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Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 12/30/2010

Be specific: Eugene Hutz talks about life in Gogol Bordello

By Allison Stewart

gogol bordelloEugene Hutz and Gogol Bordello will ring in 2011 at 9:30 Club. (Sarah L. Voisin/TWP)

Gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello made the leap from hipster favorites to major label stars-in-the-making when they signed to Rick Rubin's American label for the release of their April disc, "Trans-Continental Hustle."

The band's frontman Eugene Hütz is a part-time actor (he starred in Madonna's '08 film "Filth and Wisdom"), sometime model and DJ. Born in the Ukraine, presently living in Rio, Hütz is finishing up a tour with Gogol Bordello (they hit town Thursday and Friday for dates at the 9:30 Club) and contemplating a solo career. He discussed his plans with Click Track.

You recorded your album at Rick Rubin's house in Malibu. Was it as amazing a process as I'm imagining in my head?

It was an amazing process on every level. On the writing and creative level and production and the whole experience of working with Rick.

He's famous for helping people make the album they want, not the album he thinks they should make. Was that true in your case?

I think that we understood each other well on the grounds of complete commitment to the art of songwriting. That's the kind of album we were aiming to make, something where nothing gets lost in translation, where the band's power and energy serve the songs. And yes, Rick is an absolute master of that discipline.

A lot of reviews are saying the songs are more spiritual than you've written in the past. Do you agree with that?

I've always thought that my songs from day one had that quality, but I guess Rick was able to illuminate that and make it more visible. I never wrote anything that was unemotional ... It's not for me to judge really. There's a saying that people who claim to possess soul aren't the ones who have it.

(On life on a major and a possible solo album, after the jump.)

Has being on a major label changed your life in any way?

It has had absolutely zero influence on my life. You have to understand that major or indie or whatever, it has no impact on a musician's life at this point. On a creative note, it's not like there was anybody at the label supervising the creative process. There's the band and Rick and that's it. We're fully committed to having our creativity be uncorrupted. I enjoy my life exactly the way it was before.

You mentioned making a solo album -- is that something [in the works]?

I've been basically encouraged by people all over the world to do that for years, and I really felt like Gogol Bordello serves all my needs. I [have a] bucket of ideas that was distinctly not Gogol Bordello material that was just growing and growing until it took on a shape of its own. So time will show. I don't push things, you know? I let them grow, and when they grow, they're ready to go. I'll let them move to the city and get a big job.

Does [the fact that you live in Rio] make collaborating with the band difficult?

It doesn't interfere with the band work in any way because whatever needs to get done, we get together in New York and get it done. Plus, we spend half of our year on the road together. That's where we do most of our work. As a matter of fact, I think it's even more effective that way than living in the same neighborhood, where we take each others' presence for granted and start skipping rehearsals. We've always had a great work ethic-that's a huge part of the band, the ability to focus and work. Then we can really party.

By Allison Stewart  | December 30, 2010; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Be specific  | Tags:  Eugene Hutz, Gogol Bordello  
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