The North Carolina-based rock band Jump, Little Children is returning to Winston-Salem for the first time in over a decade. The group, having reunited after an extended hiatus, has hometown ties with the city - four of the band's members grew up there.

They recently released the album Sparrow, their first in 14 years, and will be playing a concert at The Ramkat on Saturday, December 22. They'll be accompanied by a string quartet, playing two sets of songs from their discography.

WFDD's Eddie Garcia spoke with the band's multi-instrumentalist, Matt Bivins.

Interview Highlights

On getting Jump, Little Children back together:

The first little tour was all about being a reunion band. Then we sort of didn't really know what was going to happen, and our friends Carry Ann [Hearst] and Michael [Trent] of Shovels & Rope asked us to be a part of their first High Water Festival.

We played a show and it was fantastic, and we were watching them play and just sort of looked at each other and said, "We know that we can't keep being a reunion band. That's not something that we would want to do. Should we make a new album?" And right then and there at High Water Festival we decided to see what it would take to start creating again.

On how their songwriting approach changed:

A lot of the songs - well, all of the songs in the past - out of necessity had sort of developed live. We were on the road all the time, and so songs would be written, and we would perform them live. So we kind of knew them before we went into any kind of studio environment. But this time, none of us live in the same town. We had to write from afar, so we would send each other tracks, and we didn't actually learn the songs until we went into the studio. And honestly, it was a lot more fun than the old way. And in a lot of ways, I feel like the songs became even more 'us' in some ways.

On playing live with a string quartet:

Since we went to [The University of North Carolina] School of The Arts, I mean it's hard to take the art school kid out of the musician. And I think that we've always had this very orchestrated element to what we do, writing pop songs. And Jay Clifford (vocals, guitar), in fact, in the 10 years that we weren't together, became an arranger for orchestras [and] rock bands. Sparrow itself has a lot of string elements, but throughout the entire band's history we've always had a section of the year where we would go on tour with either a quartet, a quintet, or a small orchestra. So this is kind of a return to form for us, and it's always, by far, our favorite shows to do in the year because it makes things [sound] very rich. And Jay has grown so much as a composer. The parts are even more intricate, nuanced, and mature, so it's gonna be really great.

(Ed.: This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.)

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