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Coming up from the underground

Gregg Gillis is very practical about the massive success of his most recent Girl Talk album.

Gregg Gillis is very practical about the massive success of his most recent Girl Talk album. “I think people were waiting for something, and people had heard the name enough,” he says of his project, which manically mashes up parts of songs into one energetic whole. “It’s like that with a lot of things that I get into, where you hear the name 10 times before you check it out. … It was like the fifth or sixth year since it was on that media level and people just decided to make that jump simultaneously, which was a surprise.”

He released the album “All Day” for free online in November, and though he isn’t sure exactly how many people downloaded it, the offering was a dominant force on the Web not only all day, but all week.

“It was the sort of thing where that first couple of days I checked out the Google trends thing where you can see how much Internet activity there’s been, and it looked like there was almost three times as much activity for this record as compared to the one prior to it.”

Gillis speaks with the sort of jovial rapidness that characterizes the mash-ups he makes. He says he’s excited to see this success translate into a different demographic in his audience.

“The record reach has diversified the audience a little bit more,” he says. “So there is this older chunk of people from 40-year-olds and things like that who are interested, which is cool. Ideally, it wouldn’t be exclusively music for 21-year-olds. And it’s refreshing getting an older crowd and a younger crowd.”

From Radio Shack to road crew

Girl Talk has been in existence for almost 10 years, but Gillis’ success has been ramping up steadily since his 2006 album, “Night Ripper.” This gradual increase in popularity has led to shows that are all-out dance extravaganzas, with an increasing amount of stunts and props. (The addition of a leaf blower attached to toilet paper rolls in 2008 was a major innovation.) And on this tour, for the first time, he has a road crew.

“It’s been a new experience traveling with a big rig and having the whole crew load in at like 9 a.m. It’s very different than a year or two ago.”

But Gillis says this is what he’s been ready for since he started.

“From day one of Girl Talk stuff, I was always interested in putting on a show — and even at like the earliest shows, where I was playing to like 10 people, I would have a synchronized dance team and outfit changes or come in with my own Radio Shack strobes,” he says. “Now that we’re dealing with it and actually doing it big for real, it’s a dream come true.”

 
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