The frenetic solo musical artist "Girl Talk" released his fifth album, 'All Day', Monday. As on previous albums, All Day uses unauthorized samples from an array of artists and genres, causing murmurs in the media industry about the legality of his work. The artist has said that copyright law stifles creativity and insists fair use laws protect his sampling practices.
DJ Gregg Gillis is the talent behind the musical mashup "group", Girl Talk. The Pittsburgh native started Girl Talk in 2006 using his laptop to splice and dice just a few seconds each of iconic and highly danceable songs to create brand new songs that people would recognize. After finishing his studies at Case Western Reserve University, Gillis worked as an engineer until quitting his day job to pursue his musical profession full time.
His last album, 'Feed the Animals', made headlines for its unique pay-what-you-want pricing structure. Fans could download the entire album for free, or they could pay what they felt like. If they paid $10 or more they got a physical CD. This and the unauthorized sampling of copyrighted songs had The New York Times Magazine calling his music "a lawsuit waiting to happen."
Surely it was no coincidence that Girl Talk calls his record label "Illegal Art". Despite record industry doubts, though, fans love the mashups. Feed the Animals reached number four on Time's Top 10 Albums of 2008, number 16 on an NPR listeners list, and nabbed top spots on 'best-of' lists by Rolling Stone and Blender.
Like Feed the Animals, All Day has been released as a free download, and will remain so indefinitely. With 373 samples, and at 71 minutes, All Day is longer and more musically complicated than previous albums. Using a dozen or more samples to create a song, Gillis says that at times "ten samples will go by in ten seconds" on the new album. The album features samples from an array of artists from Neil Diamond ("Cherry, Cherry") and Depeche Mode ("Just Can't Get Enough") to Lady Gaga ("Bad Romance") and Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack sensation M.I.A. ("Paper Planes").
Gillis started work on All Day in 2008, immediately after finishing Feed the Animals. He kept the album under lock and key until Monday, and says he only finished the album the day before. His fans had no idea an album was coming and only found out when Gillis announced All Day on his Facebook page and then through Twitter. As soon as the announcement was made the site servers started slowing under huge user demand. The site was down early Monday, and fans spent most of the day trying to download the new album unsuccessfully.
Girl Talk is on tour in South America now, and will begin a 40-city tour in January to promote All Day. His shows have a reputation for being high-energy and are filled with antics from fans jumping up on stage with Gillis, to crowd surfing, to Gillis himself stripping down to his underwear.
All of this while Gillis deftly works his musical magic... using only his laptop. Yes, the modern mashup DJ plays crowded shows with just his laptop. A piece of plastic protects his computer at these shows; will it do anything to protect him from copyright violation suits?