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
Aside Posted on
It makes me deeply sad to hear about couples breaking up a year or two after having a child. I stop to wonder what could have possibly gone wrong to break up a beautiful new family, filled with hope and promise. Perhaps I am a hopeless romantic when it comes to love and family. To find someone to love and to create another human being together should be a strong and transcendental bond right? So why is it that shortly after the baby’s first birthday, so often we find out that the new parents are having marital problems. I understand that it is not easy having a child, but to deem the relationship (and the family) over after a few tough months? It seems all too rash. Did they have marital trouble before she became pregnant and were hoping that a baby could bring them closer together? Or were the added responsibilities of having a child just too much for them? My eyes start to moisten when I try to imagine what the baby went through during his first few months in this world as his parents’ relationship quickly unraveled. The arguments, the raised voices, the tension- all arising from his or her sole trusted guardians – must be horribly traumatic. I also feel sorry for the parents as well. The mother has gone through so many physical and emotional changes from being pregnant, to delivery, to breastfeeding and taking care of an infant. And the father’s life has changed drastically as well. But still, what about the undeniably positive aspects of bringing a new life into this world? Why is it a joy for some and such turmoil for others to be with one’s family day after day?
What I find especially intriguing are celebrity couples who split up shortly after entering parenthood. Perhaps this is because we are privy to all of the positive and lurid details courtesy of the media. Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr, J-Lo and Marc Anthony, Christina Aguilera and her ex, Hillary Duff and her ex, just to name a few. I have not met these people personally, nor do I know what they went through as a couple. In fact, I do not know if they ever even loved each other. What I do know is that they have thousands of dollars to spend on home chefs, maids, assistants and child care professionals each month to make their lives infinitely easier and they still couldn’t make it work! So what hope is there for the rest of us? The emerging message is that money does not make things easier or better. So what do families need? You probably answered with the word ‘love’ and you would be correct. Second question: What do you need to do to show, nurture and grow love? It is not through expensive trips, jewelry or the latest toys for the baby. Like love, it is something that money cannot buy. It’s your time. Family requires your presence, not your presents.
I don’t understand the term burden, sacrifice or duty when one is referring to family. These are such strong negative words to describe what should be acts of love. ‘I sacrificed my job/promotion to spend time with my child.’ ‘It is part of my duty to be a good husband/wife.’ Whatever you do for your family should be done with love and a sense of privilege. To have a family is a blessing. Think of all of the single people out there wishing for love or couples out there who cannot have children, or worse, have lost their children? One shouldn’t have to be reminded that family, not career, should be the number one priority. If you felt gratitude and appreciation for your family, you would instinctively display your love for them every single day and weather the difficult times together.
I came across a touching story about a young couple named Stryker and Sapphire. They had met at work, fallen in love and gotten married. They wanted to have children, but had trouble conceiving. She saw doctors in Los Angeles, took many tests, experimented with different technologies, tried hormone creams and even saw a fertility specialist abroad. By then, they had all but given up. After five years, completely out of the blue, she became pregnant naturally and they were overjoyed. The pregnancy however, was not without some risk. The doctor had ordered her on bed rest for a couple of months and the baby arrived six weeks earlier than expected. Fortunately, their daughter Milan was born healthy and is now a beautiful two-and-a-half year old. Sapphire and Stryker are both singer/musicians in a group called Millennium and they both feel fortunate that they can work from home and spend all of their time together as a family. According to Sapphire, ‘I feel so blessed that we were able to have a child. Milan is a beautiful light in my life and my husband is my rock. I know that together, we can overcome any obstacles.’
‘Any split with children involved is a disaster, whether you’re in the public eye or not,’ says Stryker, the youngest in a family of three that was torn apart by divorce at a very young age. ‘My experience taught me one thing: Parents must give as much priority to each other as they do to their children – perhaps, even more. Because it is only through their example that a child can truly learn how to cherish, love and stand up for another human being.’
