Let’s talk about Girl Talk

By on October 26, 2012
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Gregg Gillis is ready to take over the Rec Center

This weekend is an eventful one: students are celebrating Halloween and Hurricane Sandy may make its way to Hamden. But Saturday night marks the real show: electronic deejay Gregg Gillis, better known as Girl Talk, will bring a hyped-up, elaborate performance to the Recreation Center for the Student Programming Board’s fall concert.

Photo Courtesy of Pitch Perfect PR
Gillis, a native of Pittsburgh, Penn., is the face of Girl Talk. His music has been critically acclaimed by many, including Rolling Stone Review and Pitchfork. Gillis said he’s been immersed in music since his early teens. Without any formal training and without instruments, Gillis spent time creating music on his computer. His love of hip-hop and rap opened his eyes to the role of electronics in music, he said. With this frame of mind, Gillis dissected popular music down to its most powerful chords and lyrics. He then mashed them together to craft a symphony of unexpected sounds.

“It was always a passion for me and something I was really obsessed with, but I never really considered it as a career option,” Gillis said in a phone interview. “I went to engineering school, and I always intended to get a traditional day job.”

But, as soon as he began pursuing his passion, Gillis’ connection to electronics paid off.

“In 2006 things just kind of took off, and it went to a level I never really anticipated,” Gillis said. “That year I put out an album called ‘Night Ripper,’ and around that time, blogs and the web were more of a new thing and blogs can really make a band known and get the word out.”

Gillis’ earliest influences were bands like the kid-oriented rap group Kriss Kross. This shifted toward bands like Public Enemy and Nirvana, and Gillis became an artist who focuses on interaction with his audience. His art, which he describes as a cross between a house party and a rock show, is often created on the spot, Gillis said. He then carries it over to his albums based on crowd reactions.

“For a positive show, I always want to push it: I kind of always want to go further than the audience,” Gillis said. “I get into the music, and I’ll be going insane. Everyone is going insane together.”

Saturday night’s show is particularly significant for Gillis; it’s the day after his 31st birthday, as well as the end of touring for five years straight. After performing at numerous colleges and venues, Girl Talk is taking a hiatus starting after the show at Quinnipiac.

“I’ve been listening to Girl Talk since high school, and I’ve always wanted to see them live because I’ve heard they’re really great in concert,” senior Heidi Hitchen said. “So when I heard they were coming to Quinnipiac I was really excited.”

Despite lackluster ticket sales compared to previous shows such as Ke$ha, Anna McAvinchey, the mainstage chair for SPB, thinks the show is a great way to celebrate the weekend. Costumes and crazy couture are not only welcomed, but encouraged.

“I think it’s going to be like a huge dance party,” McAvinchey said. “It’s music that we know, and the show is what the crowd makes of it,” McAvinchey said. “He has lights and confetti, and it’s an awesome atmosphere: high energy with a lot of excitement. It’s like Dayglow without the paint.”

Neon Hitch, who is most well known for featuring in Gym Class Heroes’ “Ass Back Home, will open for Girl Talk. The British artist has appeared on “The Today Show” and “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” Hitch is a vulgar and charismatic burgeoning star, sure to be a first-class opening act.

“I think she’s really talented and she’s different from a lot of other female artists, and it’s awesome that we got her to come!” freshman Anna Rohman said. “I think the concert is going to be a lot of fun.”

So grab your friends, throw on a Halloween costume, and come prepared to be surrounded by high energy, bright lights and storms of confetti.

Tickets are still available for purchase: $20 for undergraduates, $25 for graduate students, alumni and guests. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Public Safety will check in concert-goers. Bags, bottles food, drinks and cameras aren’t allowed inside.

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