PHOTOS: ’til Midnight at the Nasher with Aztec Milk Temple, Pet Taxi

A full band on stage

Aztec Milk Temple on stage at the latest installment of ’til Midnight at the Nasher. Photo: Jessica Waffles

The return of the free outdoor event ’til Midnight at the Nasher last Friday featured live music and a movie screening of Sing Street in the sculpture garden at Nasher Sculpture Center.

Guests brought blankets to sit on the grass and enjoy music by Aztec Milk Temple, Pet Taxi and Chancla Fight Club. The rock-n-roll vibe of the lineup pierced through the Summer evening, matching the vibe of the featured movie.

Two musicians on stage

Aztec Milk Temple is band leader Scott Tucker’s latest project, started in 2019. Photo: Jessica Waffles

Wooden sculptures wide shot

“Thaddeus Mosley Forest” on exhibition at Nasher Sculpture Center. Photo: Jessica Waffles

Aztec Milk Temple‘s band leader Scott Tucker took some time to chat with me about his creative journey and the latest in his musical career.

“I’ve been playing in bands since I was 15,” Tucker says. “I grew up in Arlington, but I was in Deep Ellum a lot because that’s where a lot of the music was happening. The bands actively participating in the scene were really important and inspirational to me.”

Musicians on a stage, attendees sitting on blankets on grass

Guests brought blankets to sit in the grass for ’til Midnight at the Nasher while watching Aztec Milk Temple. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A drummer on stage

Braxton Fugate from Aztec Milk Temple on drums at ’til Midnight at the Nasher. Photo: Jessica Waffles

Tucker started other bands Special Edward and The Orange, but lacking commercial success, he took a break from music for a few years. His newest project has become a vehicle for a larger philosophy and message that is more in tune with the person he is now.

“After The Orange [disbanded], I started Aztec Milk Temple because our drummer Braxton really liked the songs I was writing at the time, and I really love playing music. It felt like an important part of my life was missing.”

Two musicians on stage

Scott Tucker took off his guitar for a song, allowing for full body expression. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A group of people standing in grass

Attendees enjoying Aztec Milk Temple in the Nasher Sculpture garden. Photo: Jessica Waffles

Aztec Milk Temple played their first show in January 2019, and one year later they were signed with Idol Records in Dallas.

“I think there’s a simplicity in Aztec Milk Temple,” Tucker says. “There’s not a whole lot of overhead, not a lot of frills or fashion statements. It’s about the music. The music is about the current climate that we live in and also my own personal experiences. With things like confronting death, including the loss of my father. Confronting real-world problems like the cost of living, poverty, and taking a real hard look at the harshness that life can have.”

A musician laying on stage playing guitar

“I think there’s an honesty in Aztec Milk Temple’s music,” Scott Tucker said. “It’s thinking outside of my life. Thinking more of a collective society.” Photo: Jessica Waffles

A guitarist on stage

“We happened to find the perfect lead guitar player in Matt miller after trying out a ton [for Aztec Milk Temple],” Scott Tucker said. Photo: Jessica Waffles

“Aztec Milk Temple’s music is very much a critique of the way we’ve been taught to live, in a lot of ways; a warning of ways not to be,” Tucker said. “In my opinion, life is very short. You really don’t that until you lose someone you love and have to live through that. You look around and think, ‘There’s so much more that we can do as a society. How do we confront the world we’ve been brought up in and make it better for the next generations?'”

Tucker doesn’t claim to have answers, but stressed the importance of raising the questions.

“As a society we are obsessed with image,” Tucker says, “and obsessed with ‘progress’ like artificial intelligence or unchecked capitalism that could eventually destroy mankind. I hate that people think of themselves as a brand. I think it’s dehumanizing.”

Two musicians playing guitar and drums on stage

Aztec Milk Temple signed with Idol Records in Dallas in January 2020. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A plaster sculpture in a glass case

“The Kiss (Le Baiser)” by French artist Constantin Brancusi (1907-08). This piece was originally Brancusi’s gift to the French art critic Alexandre Mercereau. Photo: Jessica Waffles

The origin of the name Aztec Milk Temple is a nod to ancient societies, while connecting to today’s social and economic climate.

“There were rituals with people like the Aztecs that would include blood sacrifices to appease the gods,” Tucker said. “I feel like our music is a reflection of the time we live in. Though we deem those past things ‘barbaric,’ I still feel like we sacrifice ourselves to the ‘gods of today.’ Those figurative gods are corporate America, international companies, and basically entities that don’t really give an [expletive] about us.”

A woman speaking into a microphone

Veronica Young hosted ’til Midnight in the Nasher,rocking local artist Jake Quillin swag. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A full band on stage

Pet Taxi closed out the night at ’til Midnight at the Nasher. Photo: Jessica Waffles

Aztec Milk Temple’s upcoming record deals with all of these topics, as well as the loneliness that comes with chasing artificial pleasures.

“There have been times in my life when I was extremely materialistic as a means of running away or escaping something. It’s a really easy way to be,” Tucker said. “But humans need more than that. They need conversation, they need love, they need life. Basing a life on materialism is basically wasting your life.”

A musician on stage playing guitar and singing

Alex Owens from Pet Taxi closing out ’til Midnight at the Nasher. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A painted and printed tin-plated steel sculpture

A 1958 piece made by American artist John Chamberlain on display at Nasher Sculpture Center. Photo: Jessica Waffles

Their upcoming album The Winner Takes All has been in production at Reeltime Audio in Denton with Eric Delegard and will continue at The Bubble in Austin with Chris “Frenchie” Smith. It’s expected to release by the end of the year.

“In America, we have these false ideas of people either winning or losing, and it’s a very wrong way to look at life,” Tucker says. “Because every experience a person has, whether you have a good outcome or a bad outcome is just a part of living your life and being a human. So [the album title] is sarcastic.”

A wide shot of musicians on a stage and people sitting on blankets on grass

Guests enjoying Pet Taxi before the screening of Sing Street. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A guitarist on stage

Jake Bateman on stage with Pet Taxi at the Nasher Sculpture Center. Photo: Jessica Waffles

“One of the reasons the record has taken so long to finish is that both Braxton and I lost our fathers after we signed [to Idol Records] in 2020,” Tucker said. “We were also in the midst of COVID. We released the single, then everything got delayed.”

In addition to creating with his new band, Tucker is also working at Deep Ellum 100 as media director.

“Being able to have the privilege to help with that project has inspired me to take a look at my own work and be appreciative of the opportunities to share our message,” Tucker said. “What Gianna [Madrini] is doing for the city is rare and unheard of. I’m thankful to be a part of it.”

A full band on stage

Pet Taxi’s most recent single “Witch of Montreal” came out in late 2022. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A large sculpture with tires on each side

A piece at the Nasher Sculpture Center called “Love Makes the World Go Round,” 1962-63. Photo: Jessica Waffles

Upcoming dates for more ’til Midnight at the Nasher are August 18, September 15 and October 20.

Find more information for events at Nasher Sculpture Center on their website.

A musician on stage playing a guitar

James Wilson on stage at ’til Midnight at the Nasher as part of Pet Taxi. Photo: Jessica Waffles

A full band on stage

’til Midnight at the Nasher is a free event open to the public that gives visitors a chance to check out local music, exhibited art and a movie screening. Photo: Jessica Waffles

Jessica Waffles is a freelance photographer/videographer and regular contributor to KXT. 

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