LRS Recording, Inc produces a different kind of studio sound

By Maureen Morrissey

Upon walking into LRS Recording, Inc.,located in the Chicago Loop, your eyes are drawn to a glass window which reveals a hanging microphone. One immediately imagines a singer belting out a tune or a band jamming to their latest single. This studio, however, is used for producing a different kind of sound.

LRS is a “professional audio and audio for video production and recording company for industrial, commercial, and private music production,” commented Mark Ohlsen, president of LRS and an NIU graduate.

LRS does such things as recording jingles and voice overs for commercials, voice overs for training and other corporate films, as well as writing, recording, and producing original music for all types of film and video.

LRS was started in 1983 by Ohlsen, who is a professional musician, composer/arranger, and audio engineer. He describes LRS as a ” basement studio which is not in a basement.”

Ohlsen, a Moline, Illinois native, graduated from NIU in 1977 with a B.A. in Music Education and a Masters in Music Performance. He views his 6 years at NIU as a “good transition” from his life in Moline to city life. He describes Ron Modell, Director of The NIU Jazz Ensemble, as his “second father.”

After leaving NIU, Ohlsen became a studio and touring musician. He has played with such bands as Woody Herman, Styx, and Chevere and The NIU Jazz Ensemble. Ohlsen has also recorded with Styx, Chevere, and The NIU Jazz Ensemble. Although much of Ohlsen’s time is now devoted to LRS, he still finds time to play as a professional musician.

In addition to the trumpet, Ohlsen plays flugelhorn, flute, bass, piano, synthesizers, and percussion.

Ohlsen currently plays with bands that perform an array of music. With the band Chicago Catz, Ohlsen plays soul and funk with a group of studio musicians. Chevere, who Ohlsen also plays with, is an original jazz fusion band that has appeared in recent years at The Chicago Jazz Fest. Also, Ohlsen plays with The Bob Young Band, a group that plays the likes of Bob Seger.

In 1983, Ohlsen began building LRS in the basement of his home on the northwest side of Chicago. At first it was a hobby, but he soon decided this could be a viable business. Through word of mouth and his own presence in the music industry, he started to attract clients.

LRS‘ first big account came in 1984 when Ohlsen, through determination and talent, landed an account with McDonalds. LRS did, and still does, all of the audio for McDonalds international training videos. He describes these training videos as “films that show people how to flip burgers in nine languages.”

The McDonalds account was the start of a successful studio which led to other accounts which include Quaker Oats, Haggen Dazs and the Hartmarx Corporation.

“LRS is going very strong and shows every indication of getting better,” he said. He also has “paid his dues” and is now able to do things the way he wants them. Ohlsen describes himself as “self-motivated.” He is more interested in making things happen through his own motivation than waiting for someone else. This is evident in the success Ohlsen has reached in his career as a musician and as president of LRS.