girltalk_verified36 karma

Mainly rap production. Bomb Squad, Just Blaze, Alchemist, Premiere, etc. But also Squarepusher, John Oswald, Kid 606

ZingasMcCoy14 karma

Hey Girl Talk! Thank you for your amazing music. Have you got any plans to come to the UK anytime soon?

girltalk_verified18 karma

I am due for the UK!! It's been a minute.

I feel like in certain parts of the world, I've had a chance to continually tour and build up a following over the years. Other spots, I just haven't. As my touring size grows (crew, production, etc.), it's more difficult to get to those places where I haven't built up that following.

Anyway, yeh, i need to come back!

muffmashups14 karma

First of all, huge fan, you're albums are the ultimate pick me up, and I'm physched to see you at Pemberton this summer! My question is, how do you choose who gets to dance on stage with you, and has it ever gone wrong?

(Also could I come on?)

girltalk_verified30 karma

My friends who work with me go into the crowd 15-30 minutes before the show and grab some enthusiastic looking people.

It's gone wrong many times. Especially back in the day there was no barricades and people would just jump on stage. Free for all style. My computers been smashed. I've been vomited on

roughly22over714 karma

What sort of advice do you have for people who are interested in learning how to create mashups?

girltalk_verified66 karma

There's probably a bunch of tutorials on YouTube for the specifics.

Beyond that, I think you should feel free to make music that people hate. You should think beyond now. Fuck shit up

BigBootyJudey12 karma

super huge fan -- seen you 9 times (eek!). so stoked you're doing an AMA.

best part about touring? worst part?

dinner with 5 people (dead or alive), who do you choose?

girltalk_verified27 karma

DAMN, 9 times, thanks so much

I tour with a bunch of my best friends who do not live in the same city as me. So the best part of touring is hanging with them.

Worst part is being away from other people who are close in my life. And the physical demand. And it really slows down my process of making new material

Dinner: Kurt Cobain Krist Novoselic Dave Grohl Pat Smear Chad Channing

girltalk_verified10 karma

Hey all--gonna start this at 4:30pm EST.

s1ugh34d8 karma

Love your work. Pittsburghers love you, a good friend of mine was in your class. He introduced me to your music, best thing that probably ever happened. Night ripper has been on my top five albums for years.

What do you think about the samples sites breaking dahn your albums, are they accurate, or do you make more beats then they show?

I like the broken ankles stuff, are you aiming at making a more original music catalog?

Keep mashing it up, you killed coachella, that ending distortion was sick. I'll try to catch you at a pirates game.

girltalk_verified17 karma

Some of the sample sites I've seen are pretty accurate. They miss most of the percussion detail though, which is to be expected.

Oftentimes, there's like 3 kick drums layered on top of each other to get the sound I'm looking for. I don't expect people to be able to catch that

eligundry8 karma

I saw on Wikipedia it took you 7-8 months to make Night Ripper. How long have you been working on the mix that is yet to come out? Also, if I may be so bold, might you name it at Reddit's suggestion?

girltalk_verified22 karma

I'm just working on new live material at the moment. Not stressing too much about an official release. I am extremely excited about my new live material though.

I was thinking about possibly just giving away some live sets. Still on the fence about it.

Grunge_bob5 karma

Aphex Twin or SquarePusher?

When's the last time you hung out with Negativland?

girltalk_verified11 karma

I've only hung with Mark from Negativland once. Probably 2008?

Aphex Tiwn vs Squarepusher is a really tough call. I think Aphex Twin's greatest moments go beyond Squarepusher. But overall, I probably listen to and enjoy Squarepusher more.

jlb2503 karma

Hey Gregg, First of all, anything in your pipeline for the near future besides touring and supporting Broken Ankles? Second, I graduate from Pitt next week with a major in digital media, no doubt inspired a bit by a lot of stuff you've done. So yeah come down to oakland and i'll buy you drinks and stuff, it'll be cool and fun.

girltalk_verified7 karma

I'm in Oakland a few times a year. I will see you there!!

In the near future, mainly touring and supporting Broken Ankles like you mentioned. But I am also working on so much other material. I made many beats in preparation for the Freeway project. I want to do some more collaborations like that.

FrozenBananaMan2 karma

LISTEN MAN. Orlando, probably 3 or 4 years ago. House of blues.

My friends and I were FRONT AND CENTER. It was the best concert I've been to, in terms of raw energy. The show should have ended, but then you said "Orlando the party doesn't have to stop if you don't want it to!" AND YOU KEPT IT GOING! It was awesome!

You don't understand how much my group of people spent highschool and college just jamming to your stuff.

What keeps your energy up? It's gotta be exhausting making those tracks, let alone performing live and going nuts on stage with fans.

girltalk_verified3 karma


lpsteinbeck2 karma

So excited for the new album! Girl Talk Pandora is the go-to station at my gym (CrossFit), and we all thank you for getting us through some serious sessions.

You have an amazing ear for music- What is one song you've always wanted to mash-up but haven't been given permission to use?

girltalk_verified56 karma

I haven't had any permission for any sample I've used.

[deleted]1 karma


girltalk_verified4 karma

I consider the release that I just did with Freeway to an official release of mine. So that just dropped last week... http://www.datpiff.com/Girl-Talk-Freeway-Broken-Ankles-EP-mixtape.594399.html