Whether he is playing a massive festival or a modest club, Gregg Gillis prepares for all his concerts the same way.
He painstakingly envelopes his laptops in plastic wrap, protecting them from the sweat he inevitably works up bouncing, clapping and dancing through his show even as he triggers hundreds of samples by hand.
“I think of it like a boxer like wrapping up his hands. ... As soon as I'm wrapping the laptops, it's officially showtime,” he said in a recent phone interview from his hometown of Pittsburgh. “Usually I crack open a beer, turn on some tunes, it takes a half-hour to do both computers. It's a routine that kind of gets me in the mental state, so I don't think I'm ever gonna switch that up.”
While some things remain the same, for Gillis, the mashup master better known as Girl Talk, many aspects of his career as a DJ and remixer just keep getting bigger and better.
“Just the size of the shows and all of that has definitely gone through the roof. At one point and time, there was all this just like talk of ‘Oh, is the live laptop show like a legitimate thing to go see?' Whereas now it's just become kind of like a revolution,” he said. “Electronic music is just really blowing up.”
On Thursday, Gillis, 30, will bring his burgeoning live show to the Diamond Ballroom for his first Oklahoma City tour stop since he released his acclaimed fifth album “All Day” in December 2010.
Lately, Girl Talk has been featured at major music fests like Bonnaroo and Coachella. On the festival circuit, Gillis has been inspired by a certain band of psychedelic Oklahomans with a penchant for spectacle: The Flaming Lips.
“I've seen them a number of times over the years, and in my opinion, I feel like they've just changed the game, especially when you see them at festivals compared to all these other bands. They really are kind of pioneering in terms of just really taking the show and just exploding it. So we've definitely kind of taken a page out of that book and tried to do our own spin on it,” said Gillis, a former biomedical research engineer.
If ever an album warranted a full-blown live spectacle, it's “All Day,” an intricate and epic sonic collage of classic rock, hip-hop and pop. The 71-minute album features 372 samples from Jay-Z and John Lennon to the Black Eyed Peas and Depeche Mode.