Definitive Records asks interesting Vancouverites to sift through their memories and pull out the three albums that anchor their musical tastes.
We asked Rolla Skate Club‘s Carla Smith (aka “Booty Quake”) to dig deep and choose the three records that get her rockin’ and rollin’ on and off the rink. But first, she tells us a bit more about the motive that keeps her in motion…
“Rollerskating in North America has a rich history, heavily influenced by music, although it has often been divided along gender and racial lines, as seen in the upcoming film United Skates [which is screening at this year’s VIFF].
“In contrast to the mainly male, mainly African-American jam battle scene at roller rinks across the USA, the usual stock image for “rollerskater” tends to look white, female, and fetishized, as in the disco-era icons from Xanadu and the “Rollergirl” character in Boogie Nights.
“But a modern era of stronger and more diverse female rollerskating representation is emerging – see Ellen Page being her own hero in “Whip It,” Beyonce’s “Blow” video, and the three powerful skaters skating entrancingly down a highway at night in the video for Chet Faker’s “Gold.”
“At Rolla Skate Club we’re building an empowered community of bad-ass women on wheels. We want people to know that rollerskating isn’t simply a throwback to the disco era. It’s for all bodies, and it can be modern, tough, and very cool.”
Le Tigre – Le Tigre | LISTEN
“The first song on this album, Deceptacon, is in heavy rotation on the playlists for our Rolla Workout classes. It’s the perfect track to get loud and rock out to, all synthy guitars and girl-punk choruses shouted in unison. When I want to lift heavy things in the gym and take no prisoners, it’s the perfect beat, and the ultimate “no one’s gonna get in my way” vibe. In “Hot Topic,” band members list off names of feminist icons, sometimes sung and sometimes just shouted from the back of the recording studio – from Sleater Kinney to Billie Jean King to Nina Simone. One day when we open our first permanent Rolla Skate Club location, we’re planning to create a “Wonder Woman Wall” where we honour all the bad-ass women who stood up before us, so that our stand today could be easier.”
Nina Simone – The Blues | LISTEN
“I don’t know why I bought this album. I was in high school, and found it while idly rifling through the Jazz section at A&B Sound in Victoria. I had never heard of Nina Simone, but I brought that CD home, put it in my DiscMan, and was forever transformed by her haunted voice. From my cocoon of adolescent suburban life on Vancouver Island at the time, I really didn’t have a grasp on the struggles that Nina’s music reflected. It wasn’t until much later that I came to understand her impact on the Civil Rights movement, as well as the career challenges she faced as a Black female singer coming up in the sixties. It’s terrible music for rollerskating, but when it’s a rainy day and we’re doing skate maintenance on board our Rolla Skate Truck, you can count on hearing a few songs from this record in the mix. The depth of her voice is something you can really sink your teeth into.”
Jungle – Jungle | LISTEN
“A lot of roller rinks seem stuck in another era – they’ve all got that same “galaxy” carpet, and play the same disco tracks every night (if I have to hear “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire one more time, I swear…). Nevertheless, you just can’t argue the fact that a good disco or Motown beat truly is the perfect tempo for skating. That’s why Jungle tops my list: their music’s got a modern groove, so you can roll-bounce without feeling the need to pull out your full Saturday Night Fever getup. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good theme party, and we’ve brought our classic rental skates to quite a few! But I also like to just be me and skate like it’s the twenty-teens. If you really need a costume to skate in, you and a friend can just put on matching green Adidas track suits and try to replicate the smooth jam skating on display in the video for “The Heat.””