When Jump, Little Children reunited two years ago after a decade apart, the band could have never known that by 2017, they'd be touring again, writing new songs, and eyeing the creation of a brand new album. The vision of a future for Jump came to them during the spring's inaugural, Shovels & Rope-curated High Water Festival, where the band reunited for one more performance.
"That was the day that we turned to each other and said, 'Well, gosh, maybe we should write some songs, maybe we should think about making an album'," says multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Matt Bivins. "So that was a big day for us. We were watching Cary Ann and Michael on stage and we said, 'I think we can really do this, because we really like it.'"
Fast-forward a few months. Following a few stops at venues around the southeast during the fall, the boys are back in town and gearing up for three consecutive Charleston performances this weekend. And, if you're lucky, you'll hear the debut of two new tracks written by frontman/guitarist Jay Clifford. The Chicago-based Bivins brothers — Matt and (percussionist) Evan — have shared songwriting duties, too, in preparation for an album, and Matt says they're all leaning toward sounds (synths, electronic drums) and subject matter we've yet to see from the band.
For one, Clifford's vocal style is quieter, more ethereal. Two, a new sound is only natural considering the amount of time they've spent apart.
"There's one of Jay's [songs] we're going to do that I've had in my head for two years, and it's different," Matt says. "I think the songs are going to be different, but I also really like that that's going to be allowed, given the fact that we've all done completely different things for the last 10 years. I like that a lot. I've been influenced by different people and listened to different kinds of music and been excited about different kinds of things."
And the content isn't about love lost this time around, since the guys are all happily married now, some with kids.
"So far, the songs are kind of like reactions that are a little bit more political: What is the world becoming? Is where we are with the internet a really great thing? What is it about that everyone is always on their phones — how is that going to change things?," Matt says. "I'm not someone who's all doom and gloom; I'm not a dystopian future kind of guy in my beliefs, but it is fun imagining where we're headed."
For starters, Jump, Little Children is headed to the Woolfe Street Playhouse on Friday before wrapping up the weekend (and 2017) with a two-night stand at the Charleston Music Hall with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Local singer-songwriter Katie Rose opens the New Year's Eve show. As for Woolfe Street, you can expect a few special guests for the super intimate performance. "This is like storefront theater, which is what I've been doing for the past 10 years," Matt says. "It's like a rehearsal for us — there won't be a huge difference in setlists but it's going to be so loose, I'm thinking pajama party."