This weekend marks the release of the latest CD by Spirit of the Stairs, Tronan Vs. The Spidernauts.
Whereas past releases from the all-instrumental group have clocked in around the hour mark, Tronan consists of only four songs—all recorded since the release of the group’s 2012 effort, Lambo Doors.
The group performs its final show with its current lineup on Saturday at The Cotillion Ballroom. Guitarist Paul Anop is leaving the band, as is drummer Kyle Hupp, who has been with the band for a decade now. Guitarist Torin Andersen is quick to praise both men for their contributions. Hupp, he says, broadened the band’s rhythmic capabilities and was eager to contribute to the writing process from the start.
“Kyle brought a ton of creativity,” Andersen notes. “The thing that I liked about him coming in is that I don’t think he had a lot to prove creatively. He just was creative.”
The songs on Tronan Vs. The Spidernauts inspired bassist Ben Wells to write a narrative about a character named Tronan and his adventures battling the mysterious Spidernauts. That story in turn inspired local filmmakers Ian and Seth Blume to bring it to local screens.
“We’ve seen a couple of clips that are really far out,” Andersen reveals. “This is going to be a really nice contrast to the sound that we’ve produced. There’s not a whole lot of jokes or hilarity on the record, but there will be something very comical included in the movie.”
The film version, likely to be completed in 2014, features Tronan, the Spidernauts, and a character named Bro2-D2. Andersen says that the Blume brothers have brought out the humor in the story and that, so far, the film promises to be a one-of-a-kind picture. Second takes are as non-existent as the budget and that, coupled with the strangeness of the story, is part of the film’s charm. So they say.
“We’ve contributed to the movie as actors—or the band, rather—thus far,” he says. “We’ve eaten moon salt and spat out spiders. And we’re also the band for the school dance, Bros Under The Sea.”
Andersen and bassist Wells have not yet discussed the future of the band, though it’s unlikely that the concert on Saturday will spell the end of Spirit of the Stairs. Instead, he’s focusing on the immediate future. He sees Saturday’s show as part of celebration of the diversity found in Wichita’s music scene.
Earlier this year, he and his bandmates joined with Ophil and Carrie Nation and The Speakeasy for an event called Supershow. The lineup drew a capacity crowd at The Brickyard in Old Town.
The gig’s eclectic mix—blending post rock with the roots sounds of Carrie Nation and Ophil’s brand of ska—was one of its greatest strengths.
“Getting three bands who sound really nothing alike to fill out the entirety of The Brickyard was not really entirely unexpected but really amazing,” Andersen says. “I don’t think we were going into it thinking there would be people in every corner of the venue, but I definitely think we thought it was going to be a good load.”
Bringing the bill to one of Wichita’s most beloved music venues, The Cotillion, on Saturday just makes sense to Andersen. Everyone involved, he notes, has seen some of their favorite shows in that room and the concert makes it possible for Wichita music fans of all ages to experience these three bands together again.
“Every musician wants to play a tall stage in front of a big crowd. I think that’s when you feel like your ideas are best expressed—loudly on a tall stage,” he says.
Spirit of the Stairs performs at The Cotillion Saturday to celebrate the release of Tronan Vs. The Spidernauts and mark the final performance of its current lineup.