FW Exclusive: Girl Talk Reveals the One Secret the RIAA Doesn’t Want You to Know

Until two years ago, biomedical engineer/mashup DJ Gregg “GIRL TALK” Gillis spent more time crunching data in a cubicle than stripping on stage.

His sophomore CD, NIGHT RIPPER, changed all that. 2008’s FEED THE ANIMALS reflects the RIAA-baiting producer’s newfound focus: the samples are longer and the “songs” more complete, but the pace is no less frenetic.

But we thought that there was a set time limit to keep sampling legal?

Gillis sets the record straight in a new interview with our music-obsessed friends at Earplug after the jump.


Gregg Gillis: That’s an urban myth. It used to be under a certain amount, but they recently ruled against that. Fair Use allows you to use however long you want, as long as the work is transformative, and it doesn’t impact the artist negatively. It’s more holistic criteria. There’s a big academic and legal movement behind it, so it’s not really that big of an issue any more.

Earplug: A lot of the samples you use are very recognizable.

GG: Most of the a cappella samples are available for a reason: the rap ones are on B-sides and 12″s and the Internet, and it’s because record labels want people to do crazy stuff with it. Stuff like my music is an effective way to promote the artists. It’s a different era. Hearing the music itself doesn’t hold value; you can go hear any song for free on Soulseek. If you pay money for it, it’s because you want to invest in it. So, I feel morally solid about what I’m doing.

EP: You use Creative Commons, right?

GG: They helped us out, gave us a bunch of specific elements. I’ve actually been getting a lot of support.

EP: From whom, for example?

GG: Representative Mike Doyle spoke in favor of me and DJ Drama and mixtapes and mashups. He compared it to Paul McCartney using a Chuck Berry riff.

Want to read more of the interview than this sneak peek? Visit Earplug starting tomorrow.