the AU interview at Bluesfest: Eugene Hutz from Gogol Bordello (New York)


The opportunity to sit down with the enigmatic frontman of New York’s Gogol Bordello was something I couldn’t pass up. For Eugene Hutz, Movember is every month, and purple is the greatest colour. Sitting in his dressing room just before he heads on stage, we chat about Australia, performing live, women and the new album! Although it’s fair to say he does most of the talking…

Larry: Is this your first visit to Australia?

Eugene: Yeah man.

How are you finding it so far?

Your country is beautiful, fans are very responsive, like above the average responsive, which is already a lot for us. We pretty much have the ability to bring it out of anyone, even Belgians. *laughs* Who are really well fed and complacent.

But here its pretty pumping man. Lots of response, lots of people who know the lyrics. Really cool.

Did you expect that? What were you expecting when you came down here?

Well I kind of was expecting it because there was lots, loads of messages on Myspace and Facebook from Australia. And also because I am kindred spirit with Birthday Party and so I kind of come from that neck of the woods. It is my foundation. So people who like that kinda shit, know, like our kinda shit. I know that for a fact. Travelling along that road. So yeah, kinda like that.

You’re about to release “Transcontinental Hustle”, your next album, can you tell me a little but about that? How does it compare to the other albums?

Oh, its just completely another calibre than before. I mean you can’t make another record that’s not going to be another calibre of work.


So everything about it, starting with songwriting process, song selections is a lot closer to authenticity for us as artists. As opposed to us as a very excited gang of people that just wanna get fuckin’ frantic.

So I guess that it’s a pretty good manifestation of the fragment, we’re actually craftsmen more than anything. The evolution of our albums. You know we conquered the fans, and the critics with giving us props for energy, originality, ah, phenomenal sensuality. *laughs*

The best kind.

Yeah. For myself, I always knew that that’s not really the strength of Gogol Bordello. That’s a confidence. The real strength comes from the crafting of songs. ‘Cause I guarantee no matter what you do on stage, even if you stick broken bottles up your ass, its really not gonna hold the show together unless the songs are good.

And many bands have burned out and hit the wall at a certain point when they were energy driven. You know, they either completely break up or they have to reinvent themselves in a true musical way.

So we weren’t close to burning out, but we just felt it was a very good point to become actually very musical. And that’s exactly the vision that Rick (Rubin, producer) had, I think he saw musical potential way beyond what the critics and the fans saw.

I have read some interesting comments sometimes where people were like “I don’t give a fucking fuck about Gogol Bordello’s live show, I think its annoying! I like their slow songs.” That resonates with me because yes, underneath of it all its really actually fucking more about the songs than anything else.

I didn’t get into rock and roll for the girls. I took advantage of it later on, but I did not get into it  because of that. I didn’t get into rock and roll because of fashion. I didn’t get into it to jump around and go nuts on stage. I got into it because when I was 14 years old I started writing songs and I noticed with corner of my eye that people were not entirely opposed to hearing them.

So I’ve thought of it as crafting always, and I wanted to be a master of my craft. Way before when what kind of fucking socks I was wearing and who was fuckin’ backstage. I don’t give a fucking fuck about that shit.

Unfortunately we have to leave it at that!
Thank you very much for your time and we’ll see you out there …


Special thanks to contributor Angie Douglas for transcribing this interview for us!

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.