Just in time, Halloween Girl Talk

By Kyle Stegerwald, Asst. Red Pulse Editor

Mischief night in Salt Lake City this year will play host to Girl Talk, and Gregg Gillis is in love with the idea. “Halloween,” he told me over the phone a couple days ago, “is my favorite holiday.” Dressing up is encouraged, but not because Halloween is the day after the show. Gillis said he likes it whenever people show up in costume, regardless of the day of the year.

It helps contribute to the atmosphere that has made Girl Talk shows must-see events across the country. Gillis came to Salt Lake City last year, and at his upcoming show at In The Venue he promises to deliver a souped-up, slowed down, chopped-and-screwed version of his album tracks expertly calibrated to make the room overflow with energy.

Those of us who missed him the last time around, but are, nonetheless, used to listening to his densely-sampled pop music tapestries, can expect a slightly different experience at the show Thursday. He “recontextualizes” the samples, lets them take a bit longer, repeats them and injects entirely new ones to keep people on their toes and off the flats of their feet.

He said the album, with its blistering pace and incredible density, would be “too much to actually have a good time with.” And a good time is what it’s all about.

The interplay between the album and the show is an important one for Gillis. Though the Girl Talk live experience is definitely unique and a large part of the appeal, he said, “I don’t think of the album being in any way training for the live show.”

He said creating an album is a process of “trial and error, and after a while I step back and say, “I have enough material to put something together.'” Feed the Animals, which he says took two years of incessant trial-and-error, is an important artistic endeavor in itself, much like it would be for any other band that takes its time touring and working in the studio. Even though the process of actually creating it could hardly be different from that of a regular rock outfit, heading into the studio to write and record for a couple of months.

Even as he makes clear the similarities between his approach to the business of music and the approaches taken by others, he is also quick to point out the uniqueness of his viewpoint on the art itself.

He acknowledges a debt to the hip-hop he grew up listening to.

“A lot of people my age and younger understand sampling as music because they heard it in hip-hop,” he said.

His sampling approach, as he sees it, is informed by this tradition but not entirely derived from it. He came to sample generally from a “more experimental” angle, and the process he describes of producing his music involves listening to the radio as much as cutting and pasting tracks during a show.

In that sense, consider yourself an accessory to the creation of the next Girl Talk album if you swing by In The Venue tonight at 7 p.m. More information and tickets at 801-328-0255.

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