Michael Kolar (Owner/ Chief Engineer)
Raised in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, Michael Kolar has been working in the recording/music industry since 1996. Since an early age, Kolar has always loved music. While a freshmen in high school, Michael was a founding member of industrial punk band Snotrag. During his time working with Chicago’s nationally recognized punk scene, one of his first clients, Secret Agent Bill, caught the attention of George Clinton of the legendary group Parliament Funkadelic. George loved the raw sound that Kolar brought to the table and tapped him to engineer their new release under George Clinton’s tutelage. In addition to handling the studio engineering, Kolar was on the road with George Clinton helping with Secret Agent Bill’s road management and live sound. After his “tour of duty” was up with P-Funk, Kolar returned to Chicago to complete his B.A from Columbia College Chicago in Audio Engineering and found Hip-Hop was taking over as the Go’s nationally recognized art form. It was at this point when things began to come together for Michael Kolar and SoundScape Studios. His early work with legendary Chicago Hip-Hop collective, Molemen Records, allowed Michael to not only work with the cream of Chicago’s Hip Hop pioneers such as Rhymefest, Vakill, Crucial Conflict and Juice, but also a slew of nationally recognized artists that embraced Molemen’s vision (Saigon, Murs, Brother Ali, Kool G Rap). This lead to a referral of Naledge to the studio by Memo, where his work with him lead Naledge to getting signed to pioneering hip-hop label, Rawkus Records. Naledge’s group, Kidz in the Hall, landed Kolar his first national record “Drivin’ down the Block,” which debuted at #7 on MTV’s TRL countdown. That record was the first time an indie Hip Hop group was on TRL. Later that year, one of Kolar’s early clients, Track Kingz, recorded a song produced by VuDu at SoundScape for Ludacris, which was nominated for the “rap song of the year” Grammy (Georgia). There was no turning back at this point for SoundScape, and since then almost every Chicago hip hop artist that works on a National level has come to Michael to help them compete in today’s incredibly volatile market. This factor is what lead to the Chicago Reader’s music columnist Miles Raymer, labeling Michel Kolar’s SoundScape Studios as “An institute to Chicago’s Hip Hop community”. Today you can find Kolar helping both Chicago based artists (GLC, Mikkey Halsted, Hollywood Holt) and national artists (CyHi da Prynce, Raekwon, M.I.A) have a classic recording and mixing experience. Michael was also the youngest Vice President of the Engineering and Recording Society (E.A.R.S) for 3 years.
Erika Morales (Studio Manager/Staff Engineer)
Erika graduated from Columbia College Chicago with her Live Sound Reinforcement degree in 2011. She began her musical journey at the young age of 6, when she began playing piano, and continued to pick up instruments, focusing on classical and jazz trumpet through out her college career. With a strong musical background she was naturally interested in engineering and working with other artists. As a freshman in college, Erika began interning at SoundScape Studios and was an employee by August of 2009. In addition to making sure all client and engineer needs are met, she is our corporate and bilingual/Spanish Staff Engineer.
Jabari Rayford (B-Room Staff Engineer)
Jabari Rayford is currently attending Columbia College Chicago, majoring in Live Sound Reinforcement. Jabari has been engineering for several years, beginning at his high school, Kenwood Academy. Jabari is an engineer/producer and over all well rounded musician giving him a strong foundation as an engineer. SoundScape Studios initially saw Jabari in action during the ASM semesters spent at SoundScape. When a position opened up we knew we had to have Jabari join our team.