Johnny “Juice” Rosado : Emmy Nominated Composer/Producer/Turntablist/Engineer
Longtime Blue Sky Aficionado Mixes It Up On Numerous Music/Film Projects
DJ Johnny “Juice” Rosado was raised in the Bronx projects and witnessed the birth of Hip-Hop from his doorstep. He took a shine to the turntables and taking the lead from the pioneering visionaries that came before him—from Grandmixer DXT to Jam Master Jay—fashioned a career as a sought-after turntablist and later engineer and producer. He connected with Public Enemy and Chuck D in 1987, and served as the DJ on the band’s epic Yo! Bum Rush the Show and It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back before taking a six-year detour in the Navy at a top-secret submarine base in California.
His work over the past two decades, especially with the first two Public Enemy albums, is forever embedded into Hip-Hop history. As a producer/composer/arranger/musician/engineer/consultant as well as turntablist, B-boy, graf writer and MC, he’s been inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, and nominated for an Sports Emmy Award for “Outstanding Music Composition/Lyrics” for his work on the ESPN documentary, “Ali Rap”. At any given time, Juice is juggling myriad projects in various stages of completion—from scoring films and commercial spots, to mixing and producing recordings for artists ranging from up ’n’ comers to established artists… And then there’s that debut solo album that just never gets done…
Tell me a little bit about your studio? What is your primary focus/clientele?
My studio is called the “Terrordome” and is located in Long Island, NY. It is a Cakewalk Sonar/PC-based facility even though I do have Pro Tools M-Powered as well as Cubase available running on a Rain Recording ION PC. My main interfaces are Roland/Cakewalk’s Sonar V-Studio 700 system as well as an M-Audio Firewire 2626. I have multiple mic pre’s, from M-Audio’s Tampa and Octane Pre’s to Toft’s EC-1, Joe Meek mic pre’s, and an API Lunchbox with some pretty good stuff inside! I have a pretty decent mic cabinet with everything from the standard SM-57′s, Audix Drum Mics, EV, Samson, and Shure Dynamic mics, and M-Audio Sputniks, Rode NTK, NT1000, and BLUE Baby Bottle and Bluebird mics. Of course, there are turntables, and external keyboards and drum machines for that old school Hip-Hop sound.
My monitor system is anchored by Blue Sky’s Sat 8′s and a Sub 212. They’re just perfect for the size of my control room.
The primary focus of The Terrordome is recording and mixing projects for Public Enemy as well as groups for Chuck D’s online record label, SLAMJamz. It is also my personal studio that I use for all of the projects that I either produce, compose, or record and mix. Lately however, I’ve been doing a lot of live recording, rock bands specifically.
You’ve been a longtime Blue Sky user and I’m curious what led you to them initially, and what qualities do they possess that work well for you?
Blue Sky monitors came very well recommended. They have excellent reviews and they sound phenomenal. They are extremely accurate and they also kick! Their price-to-performance ratio is out of this world! You’d have to pay at least double to get anything comparable.
How does the Blue Sky system integrate with the other gear that in your room?
I use Cakewalk’s Sonar and I often find myself using their Spectrum Analyzer to see if I’m hearing what I’m hearing. It is ridiculous how accurate these monitors are. They have helped my mixes immensely and I have experienced an influx of mix work as a result.
How important are monitors in the grand scheme of things for the kind of production that you do?
Monitors are EXTREMELY important in the grand scheme of things. If you can’t hear your mixes properly, they will not translate well. Since a lot of the music that I record and mix at the Terrordome is bass-heavy, I find the sub-woofer to be invaluable. Many traditional 2-way monitor systems lack the low-end reproduction to accurately ascertain where your bass is sitting in the mix. With the Sub 212, I don’t have that problem. Since they are 3-way monitors, the SAT 8′s also do a tremendous job of reproducing the frequencies that are often missing in 2-way systems. You sometimes get a “scooped out” sound when monitoring on 2-way systems. The SAT 8′s do a great job of filling the sweet spot with accurate sound information.
Are you using Blues Sky’s Bass Management?
I am currently not using Blue Sky’s Bass Management but I am considering upgrading as I am in the process of reconstructing the physical layout of my studio as well as finishing up the “B” Room here at the Terrordome.
What projects are you currently working on? Anything noteworthy coming up this year?
I’ve just finished up a new solo Mistachuck (Chuck D) album, as well as produced and recorded a Haiti Relief album in a weekend… Yes, a weekend! We just put the finishing touches on the Public Enemy box set to be released this year. I am producing, engineering, and co-hosting a radio show (recorded at the Terrordome and aired on WBAI NY) weekly. Since the beginning of the year, I have produced about 10 albums. Just recently, I finished co-scoring (along with legends Herbie Hancock and Wynton Marsalis) the documentary film, “On The Shoulders Of Giants”, produced by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and based on his book of the same name. It tells the tale of the first All-Black professional basketball team, the Harlem Rens. Since the Rens played during the late ’30s and ’40s, most of the music has a Harlem Renaissance sound. Very jazzy.
Also, coming up this year, is a new Son of Bazerk album. They’re a classic Hip-Hop group from the 90′s. I have 2 artists I am releasing myself, plus a sophomore album from my group, X-Vandals’. I’m also working on albums for Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Arabic singer/rapper Shadia Mansour, a gospel album with saxophonist Jeff Sheloff, an R&B album with singer Kyle Jason, and I am finally working on my upcoming solo album… I’m sure I left some stuff out but you get the idea!