Live & Direct with Gogol Bordello


Gogol Bordello! Talk about a band with a unique sound. Just talk to them, like Joey Spehar did when they visited WYEP for a Live & Direct studio session. Pura Vita Conspiracy is their newest, and seventh full-length studio album.

The bandbegan performing around 1999 in New York City, although frontman Eugene Hütz says the band didn’t really find it’s identity until 2003. “I came to New York with 50 songs written, but to express that sound it needed people from all over the world. At this point we cover all continents.” Gogol Bordello is like musical socialism, according to The Specials, who are also musical socialists, according to Hütz.

“Obviously, pure life is not a conspiracy. People are busy living in the future and in the past. So Pura Vida Conspiracy is a way of looking at life that is quite present. When you’re obsessed with what you’re going to get in the future, you’re not going to get anywhere. Where you want to get, what are you looking for? There is nothing to find, really. All answers are inside. Same with people looking in the past. There’s nothing there.” This was part of Eugene’s answer when Joey asked about the meaning of the album’s title. It’s really much more complex than that, so listen to the whole thing and try to understand it. 

Joey asked the band if they were consciously trying to develop the Latin American and American influence in this album’s sound, in addition to the Eastern European influence. “Any musician that comes up to you and says they’re doing something consciously, you can just punch them in the face right away.” Hütz argues that there is little strategy to good, real music. Music comes from a place unknown to humankind, from a place beyond the mind. “Composers, they never really write a melody. It comes, almost like getting an email. It comes and you open it.”

“You guys are often described as Gypsy Punk, how do you feel about that label?” Joey asked. “Well, you know I invented that label,” laughs Eugene. “We’re bringing music that is so outside the normal scope of people in the West. I learned something from a band called Sonic Youth. They were doing a very similar thing, stretching people’s minds. There was art-core, hardcore. Thurston Moore said, ‘Actually we’re art-hardcore,’ or something like that. It was a similar process here.”

Listen to the interview, it’s definitely one of the funniest we’ve done. Gogol Bordello also plays a bonus song for Joey, which is super neat. It’s like an organic encore where there usually aren’t any!


Gogol Bordello’s Setlist:

1) Other Side of the Rainbow

2) Lost Innocent World

3) My Conpanjera

4) We Shall Sail

5) American Wedding

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