Midnight Masses was started in the spring of 2008 by Autry Fulbright and Jason Reece shortly after the death of Autry’s father. The sudden loss compelled him to seek solace through music and travel with his friends. One of his friends was Gerrard Smith of TV on the Radio who had recently begun documenting various Brooklyn musicians in his home studio. Midnight Masses quickly grew from a bedroom project to a multi-media collective with a revolving cast of musicians, filmmakers, and visual artists with Jason Reece contributing when not occupied with ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead.
Initially inspired by “The Nicks” (Cave, Drake, Lowe, Zinner, & Stevie) the early live performances evoked a hauntingly-droning cathartic eulogy in tribute to the memory of Autry’s father, sometimes swelling to a congregation of fourteen members. After a numerous shows supporting ...Trail of Dead, Thursday, Japandroids, Islands, and many others the band released Rapture, Ready, I Gazed at the Body that combined initial influences with Gerrard’s unique production style and nods to Spiritualized & The Zombies, as well as a doo-wop cover of Sonic Youth’s Do You Believe in Rapture? This was released through Collect Records by Geoff Rickly of Thursday in partnership with Team Love a label run by Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst.
Following the Rapture, Ready EP, the band now a six-piece ensemble, planned on entering the studio for their initial full-length album entitled Departures with Gerrard Smith again at the helm. Tragically, Smith passed away before recordings could commence. During this time, the group went on an indefinite hiatus and Autry focused his energies towards writing and recording as a full-time member of ...Trail of Dead.
In 2013 Autry rekindled the project with many of his past collaborators including original members Jason Reece, Eric Rodgers, and Peter Hale along with new producers Ian Longwell of Santigold and Jamie Miller of ...Trail of Dead and The START.
The group convened at The Sonic Ranch with documentarian Hugo Vargas-Zesati and Ben Cissner to record Departures, an album that focused not just on the loss of his father or his producer/ friend Gerrard Smith but also in tribute to the nomadic life Fulbright began to lead constantly travelling and writing songs on the road while placing his father’s ashes in various parts of the world. The album stands as a tribute to loss whether it be death, love, or one’s own mind.