Gogol Bordello plays a mix of different genres (Punk, Romani folk, Latin rock, polka), though hints of ska can be found all over their songs. Frontman Eugene Hütz calls it "ska without doing ska" and says he almost doesn't think about the ska elements since he sees ska as so closely linked to punk music.
But on Gogol Bordello's latest album, Solidaritine, the ska elements are more overt than ever before. The reason: their new drummer Korey "Kingston" Horn has an impressive ska resume (Aggrolites, Tim Armstrong, See Spot, Western Standard Time Ska Orchestra, Rhythm Doctors) and we all know that the heart of ska is in those drum beats.
Today we talk to the legend, Eugene Hutz about Gogol Bordello's relationship with ska. We also talk a lot about Ukraine--Eugene is a Ukrainian political refugee and has done much to support them against Russia's attack, including playing a recent secret show for Ukrainian troops at an undisclosed location. We also talk about his childhood growing up in Kyiv and going to super DIY punk shows and trading tapes with other local punks. Some favorites include Dead Kennedys, Devo, The Selecter, P.I.L., Bad Manners, Murphy's Law, The Specials, G.B.H.
On this episode, we also talk about the immigrant experience that often comes up in Gogol Bordello's lyrics. It is often the product of necessity through displacement or economics. Eugene has talked at length about the idea of worldwide citizenship, so he squares this ideal with the global issue of anti-immigrant sentiments that have increased in recent years.
Of course, we talk a lot about interesting music too including Sonic youth, Mano Negra, Russkaja, Cuatro Pesos de Propina and The Specials.