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The Hütz spot…

Gogol Bordello frontman looks ahead to supporting Green Day at the Hyde Park BST Festival

25 May, 2017 — By Róisín Gadelrab

Eugene Hütz of Gogol Bordello

FOLLOWING Gogol Bordello frontman Eugene Hütz takes concentration. The frontman of the New York-based, internationally-minded, sometimes nine-piece, gypsy-punk band seems to think at a million miles an hour, on tangents, different planes or perhaps an alternate universe.

Gogol Bordello, known for their energetic, frenzied, multi-instrumental shows, support Green Day at Hyde Park BST Festival on July 1, alongside The Stranglers, The Damned, Rancid, The Hives, The Living End, The Orwells, Public Access TV and more.

When we speak, Ukranian-born Hütz is “hustling the streets of New York City”, he tells me over a very dodgy mobile line.

“Always on a mission from one of the gods at least.” Although he knows London well, having spent a considerable amount of time playing gigs and introducing new music to various London clubs in one of his side-hustles as a DJ, Hütz is not familiar with Hyde Park.

He said: “I don’t think I’ve been there before.”

He is particularly pleased to be sharing the bill with The Stranglers.

“I’m a huge fan of The Stranglers,” he said. “I always loved them since I was a kid back in Ukraine, and I loved their song-writing and the characters of the band.

“We have a lot of synergy with that band because we have very diverse punk-rockers. We have everything, from baroque, to street gangster, to hardcore.

“I always loved playing with those elements with the help of classical musicians who give elements to gangsta hardcore elements and vice versa.

“Having that kind of playground was always my dreamscape and it’s fantastic. When I got into punk-rock, I was 13 or 14, I was basically maniacally consuming everything that was punk, post-punk, everything, and they were one of the bands that stood out.”

While Gogol Bordello have covered The Stranglers’ Nice ’n’ Sleazy before, Hütz cannot say if they will play it at Hyde Park.

“I don’t know, I write the setlist three minutes before I play,” he says.

“What to expect? It’s going to be driven by a lot of new material from the album coming out in August, so we can’t wait to start busting out the new funk.”

Is there a theme to new album Seekers and Finders? Hütz falls back on his favoured analogy:

“Perhaps the best way to answer your question is to take a principle of martial arts and apply it to music. Is there a plan in a martial art? F***, yes. Is it a structured rigid plan? Hell, no. It’s a method that allows for the cathartic energy to be expressed and in a way that’s fulfilling for the soul and, at the same time, captivates the audience, communicates your feeling, puts a spell on the audience or breaks the spell that they are already under – the spell of incredible tedious pressures of life that create a very common condition known as human unhappiness.”

But don’t expect a story, he warns.

“The album is not a novel, it doesn’t have a lineality it’s not supposed to have it, that’s why an album is much more popular, or at least was than, say, a novel, because it responds to people’s needs in a fractured way.

“This particular batch of songs speaks. I produced it myself, I wanted to get behind the wheel again, to bring maximum of my own focus so it would capture the band, not only musically, but attempt to capture its lifestyle. That’s why it’s recorded over some time and in different places.”

He added: “We’re way past the point of trying to manage it, it’s pretty established, we know what we’re doing in our musical mixed martial arts dojo.

“The band has carved out its own path and every character, every person in the band is quite natural to what we’re doing so we really enjoy that, we’re always up to being shaken and transformed but the method, it always feels like a spring river, like a flamboyant spring river finding its way down a mountain – that’s the kind of the feeling of the band.”

Hütz says the band have many memories of times in Camden: “Hell, yes, many shots have been taken there and many celebratory activities took place there for our band. I always remember a lot of nights ended in Camden and there’s always more to explore. I just love the contrast that it contains. What I love about Camden is it always had the clash of a kind of Adam Ant fashion, which is a touch of art fashion, and then completely next to this, terrible ugly other kind of fashion and I always thrive in that kind of mess for some reason.”

• Further info and tickets for Hyde Park’s BST festival can be found at www.bst-hydepark.com

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