Despite his popularity, producer Gregg Gillis, performing as Girl Talk, manages to skate beneath lawsuits for his mash-ups of unauthorized clips and bits: Rap dance anthems like "Walk it Out" bump hard against Sinead O'Connor's cover of "Nothing Compares 2 U" and Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend," and he relishes in the success. He was relishing in the colorful doors of his new Pittsburgh home when we caught up with him for the latest round of Five Words.
IRONY: I think irony serves its role in all music and art, especially comedy. When I like a band, I like to get into their sound regardless of what's going on. The only musicians I have a hard time stomaching are heavily ironic bands. There's so many things you can do with sound, and it just seems way too easy to make fun of music and artistic statements. I like being sincerely down with things, so I specifically try to avoid irony in my music. Over the years, people have become aware of that. When I was starting, I was playing in an underground world where I would be doing pop remixes at some art gallery with 15 people. A lot of people used to accuse me of being ironic with what I was doing. I was trying to convince people that I really liked the music and wasn't trying to poke fun at anything. I don't feel the need to defend myself anymore. As young people are exposed to more music, the concept of irony is slowly fading out. It's acceptable to present this or that kind of music in an underground setting. You can be sincere in anything.
DOORS: I love The Doors, but I've never been a hardcore Doors-head. I like doors on houses. We just moved into a new place, and I have nice, colorful doors. But Doors the band I'm really into, especially on a more historic and performance level. I really like the idea of Jim Morrison pushing buttons in ways that people didn't really know and understand. I like the idea of being in the public spotlight and able to just weird everyone out. It seems like every few decades, a group comes along that seems to really care about what's going down and gets everyone thinking.
BASKETBALL: Basketball is my sport of choice. I haven't played in a minute, but I feel like my fundamentals are still sound. I can shoot OK and I've always been a point guard, so my ball handling is pretty good. But my athleticism has died down. When I go to local courts in Pittsburgh and my neighborhood, I'm kind of the weird old guy who is trying to keep up with high schoolers. But I still follow hoops. There's no team in Pittsburgh, so a lot of people just don't follow hoops. As for NBA, people either don't root for anyone or are into the Cavaliers even though you're supposed to hate Cleveland if you're from here. I've always been a Cavaliers fan and supported them since Mark Price. I'm a big LeBron [James] fan. If I'm outdoors doing anything outside of drinking a beer, I'd love to be shooting a basketball.
MYSPACE: I think MySpace is the coolest Web site and visit it every day I'm on the Internet. It's fantastic because it killed the personal band Web page and made finding out about rock music so easy. I can't imagine being a kid who is into music [today] and seeing your favorite band's homepage and his top friends and their influences. You really get to dive into the personal lives of a lot of people and bands. I think it's fantastic. I know Facebook has kind of blown up recently, but I'm stuck in the MySpace world.
HIPSTER: I love the idea of the word "hipster." I've never met anyone who's wanted to be called a "hipster." In the late '90s when I was getting involved in the music scene, "scenester" faded into "hipster." "Scenester" seemed to have such negative connotations. But I think people should embrace what they're into. If anyone says I make "hipster" music that's fine, but I just make stuff out of pop. I wish people would get "hipster" tattoos and appropriate it back in a positive way. I don't like making fun of people for any music, art or style interest.
Girl Talk plays a sold-out show at Cat's Cradle Monday, Oct.13, at 9:30 p.m. Grand Buffet and Hearts of Darknesses open.
Elizabeth Lilly contributed to this story.