Monday, February 11, 2019

6 Questions with Boris Pelekh of Gogol Bordello and Hey Guy

Boris Pelekh is a Russian guitarist who is perhaps more famous for taking part in the insanity that is Gogol Bordello, one of the wildest live acts you are likely to see. Since joining the Gypsy Punk outfit in 2015 he has also been busy fronting his own rock quartet Hey Guy, a party punk n'roll band that is currently touring Europe, so catch them if they come near you. You will never be able to get their song In Your Head... out of your head.

Electric EyeYou are best known for being the guitarist in Gogol Bordello for the past five years. From the outisde, that band is like a travelling circus of freaks, gypsies, reprobates, anarchists and poets. How true is that characterisation? Is the onstage bacchanalia an accurate representation of the lifestyle, or is it an act?

Boris PelekhIt’s definitely an accurate representation. But to me that all umbrellas under creatives/abstractionists. Anyone that dedicates their life to true spirited art is a circus freak in a common eye.

Gogol, on top of that is highly multicultural which makes us very diverse freaks, if you will. 

Electric EyeWhen was Hey Guy created, and what are its primary influences? 

Boris PelekhHey Guy is an alias under which I have been writing all of my original music since 2009. As far as it becoming a set band it went through lots of changes over the years. The current quartet is definitely what I define as ‘HEY GUY the band’. This quartet has been super active for the last 3 years. However some of the recorded music under HEY GUY dates back to 2011.

Electric EyeYou moved to the U.S. from Russia at a young age, do you feel that any of that background seeps through in Hey Guy?

Boris PelekhAbsolutely. Immigration and cultural mutation is an enormous part of one’s existence. It effects everyone differently. I Americanized very quickly due to migrating as a child but in my adult years I definitely dug back into my roots and pulled out all the buried treasures. A lot of Hey Guy music is sprinkled with Slavic harmony and mannerisms. 

Electric EyeThis is your first european tour and last night you alluded to a few incidents… Anything you can elaborate on? Anything Spinal Tap-ish hopefully?

Boris PelekhThis tour is a largely risky undertaking for us. In the current state of the music industry it isn’t easy to get tour support and or sponsorship, therefore this tour is self-funded.

We have bought our own vehicle in Sweden with hopes to sell it back after tour. Somehow we found an American vehicle which has brought a lot of attention towards us on the roads. We have gotten pulled over 3 times in 3 days, put through x-ray machines and dog sniffed. 

On our first show in Czech we managed to bust a van window and have been looking for a rare american replacement window now for a week in Europe.

All Spinal Tap!

Electric EyeDo you know how many countries you’ve played in? Which ones are the most exotic or unusual to you?

Boris PelekhSo far we’ve played in 4 countries but the tour has just begun. Eastern Europe is ahead and from a lot of experience touring thru there with Gogol, I know that it will be the most memorable, the least safe and unpredictable.

Electric Eye: And finally, let’s get topical! What is your take on American/Russian relations right now?

Boris PelekhI am apolitical. I try to stay out of world affairs and live my life being as caring and as conscious of the immediate world around me because I believe, that is the only one that I have control over.

I hypothesise that all humans are exactly the same, there are assholes and angels of every color and race. Their governments are just a virtue of their history/point in evolution and geography. Individuals don’t pick these virtues, they are born into them.

I have lots of American friends and lots of Russian friends that I care for and love equally. That is my stance on the Russian/American relations.

Thanks to Boris for taking the time to give us some well thought out answers. His worldview is definitely one that we can adhere to! And if you fancy a bit of a party, go check out his band and support them by buying their merch and more importantly by tapping your foot and thrashing your head to their groovy tunes.

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