It might not seem long since Super Taranta! garnered nigh-universal acclaim and dare I say respectable sales for a large band of gypsies named Gogol Bordello performing punk with a predilection for the Eastern European scales of bandleader Eugene Hütz’s native Ukraine. But it had been about two years and two weeks since the band’s fourth album was released when I spoke to Hütz about the band’s as-yet-untitled forthcoming release.
Perhaps it’s that the band’s gypsy punk sound, which was largely introduced to the United States on their 2005 release, Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike, hasn’t lost the great spirit that has made it such a global success. Since then, Hütz and his eight musical comrades have been adored by common man and celebrity alike, landing Hütz film roles and even the entire band a spot in Madonna’s directorial debut, Filth And Wisdom. More recently, they’ve drawn the attention of Rick Rubin, who opted to produce the band’s fifth album, whose release date has yet to be set.
The man who told the world to “Think Locally, Fuck Globally” has been globetrotting quite a bit, finding a second (third?) home in Brazil, but more importantly, digesting another example of true musical culture among the disenfranchised. Hütz spoke to The Aquarian just prior to a performance in St. Louis, MO, his 37th show in about two months.
You’ve been on tour for what, how long now, forever?
Why forever? If that’s how you look at it. We just finished a record, so we were in the studio for three months. We’ve been on tour for the whole summer though, that’s for sure.
You were working with Rick Rubin, yes? How was that?
Amazing creative times man. We’re still working on the record, it’s not mixed, so it’s a bit premature to talk about the whole thing overall.
Was there anything specifically you got out of the sessions? I feel that your music is very spontaneous, so I can only imagine it was interesting.
What did I get out of the sessions? Rick Rubin was there! That’s what I got out of it. You fucking crazy, man? (laughs) We were with Rick working on a record every day, how about that?
Was it like working with Buddha?
It was like working with a musical guru that’s for sure. Back to the live music, absolutely. For us, it’s vital to capture live sound, not only our live music, but our records. It’s all about capturing the live energy. At the bottom of it all it’s a kind of overall prevailing spirit of it as being spontaneous, but Lord knows, crafting comes first. It’s all about crafting. It’s all about songwriting. I guaran-fucking-tee you not any kind of live show will work for anybody ever if there will not actually be musical structure behind it. It will hold no interest by any means. It’s all just smoke and mirrors man.
Sure, even on Kind Of Blue, there are still two bars in front of them.
It can be one bar, but it depends who is doing it. As our accordion player [Yuri Lemeshev] says, it’s not about what you play and how you play it, it’s about who is playing it.