Using Hütz's lyrics and melodies and a producer who's worked with Nick Cave and PJ Harvey, the band fleshed out the 14 tracks of Super Taranta! in a barn/studio where Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones once recorded. Bass player Thomas Gobena says creating Super Taranta! was an "incredible experience." He adds, "[Producer] Victor [Van Vugt] is incredible, man. He comes [with] great experience and he has a beautiful ear. He's not threatened by different-sounding music, different ideas."
Gogol draws on all its influences without watering anything down which isn't surprising for a band that cites the Dead Kennedys, Tom Waits, and Romanian Gypsies Taraf de Haidouks as its favorite listening. The title track to Super Taranta! is a wandering masterpiece featuring Russian Sergey Rjabtzev's violin wailing out a bittersweet celebration of life. "American Wedding" is a frantic tale of cultural exchange, while "Wanderlust King" is a stomping opus of the road. "By the time we get to the studio, we don't want to do a lot of overdubs or anything," says Gobena. "We try to capture [the sound as] live as possible."
Ah, yes, the live show. That's where Gogol Bordello must be experienced to really feel the true energy of the band. "Oh my goodness," exclaims the freshman bass player of the group's performances. "Absolute insanity! Debauchery, big time! There's no reason why we can't party and actually say something important." Unity,between cultures, between music, no matter how apparently disparate, is the theme here. "You know, the makeup of the band itself we all come from different parts of the world and to meet together and make music, it sort of shows the people this is possible," Gobena says. "Diversity is something that we celebrate."
When not igniting stages and festivals worldwide, Hütz and crew keep busy. He and bandmate Oren Kaplan organize benefits for Romany (Gypsy) camps, and their side project, J.U.F. (Jewish-Ukrainishe Freundschaft), is at work on a Balkan reggaetón album. Add the constant collaborations with fellow New York/Eastern European alchemists Balkan Beat Box and Slavic Soul Party, plus Hütz's movie appearances (Everything Is Illuminated, The Pied Piper of Hutzovina), and it's a wonder the band has a minute to withstand the rigors of touring. "Music is the cure for everything, man," says Gobena with obvious awe. "Like, more than you would believe." The Bordello is open, and we're all invited to join the rumpus.