Although some of us may not be able to integrate our personal and work lives as closely as this family, there are ways to deconstruct and rethink your life so that you can spend more quality time with your family. I went to a dinner party a few weeks ago and met a woman name Julianne with an adorable, bright-eyed three month old baby boy. Through the course of the night, she informed me that her husband worked hard and traveled so frequently for business that the baby would always cry when he was home and would try to hold him. Most people know that fifty percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce. What cannot be accurately measured is the percentage of couples who are separated or remain miserable in their current relationships. Although this paints a grim picture, I believe this trend could be reversed with a conscious change in priorities, putting our families at the top of the list. Some of the choices that could easily improve the quality of our family life are listed below. Ask yourself honestly: – Do I work over-time? If yes, you’re probably not giving your family the priority they deserve. Ask your employer about capping your hours at a normal eight hour workday. Also inquire if flex time is an option.
– Do I frequently travel alone for work? If yes, you may be inviting in a host of marital and family issues by being away for extended periods of time. Bring your family along on the next trip or speak with your boss about sending one of your colleagues on instead.
– Do I spend more than thirty minutes one-way getting to and from work? A long commute coupled with long work hours will sap energy that should be reserved for family. Consider moving closer to work or finding a job that is closer to home. Although moving or switching jobs is a big decision, it may be well worth it in the long run if it saves your family.
– Is work too demanding or am I unhappy at work? Consider starting your own business doing something you love. You can then make your own hours and spend more time with family, have them visit you at the office or even have the luxury of working from home.
– Do I check in with my spouse often during the day? Communicate with your spouse often to see how they are feeling. Frequent communication will not only brighten their day but keep your bond strong.
– Do I plan and look forward to taking my spouse out for private, romantic engagements once or twice a week? Couples time during the week is needed to remind you both of your love and the commitment to one another that goes beyond parenting.
– When I am home, do I often check messages or emails? If so, learn to put away the phone for the evening and devote one hundred percent of your attention to your spouse and child. Have dinner together and talk to one another. After dinner, avoid the television and do something engaging or relaxing as a family.
-When I am home, do I allow my child to spend hours in front of the television, on the phone or i-pad? Next time, instead of placing a technological device in front of them, try playing with them, reading them stories and talking to them to develop a greater bond with your child.
Most importantly, remember that your life and the outcome of your family relationships are under your control and are governed by the choices you make along the way. Choose wisely.
The pop rock duo from Los Angeles who call themselves Millennium have gained enviable momentum in the past few months, following the release of their first single ‘When We Walk In The Place’. Their song garnered The Akademia Music Award for Best Dance Song, was picked up by KMIX Radio Los Angeles and has gotten the fashion-forward duo numerous write-ups in the press. So what’s next? Well, for a group that differentiates itself on the basis of being real musicians who actually write all of their own music, the logical next step is to compete in (and hopefully win) the pre-eminent live performance contest of the year: Hard Rock Rising Global Battle of the Bands.
There is also a personal reason for entering this fiercely competitive contest where thousands of musical acts compete at 82 venue locations worldwide to determine who will go to the global showdown. For Italian-Indian singer Stryker, it can be summed up in one word: Rome. Going to Rome, Italy to compete against the world’s top acts would represent a lifelong dream- bringing their music back home after two generations abroad. Sapphire, who also regards Rome as one of her favorite places on earth, admits to a special feeling when in the eternal city. Both feel an undeniable connection to the culture of Rome and hope to be able to test their mettle in this modern day gladiatorial challenge in front of 40,000 people.
Like the gladiators of old, Millennium is following an intense regimen of rehearsals, gym workouts, yoga and martial arts to elevate their mind and body to the level necessary to go head-to-head with the pros. They embrace the philosophy that battles must first be won in the mind before they can ever be won in the battlefield. They are also very zen-like about the outcome, recognizing that whatever happens in the competition ahead, the true value of it lies in the journey and the lessons they stand to learn along the way.
Want to help Millennium achieve this lifelong dream? Simply click below to vote for them by downloading their free song clip. One minute of your time is all it will take to show support for this talented duo and to help lift them to the final competition.