1211 is a collection of artists, songwriters, and performers that God brought together at Gateway Church (South Campus, in Austin, Texas), who share a love for music and a past of brokenness. What began as a weeknight life group, a platform for tackling hard questions of spiritual doubt, frustration, and healing, quickly evolved into a dynamic community of 15 singularly creative friends with a deep passion for praising God through worship.
During an evening service at Gateway in the summer of 2009, 1211 tried something radically new by inviting the whole congregation on stage with the band. Founding member and Gateway Executive Worship Pastor Ramy Antoun recalls, “There is something heavenly that takes place when musicians and singers are rejoicing to God, and I wanted our church family to get an opportunity to feel this from our perspective.” Chairs were placed on stage surrounding the worship team, and lights dimmed for a candlelit experience. The disconnect between band and congregation that is so common in modern worship was gone. Along with worship, people were invited to share stories of life change, request prayer, take communion, and share a dinner provided by local food vendors following the service. “Unplugged,” as this unique worship service is now called, has since grown into a monthly gathering of almost 1,000 people that effectively preserves the intimacy it enjoyed upon its inception.
Under Ramy’s careful production eye, 1211’s debut album, A Perfect Mess, was recorded in South Austin over an espresso-fueled three-week period in late 2010. The whirlwind sessions yielded seven stunning original tracks plus three intriguing covers, all of which touch on themes of brokenness, surrender and, ultimately, redemption. Capturing the same spirit of the band’s inspired, one-of- a-kind worship performances, A Perfect Mess reveals a heart for God and a creative streak that shows no signs of slowing.