Johnny “Juice” Rosado | Public Enemy’s ‘Rebel Without A Pause’
[ 11th January 2007 - 2:56:46 PM ] Blue Sky User Profile
By Diane Gershuny
Public Enemy’s Johnny "Juice" Rosado is the ‘man behind the curtain’, similar to that of the Wizard in the fabled tale of Oz. He’s a tireless dynamo, holding forth from his Long Island locale, twisting the knobs and spearheading the band’s digital domain—often without a break or much sleep to speak of.
The producer/engineer/turntablist and longtime PE collaborator has worked on and off with Chuck D. and PE for the past 20 years, as a DJ on two of the band’s early and influential recordings, including the epic Yo! Bum Rush the Show and It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back from ’87 and ’88 respectively. In more recent years, he’s managed the production of some of PE’s newest recordings such as 2005’s New Whirl Odor and Beats And Places, and last year’s Bring That Beat Back. His band, the baNNed, has been opening shows for PE on this last round of U.S. dates. Recently, he upgraded the studio’s monitoring system to Blue Sky’s Big Blue 2.1 system—with rave reviews from band and Chuck D. alike.
Juice was born in New York City and raised up in the Bronx, and got his start as a break dancer/graffiti artist. He started DJing after moving to Long Island in the mid '80's. “As a high school student, I attended a DJ/MC battle held by Chuck, along with my rap group at the time. The premise was that the winners would be given a record deal. I won the DJ portion of the contest. My two friends weren't as fortunate. As luck would have it, a couple of the friends would later join the fold and be renamed by Chuck himself—including ‘Busta Rhymes’. They were put together under the name Leaders of the New School. I however, headed a group called The Kings of Pressure. We recorded for Next Plateau Records. I also joined the production unit that would later be named The Bomb Squad.” Several years later, he went on to contribute on legendary Long Island college radio shows such as WBAU and WRHU, and later, worked with seminal hip-hop groups including the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, and Slick Rick, in addition to Public Enemy.
PE’s modest but highly functional studio is situated in what is essentially a converted garage that sits on the property of the house that Chuck grew up in. It has a vocal booth, live room/rehearsal space, and a control room. “We can record virtually anything there,” says Juice. Some recent projects include the “Beats and Places” album, the baNNed's “baNNed For Life” album, the score and theme song for ESPN's "Ali Rap", songs for Darryl "DMC" McDaniel's upcoming solo album, and some compositions for the upcoming Christmas movie "Feliz Navidad."
He first took notice of Blue Sky’s monitor based on positive feedback he’d heard from some video and movie directors that he’d worked with. “They were using the ProDesk systems to monitor their movies in surround. After some initial research I discovered that they’d received rave reviews, especially the Sky System One. So I had to check them out.”
Juice was extremely pleased with the Big Blue 2.1 system once it was installed in his studio. “They are incredible!” he offers. “Since I do a lot of hip-hop, having a subwoofer is a necessity. The system has plenty of power. I mix almost totally in the box on a custom rack-mounted PC running Cakewalk's Sonar 6. My mixing board of choice is the Tascam FW-1884 with 2 FE-8 expanders housed in an Argosy Console enclosure. The Big Blue's come out of my Mackie Big Knob. The Big Blue’s are extremely accurate. That is important to me because my mixes have to translate well. I can trust that I'm hearing the truth when I am monitoring through the Big Blue's. I have used monitors whose weaknesses I've had to compensate for. I've always been uncomfortable doing that because I never knew what I was getting without having to go to 4 or 5 alternate sources to monitor. I am now extremely confident in the sound that leaves my studio.”
And apparently, Chuck is pleased with the sound, as well. “Chuck is normally uninterested in the technology. As long as it sounds good, he's happy. That being said, when he walked in the studio and heard the ‘Ali’ theme being played through them for the first time, his eyes widened and all he could say was, ‘Wow.’
In the big picture of what he’s doing, we asked: ‘How important are the monitors?’ “The monitors are the last link in the audio chain. They are the link between the audio chain and my ears. They have to give me an uncolored, unaffected sound. This is paramount. Their importance cannot be overstated. It is essential to have an accurate image of your audio in order to make the proper decisions regarding your music.”
Check him out on the web at: