'Bring your sausages': What to expect from star-studded supergroup Congress of Animals

A star-studded collective of Kiwi musicians have joined together to form an epic super-group called Congress of Animals.

The group of friends have taken their shared love of hanging out and jamming to a fully-fledged project, and are ready to wow WOMAD this weekend.

New Zealand loves a super-group - but Congress of Animals prefer a different term.

"It's a bit more like a factory rather than a band - sort of a music factory," says Nigel Collins.

That music factory's made up of songwriters and multi-instrumentalists from the likes of Trinity Roots, the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, Flight of the Conchords, and Fly My Pretties.

"In another band, there might be only one writer or two writers, and everyone else is playing those songs - it's definitely a bit of a mish-mash," says Age Pryor.

The members all bring their own sounds and experience to the table, swapping ideas - and instruments - depending on the song. 

"That all sort of comes together - and initially it might not work, so we sort of chip away at it in the studio or chip away at it in rehearsal, and somehow it all sort of becomes a new conglomeration of genres or styles," says Ben Lemi.

They've been jamming together for around two years; different schedules and locations meaning it's only in the last few months they've been able to release an album and go on tour.

"Everyone's got a bunch of different bands they're playing with or different projects, and this one has kind of been the fun one that we've done on the side," says Pryor.

"It's got a fresh feel about it. We don't get together that often, so it's not like a weekly rehearsal, it's more like getting together with some old friends or new friends and going away on holiday together," says Collins.

The group says now they have an album out, it's turned them into a proper project. And one that likes to get philosophical.

"If no one's ever heard you, do you actually exist?" says Collins.

"These are the kinds of questions we ask ourselves at rehearsal. Mostly instead of playing," says Pryor.

"How many trees have to fall before we become a proper band? That's the question, really," adds Lemi.

In addition to a regular set at WOMAD, they're also hosting a workshop.

"It's top-secret. Just bring your sausages along. Sausages and tomato sauce," says Deanne Krieg.

As for what else to expect?

"Being in the studio for long hours, as we started off, we had a lot of toastie-pie moments. So we're hoping to do some live cookery on stage, which we can then share with the audience," says Collins.

Serving up toasties, sausages, and grooves - surely the perfect accompaniment to every Kiwi gig.

Newshub.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz