Gypsy punk from the Lower East Side of Manhattan might sound like a pretentious gimmick to catch the attention of weary, worn-out hipsters. But Gogol Bordello is as true as a ragtag group of musicians from around the globe can be.
Ukranian refugee Eugene Hutz embodies the spirit of gypsy music, as the raucous lead singer has led the way into otherwise uncharted musical waters with his band’s high-powered music and theatrical live performance.
“I was never involved with anything but music,” says Hutz. “Even back in Ukraine, that was my life.”
And that life certainly was colorful. Hutz says it was during his formative years there that he learned to stay true to his own musical interests.
“The music scene in Eastern Europe mutates every day — people don’t really follow aesthetics too much,” he says. “They just play disco… followed by punk. That’s the Third World.”
A disconnected scene might just be part of why Hutz never wanted to return, beyond the sidenote that he endured a seven-year trek through Eastern European refugee camps
“I never thought about moving back to Europe,” he says. “What am I, f–ing nuts?”
Fast-forward a couple of decades, and you’d never know that Hutz had a difficult past. His almost comedically enthusiastic foreign accent is complemented by a group of musicians from Israel, Russia and Ethiopia, among other nations. That’s not to say that Hutz plays favorites.
“Hey man, I’ve traveled the whole world — of course, I have about 40 favorite cities.”
Regardless of where this mustachioed man is — he’s currently been living in Brazil — Gogol Bordello continues to flow on.
“Music for Gogol Bordello is like a river, it doesn’t take too many turns. It just absorbs everything, but stays its course.”
Hutz’s creative package
Eugene Hutz made his film debut in 2005, co-starring in indie drama “Everything is Illuminated.”
“I’m a creative person, so I enjoy many ways of creativity. I don’t approach it from an academic point of view — here I’m going to be an actor, here I’m going to be a musician — it’s all part of the same thing of who I am.”
Hutz says he encourages other artists to follow this sort of path.
“I look at [music] as my personal evolution — and everybody who enjoys it comes along.”