Juliana Hatfield and Nada Surf frontman Matthew Caws go way back — they met in the early Nineties at some Nada Surf shows — and have stayed friendly through the years, contributing vocals to each other's songs, like Hatfield's "Such a Beautiful Girl" and the Nada Surf B-side "I Wanna Take You Home."
Now their musical relationship is going official: The two have started a new band called Minor Alps that will release its debut album, Get There, on October 29th.
"We eventually asked each other to sing harmonies on songs on each other’s records," Caws told Paste of their early friendship. "Over the last few years, we've taken turns suggesting we do something together. The timing was right for both of us this year, so away we went."
Minor Alps were inspired by Caws' description of Mont Ventoux, a mountain that stood near his parents' cottage in France where he spent many summers as a youth. Though part of the Alps, Mont Ventoux stands without surrounding mountains and often isn't recognized as part of the range. Caws was chatting with photographer Autumn De Wilde, and out came Minor Alps. The music, meanwhile, fell right into place.
"From the first session singing on one of [Hatfield's] songs, I had a great feeling in the studio, like we were speaking the same language," Caws told Paste. "Her melodies have always seemed familiar to me, as if our ancestors came from the same town."
Caws and Hatfield shared co-writing credits and vocal duties on Get There, and handled every instrument outside of drums and programming. For those roles, the duo brought in Parker Kindred and Chris Egan, and they mostly recorded with Caws' childhood friend Tom Beaujour in Hoboken, New Jersey.
"Juliana and I have have exactly the same role, there are no divided specialties," Caws said. And Hatfield added that their vocal blend is extremely special. "In certain ranges, the tones of our voices are so similar I can’t tell which is which," she said. "I haven’t experienced that with any other singer."