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Premiere: Congress Of Animals Unveil Single 'Burning Sun' + Video

Premiere: Congress Of Animals Unveil Single 'Burning Sun' + Video

Thursday 1st November, 2018 11:39AM

Wellington superstar collective Congress Of Animals gathers together a who's who of local talent, showcasing the considerable skills of Bret McKenzie (Flight Of The Conchords), Age Pryor (Fly My Pretties, Wellington Ukulele Orchestra), Justin Firefly (Fly My Pretties), Nigel Collins (Flight Of The Concords, Wellington Ukulele Orchestra) and Ben Lemi (Trinity Roots, Dawn Diver).  The windy city supergroup have joined forces for an album release and Strange Caravan nationwide tour in November and December, and today have unveiled their third single 'Burning Sun'.

The new single was originally penned by Age Pryor before being worked on with the team, and features Deanne Krieg on vocals along with the instrumental prowess of Congress Of Animals. The group have also shared their very first video to accompany Pryor's reflective tune, filmed by the artist on his phone capturing the meditative vibes of a touring artist's life in transit. We caught up with Pryor for a chat via email about the song, the band's group dynamic, upcoming tour, their debut album Luxury Motel For Cats and more - experience 'Burning Sun' and read his words below...

Could you please tell us how your video came together?

For three months in 2016 I was travelling across the USA with the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra. We started in Washington State and played 40 shows along both coasts and through the midwest. It was all driving, apart from one flight in the middle from Arizona to Texas. I would occasionally stick my phone up against the van window and shoot small segments of video, mainly just to catch a record of all the different places/weather we were driving through, and to show my family back in NZ. Once I got home, I wrote the song Burning Sun, and it was kind-of about that whole experience. I always had in mind that the video was sitting there waiting for me in those little clips I’d taken, and I’m stoked to have finally put them together with the music.

Each single released from Congress of Animals has been credited to an individual songwriter - how does Congress of Animals work as a creative collective? Did you each bring in songs for the group to work on?

Yeah it’s a collaboration based on all the members being able to put forward their own songs to be played by the group. It started from more casual get-togethers where we would hang out for an evening and jam, trying out new song ideas. Over a couple of years the project has grown to include recordings and our upcoming tour.

I can imagine the circumstances surrounding Congress of Animals are pretty unique - is this a one-off project?

It is a bit of a special edition. We’re not tying it up with any agenda. It’s all about enjoying the music, and being in the moment with like-minded musicians. Having said that, the underlying model is kinda familiar - Justin Firefly and I used it with our group The Woolshed Sessions, and you could say it’s the basis of Fly My Pretties too: everyone pitching in on each others’ songs.

What was Deanne Krieg's contribution to 'Burning Sun'? What lyrical ideas were you exploring with the song?

After I’d written the song I invited Deanne to sing on it - I wanted it to be a ‘double lead’, so we’re both singing the lyrics together. Deanne had joined the Ukes for our big USA tour, so we’d worked together a lot before the song came about. Lyrically the song explores that feeling of leaping off, taking a chance and being bold in the face of the unknown.

What can audiences look forward to with the Strange Caravan tour?

There’s a lot to look forward to, although we don’t know exactly what the show is yet. I know there’ll be some killer musical moments, a really varied range of songs and styles, and probably a few random surprises here and there too. I can’t wait to play a few shows and learn more about the Strange Caravan.

You have a solid collection of projects on the go including Fly My Pretties and Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra. What does the near future hold following the tour?

Straight after the tour, Congress of Animals will be releasing a full length album (Luxury Motel for Cats) featuring lots of the tunes we’re performing live. Personally I’m bringing my focus back to original work, and am halfway through a new solo album - I’m looking forward to pushing that further as soon as the tour is completed.

Congress Of Animals are touring throughout Aotearoa for their Strange Caravan tour in November and December - for tickets and more info head along over here.


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