Harry Martin is a wholesome contrarian. Not a fan of popular rap music, Harry’s bringing rollerskating and the good timing vibes of disco back into the mainstream. Crossing age and demographics, Harry’s party, Rollerwave, has gone down everywhere from Crown Heights to SOHO House to the House of Yes. With a skateable floor, the right music, and good people, Harry’s can turn venues into a 1970s time machine. Plus, the dude cuts loose on eight wheels.
CONVICTS caught up with Harry and got his word on the cardio-party synergy of rollerskating, the appeal of disco music, and the importance of catching a gentle buzz before skating.
Hey man. Can you introduce yourself to us and tell us what you do?
Hi my name is Harry Martin and the name of my party is Rollerwave.
Right on. Can you tell us a bit about Rollerwave?
The Rollerwave is a boutique style roller skating disco party. Basically, I turn venues into roller skating parties for the night.
What should one expect when they go to Rollerwave?
One can just basically expect disco, a good time roller skating, a good time partying disco and a good time drinking and hanging out.
What was the birth of Rollerwave?
Three years ago I went to my mom’s co-workers birthday party where she rented out a skating rink. At the time I thought it was a lame idea, but I went and had the time of my life. It was roller skating, it was music, it was fitness, it was everything combined.
Tell us a bit about where you grew up and where you’re from?
I’m from Crown Heights, Brooklyn. I was born and raised on President’s Street near Rogers Avenue. Empire Skating Rink was around the corner, only like five blocks away.
Do the vibes at Rollerwave shift with the venue?
When I have the party at different venues I hit different demographics. So if I’m at the House of Yes there’s a different demographic than at SOHO House. If we’re in the Meatpacking district it’s a totally different crew. The whole idea with that is just to get more people into skating in different areas. In Crown Heights I might do a hip-hop or reggae party so it’s a certain crowd. I’m just making sure I hit all the rounds, you know what I mean?
The more the merrier. What are the perfect ingredients for a Rollerwave party?
The DJs and the music and that’s basically it. The vibes you get from the music makes you go out there and skate better or make you want to do certain tricks on your skates.
Talk to me about tricks that go down at the Rollerwave.
It’s mostly stemming back to the 50’s 60’s 70’s. You might have a little bit of hustle, you might have some beat boy break dancing. It’s just a blend of different styles from over the years.
It seems like a pretty, what’s the right word? Wholesome party.
Yeah it’s a very wholesome party. The vibe I’m creating is more wholesome: I’m just getting all these cultures together all in one room to have a good time.
Disco seems to be the preferred soundtrack at Rollerwave. Why is that?
At the Rollerwave everyone is feeling disco. Even if you don’t like to listen to it at home, as soon as you get into this environment it just makes sense. It’s the essence of it. Basically it just dates back to the culture of like the 70’s. There was soul put into the record that made people want to dance and have a good time.
Do you think this party is like a throwback party or what are you trying to bring back?
The party is a throwback party in the sense where we’re all just having a good time and going out there and boogying. When you just go to a club nowadays, the music isn’t the same and everyone is just getting drunk and not really going out to have a good time. I just don’t like the music culture right now that is just pretentious hip-hop. I don’t think that people are really feeling the music.
Talk about the combination of alcohol and roller skates.
I wouldn’t get too drunk on skates because you could definitely hurt yourself. There’s no drinks spilled at the Rollerwave. I hire staff who are skate guards. They make sure no drinks are getting spilled on the floor. But you do want a little buzz just to free yourself and to start skating better on the floor.
Is it rollerskates only or can rollerbladers come?
Rollerbladers are welcome. Anything on skates except for skateboards.
Talk about the feeling of lacing into your skate?
At the Rollerwave, I feel free. Once I put on those skates and put on that music the vibe is like no other. I get into the zone. It’s like a spirit takes me over and I’m dancing on the skates. I don’t feel this anywhere else. I don’t usually dance but when I put on rollerskates I dance my ass off. You would never catch me at a club dancing.
Right on man. Thanks for the chat and best of luck with Rollerwave Harry.