By Werner Caspar
I must have impressed Stryker and Sapphire with my mad swagging skills during our last interview because shortly after, I was invited to the Millennium music video shoot to watch them in action. Swagging, I learned, is pimp walking with a swagger and is a heavily used theme in the video for their debut single ‘When We Walk in the Place’, a slightly narcissistic dance song about the importance of embracing one’s own personal style. This was going to be a two-day video shoot and they had a lot on the agenda.
Day One: The first day of the shoot was set in an intimate Hollywood club where roughly a hundred crew and cast members gathered shortly after sunrise. In the midst of all the commotion, it felt like being at a casting call for Moulin Rouge. This outlandish circus included a black opera carriage driven by a rather buxom brunette on a sleek motorcycle, a gold-suited pimp, an Asian dominatrix with her muscular man-slaves, an alien, a toddler with her bottle, a drummer boy, an astonishingly rotund woman, Iron Man and more. Wave after wave of extras filed in and while helping themselves to coffee, were met by an affable and efficient woman with a clipboard who quickly signed them in as club dancer, VIP patron, skeleton gang, etc. I swear to you that the pizza we ate during lunch break did not have any special mushrooms in it and this was all actually happening.
The gold-suited pimp was Stryker, who brandished a leopard print cane and matching leopard print shoes. His pimp hat precariously held a three-foot long black feather that poked everyone in the eyes every time he turned around. The Asian dominatrix was none other than the blue-haired Sapphire dressed in a black leather dress and gloves. Her ‘pets’ were scripted as two male models whom she kept close by her side in spiked collars and heavy chained leashes. Earlier that day, we discovered that the two burly Olympians that she had previously auditioned had cancelled at the last possible minute. Upon learning this, the woman with the clipboard began sizing up the current pool of men to see who could play the part. Strangely, I was not even in the running. In the end, it was the drummer and one of the camera men who were chosen, de-shirted, oiled up and collared. A second later, I saw the anxious camera man fervently doing pushups in the corner as a last ditch effort to beef up his pecks. Meanwhile, Stryker and Sapphire took the matter in stride- literally. They were relentlessly swagging to the beat of the music. When asked why all the practice, Stryker looked at me with a sober expression, ‘I’ve got goldfish in my shoes, bro.’ Point taken.
The crew and the actors took their places and the cameras began to roll. Scene after scene unfolded and needless to say there was a lot of swagging and a lot of dancing. It was not even noon and the set looked like a very happening nightclub. After a quick costume change, they shot a performance scene of Stryker and Sapphire on stage. He was still dressed as a pimp, but this time in red velvet with zebra print and an oversized wide-rimmed hat. She was dressed in silver sequins with shiny silver tennis shoes. Suddenly, they broke into an extremely cheesy 70’s dance routine and the crowd went wild with laughter (think Saturday Night Fever meets Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Air). After ninety minutes of filming the performance scene, the duo was still on stage having the time of their lives. Judging by the liquor flowing on set, so were the cast and crew.
The rest of the day proceeded smoothly as they filmed one VIP table scene after another, each having its own unique set of characters including the Blues Brothers, LA gangsters, Virgil Farley and his entourage. Virgil was the original pimp who, despite his notoriety in the 1980’s, was widely respected by both cons and cops alike. The table that received the most attention had a petite blond with the word ‘Millennium’ painted across her otherwise pristine body from her voluptuous chest all the way down to her thighs, compliments of body artist Lasco. At the end of the day, approximately fourteen hours after gathering the cast and crew together, the set was now littered with coffee cups, half-eaten danishes, pizza crusts and upside down shot glasses. The crew began to break down their gear, and people began exchanging numbers, Instagraming photos of themselves and each other, and saying their farewells. Everyone was utterly exhausted, except for Milennium who appeared even more energetic than ever as they eagerly talked about the upcoming shoot the next day.
Day Two: Millennium and crew were now going mobile and virtually every scene would consist of Stryker and Sapphire swagging around town. The game plan was a bit fluid. When a particular location struck their collective fancy, Millennium and crew would hop out of their vehicles and film a scene. For example, if Sapphire needed a peppermint mocha, off we went to the nearest coffee shop to film Millennium swagging with their coffee and newspaper in hand. They visited a vintage record store, picked up their dry cleaning, and came out of a drugstore with what looked like a pack of Magnum condoms (we won’t ask). After driving all over town, the crew nonchalantly decided to film a scene of Millennium pumping gas, in a pretty scandalous manner I might add. I may never look at a pump the same way again. Needless to say, wherever they walked they drew attention, stopped traffic, and were approached by onlookers. When a crowd gathered in one location, Millennium took time out to give swagging lessons and the crew obliged by filming these Los Angeles residents strutting their stuff.
After a long day of filming around LA, we headed back to the studio just before sunset. It was a wrap! Everyone began to relax and talk about dinner options. Sapphire removed her thigh high boots and gave a sigh of relief. Stryker, on the other hand, sat pensive, deep in thought. Just as someone was about to make a run for burritos and burgers, Stryker said in a steady voice, ‘We need a shot on Hollywood Boulevard.’ After a brief period of stunned silence, protest erupted on all sides. But after thirty minutes, Stryker convinced the group that it would be the perfect scene for the climax of the song. As we filmed the final scene of Millennium belting out their last line of ‘When We Walk in the Place’ right in the thick of Hollywood Boulevard, an onlooker cried out, ‘Aw hell no! He got the goldfish shoes!’ Yes, the better to swag with, bro. Everyone smiled knowing that indeed it was the perfect ending to one amazing and crazy ride.
The music video for ‘When We Walk In The Place’ is now live at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNNPbub7ZO4
You can learn more about Millennium and what they’ve got in the works at www.WhoIsMillennium.com