Perfect 10 | Girl Talk

MANIC MIXSampling Expert Girl Talk on His Top 10 Most Mash-Able Tracks of the Moment

While some people might argue that mash-ups have seen their day, Pittsburgh's Girl Talk is still causing a frenzy over freakish sampling fusions. Take “In Step” from his new album, Feed the Animals (available digitally from Illegal Art as part of the “pay-what-you-want plan”): Girl Talk manages to squeeze Roy Orbison; Salt 'n Pepa; Nirvana; Deee-Lite; Ludacris; Earth, Wind & Fire; The Beach Boys and more odd pairings (often hip-hop with'80s pop/rock hits) into one song. In fact, he crammed more than 300 samples into the 50 minutes of Feed the Animals. It translates into one hell of a sweaty, dance frenzy at his shows, too. Here, Girl Talk (aka Gregg Gillis) talks about the perfect 10 tracks of the moment he might mix up in the studio or into one of his sets. — Kylee Swenson

DJ Jubilee, “Get Ready, Ready!”

This is some classic bounce music. I'm playing in Baton Rouge on Thursday [June 27], so I'm going to try to cut up some Louisiana staples. This entire song is based on evolving call-and-response routines, which is something I've always liked to work with. When I'm changing up samples and beats rapidly in the live setting, sometimes it works to keep the vocals as simple as possible.

Lil Wayne, “A Milli”

The beat is fantastically minimal and heavy. The track opens with an isolated segment of the vocal sample, so that's just begging for people to splice it up. There's no real melody in the beat, which makes it easy to sample the vocals without even using an a cappella. I'm probably going to focus on cutting up some small parts, maybe some individual lines.

Maino, “Hi Hater”

I've been hearing this song everywhere recently. The flow and chorus are great, but I haven't worked with the vocals yet. I'm looking to get my hands an on an a cappella. The beat is real fun. It has the type of melody that would be possible to layer overtop of another instrumental. I like to find beats that have their own identity but can still work with additional music.

Michael McDonald, “Sweet Freedom”

They nail a Beverly Hills Cop/Steve Winwood “Higher Love”-style feel on this one, especially on the intro. The initial instrumental part could be used as a brief transitional segment. The most recognizable part of this is probably the saxophone hook. It's brief and catchy, which is perfect for a quick drop. The heart of this song, though, is the blue-eyed soul vocal hook. I'd probably try to chop it up a bit.

Neutral Milk Hotel, “Naomi”

This is my favorite Neutral Milk Hotel song. I'm not sure how recognizable it is, which is why I've been hesitant to use it, but I've been working it into some live sets recently. There are many instrumental developments throughout the song, which is what I've been mining. It just keeps building throughout.

Rancid, “Ruby Soho”

I want to use this somehow. I don't know what I'm going to do yet. I was at a party in Tampa recently, and they were playing rap and dance music all night. Everything was going great and then the DJ put this on at the end of the night. People lost their minds. There are no individual parts that are jumping out at me to use, other than maybe the intro, but I think I want to work with the chorus.

Lionel Richie, “All Night Long”

“All Night Long” is such a wedding anthem. I've been waiting to use it for a long time; I just haven't gotten around to it yet. The drums are so light for the first minute that it could be interesting to layer additional percussion. I love the dynamics of the energy; it goes from very smooth and laid back to total party jam almost instantaneously. I'll be focusing on the horn and vocal breakdowns that come in a little bit after the midway point.

Spencer Davis Group, “I'm a Man”

I opened my new album with some Spencer Davis Group, and I've been working with this track lately. The opening is slick; it can fit well with a slower hip-hop beat. When the drums kick in, it's actually fairly high intensity. The organ gets me pumped. The production style is distinctly late-'60s. Chicago does a great cover of this song, with some excellent drum breakdowns, which I've sampled.

Supertramp, “Goodbye Stranger”

Supertramp's greatest hits album has been a big summer hit for me so far this year. “Goodbye Stranger” has a few isolated parts featuring electric piano, which escalate throughout the duration of the song. I'd be interested in chopping up individual notes from these segments and rearranging them into new melodies.

ZZ Top, “Cheap Sunglasses”

The part of this song right after the one-minute mark is eerie and amazing. I've never followed ZZ Top, but I'm starting to find out about how much they rule recently. I like this whole song, and there's a bunch of instrumental segments, which could be sampled easily, but I'm obsessed with that creepy interlude part.