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After unplanned hiatus, hip-hop collective Flying Spiders returns with new music

The Flying Spiders pose for a photo on May 7, 2014. After a year-and-a-half break, the Spiders have returned to the stage. (TYLER TJOMSLAND / SR)
The Flying Spiders pose for a photo on May 7, 2014. After a year-and-a-half break, the Spiders have returned to the stage. (TYLER TJOMSLAND / SR)

Although Flying Spiders has performed together since 2010, lyricist/vocalist Andrew Hauan couldn’t help but feel a little nervous when the jazz-tinged hip-hop collective took the stage at JJ’s Tap and Smokehouse earlier this month.

It was the band’s first show after an unplanned, though well-deserved, year-and-a-half long hiatus, which began in late 2016 after the band played its Annual Isamu Benefit in honor of Isamu Jordan, former Flying Spiders frontman who died in 2013.

The hiatus came about while members attended to personal and medical issues that arose.

In the meantime, the band stayed active in other ways.

Saxophone/keyboardist/flutist Cameron La Plante, a “magician of a musician,” Hauan said, teaches music and performs in a few bands. Same with guitarist Justyn Priest, who Hauan estimated plays in “close to a million bands.”

Hauan himself started a new band called Vernita Avenue, which will perform its second show during the Volume festival June 1-2.

But now that each member is back to 100 percent, Flying Spiders will once again don their signature black and red and return to the Big Dipper stage on Friday as part of Indian Goat’s album release show.

Even though Flying Spiders weren’t performing or producing music during its hiatus, the band still got together once a week.

“We’ve always had a pretty strong stance that it’s not just about the music and we enjoy each other’s company a great deal,” Hauan said. “We refuse not to get together. There was a little bit of a break, maybe for a month or so, when some heavy stuff happened but after that we were right back at it eating chips and salsa and talking about music.”

Long before the hiatus, Hauan said the Spiders knew they wanted to release new music.

They had been performing a couple new tracks in between songs from 2015’s “The Pillaging Effigy” and were ready to start thinking about what they wanted the next album to sound like.

As Hauan put it, Jordan, a mastermind who was always planning ahead, had already figured that out.

“I remember sitting down with him in 2012 or late 2011 and him telling me eight albums out where he saw this band, when the comic book was coming out, when the cartoon was going to drop,” Hauan said with a laugh. “He had amazing aspirations and a lot of it was very meticulously planned out.”

The Spiders have taken elements of Jordan’s vision, including his love of sci-fi, comics and superheroes, and applied it to the new music they’re working on.

“We tried to take that and almost do a very comic-looking thing where this is an alternate timeline where he isn’t here,” Hauan said. “There are other alternate timelines where he’s still alive and really playing with the idea and really embracing that deep nerdiness we all feel in the band.”

Hauan said this has given the band a sense of what future releases will sound like and that he’s happy with both what he’s been able to write and the band has been able to produce thus far.

Fans will get a chance to hear some of this new music at the Big Dipper. Hauan estimates the band’s set will include four or five new songs, plus moments of collaboration between himself, while freestyling, and Michael Janson’s beatboxing.

“We’re trying to reevaluate everybody’s secret powers and make sure they have a spotlight on them,” Hauan said.

Looking ahead, Hauan said the band has its sights on a music video in the near future and hopes to release a new EP or album by early next year.

He promises more Spiders in the coming months, and the band is already scheduled to perform at the Nest during the Kendall Yards Night Market in July.

“I’m excited to keep putting out music,” Hauan said. “People seem to dig what we’re doing and I love rapping so it’s perfect … We’re excited to represent our city. More than anything we love Spokane and we like to be part of the scene that is developing here and will continue.”

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