Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hutz talks tours, albums, and New Years

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Written by Justinas Staskevicius

Gypsy-punk fans rejoice, your drought of new Gogol Bordello music is nearly over. “It’s basically ready to be out now, and it should be out in March or April,” said Eugene Hütz, the frontman of New York based band, in an exclusive interview with Montreal Rampage.

Speaking from the Ukraine, where he is busy finalizing the band’s latest album cover, Hütz said that the image he is working on is central to the experience. “I started working out of that emblem to look at what themes I could work out of it for the music,” said Hütz. “It’s a more conceptual album about our musical family. From artwork to mixing it’s completely organic family made.”

Hütz was not ready to reveal his creation, which has guided the album’s sound over the past three years, but did hint at what it will represent. “It embodies the idea of living worldwide, living beyond, on this planet as we go around,” said Hütz. “It’s not about optimism, it’s about being. It’s not thinking things will be great, it’s realizing that already being alive is a complete masterpiece, and that’s amplified through music.”

The album is currently going by the working title Seekers and Finders, with three options still in the running for a final title, and is the follow up to 2013’s Pura Vida Conspiracy. Hütz will be producing the album himself, “Nobody knows how it should sound more than me.”

It’s not clear when fans can expect to start hearing new tunes live, as Hütz does not like to plan out set lists too far ahead of time. “I write a rough set list like five minutes before the show begins,” said Hütz. “When we’re on stage, the fans are all shouting for their favourite songs, and that crafts the dialogue of the night.” Fan involvement is crucial to Gogol Bordello’s performance. “It’s this communal tribal catharsis. The band is the fire and people are coming to dance around it,” he said. “It’s anthropological in a sense. They come to hear the stories that are archetypal.” This approach might seem unconventional to many, but Hütz preaches fan participation to other bands. “Some bands complain that touring drains them. They are monologuing, they are floor gazers thinking people will follow them into their own dimension, and some will, but most won’t.”

The band is set to play a show in Montreal on New Years Eve. “People in New York right now are really not down with this, because it’s been a tradition for the last decade for us to do two or three nights of shows there around this time of year,” said Hütz. “We had to tell them we’re going to see different people this time, and you know how people act when you say that you ‘want to see other people.’”

Montreal played a large role in shaping Hütz’s early life. Having fled from their hometown after hearing of the Chernobyl meltdown, Hütz and his parents arrived in the state of Vermont in 1992 as political refugees. “When I first arrived, Montreal was just an hour and a half away,” said Hütz. “I would go there with a group of punk rock kids and we went almost every weekend.” Hütz name-drops venues as confidently as a local, pointing to the landmark concert venue, Foufounes Électriques, as his stomping ground. “I would see Beck or Nirvana. Whatever was going on, we would get in a car and drive to Montreal,” said Hütz. While he came for the nightlife, he admits that the European style of the city reminded him of the home he had left behind, “I was jonesing for it,” he said.

Gogol Bordello will playing at L’Oympia on Dec. 31, tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door. Info and tickets HERE.