Since 1999, Gogol Bordello has built a buzz based primarily on its rowdy rock shows, but Ukrainian-born frontman Eugene Hutz is plucking through the film world as well—he starred in 2005’s Everything Is Illuminated, and was hand-picked by Madonna for the lead role in the Material Girl’s directorial debut, Filth and Wisdom, set to hit the Sundance circuit in the New Year. We caught up with the Gypsy-punk band’s hardworking star as the band was driving to Sweden.
Hi, Eugene. What’s up, yo?
You’re touring Europe right now. When are you coming back? Yes, right now we’re driving to Sweden. We come back just in time for New Year’s Eve, when we play Terminal 5.
That place is huge. Performance-wise, is bigger better for you? At this point, we kind of find ourselves comfortable in any place—we’re at home on any stage. We’ve played tiny punk venues to, well, to Terminal 5. Our show there in November was sold out. We were probably gonna just hang in New York for New Year’s, actually—just chill out. But it seems to be impossible to celebrate New Year’s in New York without Gogol Bordello at this point. It seems it’s basically in the city’s collective subconscious.
What’s your most memorable New Year’s? The most memorable New Year’s is the one I don’t remember—last year’s. We didn’t play a show. That’s why I don’t remember it.
Any New Year’s resolutions? I don’t really think in those terms. . . . For me it would be, like, 365 resolutions.
What’s on tap for 2008? A lot. I’m going to Brazil for two months at the beginning of the year to live with the Gypsies there. Then we’re going back to Europe to do a Gypsy Punk Generation Tour. Lots of festivals, you know. We have a new album in the works; I’ve been pretty active in writing that—I started the day after we finished the last one.
Any more acting gigs? Perhaps. Madonna’s film [Filth and Wisdom] comes out in February or March. That should affect my incognito status. Really, it’s just a super-exciting time for the band, with more opportunities to do what we want to do.
Like what? Well, we’re moving rapidly toward creating the Gogol Bordello Festival, with other bands we want. It’s important to strengthen that thread between musicians. To feel like music is a real, actual, powerful tool.