Blogs > Indie Outing (the secret jambands roots of indie rockers)
Indie Outing: Girl Talk
Indie-Jam Connection: Greg Gillis, the producer/DJ better known as Girl Talk, is one of the few indie electronic musicians to describe his project as a jamband. Growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, Gillis was into a wide variety of music—as evidenced by Girl Talk’s genre-jumping, sample-heavy sound. Though he was not a hardcore “jam-head” himself, he kept tabs on the scene through a close friend. “One of my best friends is a total jam-dude and, at this point, everyone knows someone who is really into Phish or the Grateful Dead,” says Gillis, who had also listened to the likes of the Disco Biscuits and Widespread Panic. Girl Talk’s early shows were more avant-garde electronic experiments which scored him gigs at experimental music havens like New York’s Tonic. The jamband festival scene latched onto Girl Talk’s current brand of pop culture overload early on, and Gillis played to sprawling crowds at Langerado, Camp Bisco, Bonnaroo and other festivals before crossing over into the mainstream. His live show still nods to the jamband scene via a sample of the Grateful Dead’s “Casey Jones.”
Notable Jamband Moments: One of Girl Talk’s first big shows was an opening spot for Widespread Panic. The gig earned some notoriety when Girl Talk’s fans—who dance onstage during his show—caused some commotion, forcing Panic to cancel Girl Talk’s setbreak DJ spot (the performance scored some buzz on indie blogs like Pitchfork). Now that he is big enough to headline his own concerts, Girl Talk has brought the jamband spirit back into his shows by improvising from behind his computer.
Lot Talk: “I feel like what I do is jamming. I have certain songs I want to get to each night but how I get there is improvisation based on a certain structure. Animal Collective and Battles are jambands to me, so I’d love to see them play festivals like Camp Bisco.” Girl Talk, Relix
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