The image of roller skating rinks brings about dizzy memories of childhood, countless movie scenes and retro romance; wherever your nostalgia lands is where Ward and Sober want to take you. Roller Boogie will take place at 10.30 p.m. Saturday, July 31, at Interskate Roller Rink in Lewisville. The party is hosted by 88 Killa and will swing until 2 a.m.
Ward and Sober, who are two of Dallas’ most popular DJs and event producers, will spin tunes from the 1970s up to the 2000s.
“We both grew up going to skating rinks so there is a lot of nostalgia in this one,” Ward says.
The DJs say they'd dreamt of throwing a roller disco party for years and after a lot of roller skating around local rinks, they found the perfect spot.
"It's a really beautiful rink," Sober says. "I mean, it's like a time warp. They really did a good job keeping it up. Everything just feels like you took a step back in time. They have great neon signs ... it's super cool. The lighting, too, is all old school, it's not like LEDs. So I'm really, really excited about the aesthetic of the place."
Sober used to go to Interskate as a child, because his cousins lived down the street.
"So it was pretty crazy stepping foot back in there after so many years and the same dude has owned it all this time," he says.
Tickets for Roller Boogie are $30, and the price includes the rental of skates and drink tickets, though the drinking time will be spaced out to avoid face plants on the rink.
The two have worked together numerous times over the years, even in the last one. Sober says that during the pandemic, when he stuck to online DJing with singer Sudie and took up a lawn-mowing business, Ward reached out to him and others to invite them to use his studio for livestreaming.
"He was very good at helping other DJs out and hosting people like Sudie and I," Sober says of Ward. "He had all the tricked-out gear. He set it all up where he had multiple camera angles, but I thought he was really good at just letting people come through there, whether it was Christy [Ray, a DJ] or whoever, to livestream from his house. He never asked us for anything and was just like, 'Oh, I want to help you guys out, and I have the gear.'"
Sober says the two connected in particular through the pandemic and came up with a list of events to put together whenever parties became safe again, including Roller Boogie and a two-night Disco Ball they threw at the Reunion Tower in May, to make up for the underwhelming New Year's celebrations.
Ward is the indisputable king of themed parties, and his crowd consistently shows up dressed up according to the motif — whether it's Wes Anderson, Mad Men or Euphoria — and contributes to the ambiance by following the suggested dress code with the commitment of cosplayers.
"He's pretty good at that," Sober says of Ward. "I feel like Blake's done a lot of themed parties over the years and had great success, and I feel like that's something that his crowd, in particular, looks forward to. I think that's it's like a break from the norm. ... Anybody can just like walk out of their house and go to a bar, but if you know that at this party there's a specific type of music and there's a theme and the whole feel is going to be based around [it], you want to, like, show out and show off."
"I have a running list of things that inspire me and I think would be fun," Ward says. "I mostly just do things I am personally interested in. For this one, The Roller Skating party Sober’s old crew 'The Party' threw a long time ago was on my mind. I had so much fun attending and I wanted to throw one with him. I’ve been asking him for a few years!"
"The vibe is all based on the nostalgia of being a kid and going to the skating rink, so dress in your favorite skating look from whatever era you think of when you skate." – Blake Ward
Roller Boogie doesn't have a particular dress code. The DJs deliberately left it up to each attendee to find their own vibe, so if roller skating brings to mind the chorus of "Brand New Key" or the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever, to each their own inspiration.
"The vibe is all based on the nostalgia of being a kid and going to the skating rink, so dress in your favorite skating look from whatever era you think of when you skate," Ward says.
"Since we're kind of going through all of these different areas of music I just left it open to kind of pick your favorite," Sober says. "Like, if you want to dress '70s, '80s or '90s, go for it. I'm probably going to go '90s myself.
During the pandemic, Sober says, he noticed several friends getting back into the social distance-friendly art of roller skating.
"I know so many people personally that bought skates during the last year," he says. "That goes with anything with wheels, like bike shops couldn’t keep bikes on the shelf. My friend reps a skateboard company and, like, everything was just such so in-demand 'cause people had nothing else to do."
In addition to trading off DJing duties an hour at a time and splitting up the tasks involved in organizing and promoting events, Sober says joining forces with Ward means a merrier turnout.
"That's a plus," Sober says. "I mean, we both have, I think that we have some crossover, and then we both have our own crowds."
Sober says they're considering making Roller Boogie a quarterly event. When parties started happening again, his schedule filled again with all the corporate events, weddings and other parties that were delayed, and he has a new monthly residence in Austin.
He's no longer offering lawn mowing services.
"Only for some homies in the neighborhood," he says.