OMAHA – It was easy for local band Clark and Company to build chemistry. Maybe it’s because they are all related.
Triplets Sophie (vocals and keyboard), Simon (drums and percussion), and Cooper (acoustic and electric bass) make up the “Clark” portion, and bandmate Cameron Thelander (tenor saxophone) is the “Company.” The Omaha Westside graduates decided to keep the band together by staying in Omaha and attending UNO.
Music has always been part of their lives.
“Growing up, our parents were really adamant about exposing us to good music,” Simon said.
The triplets' father plays guitar and is a singer/songwriter is his spare time.
Cameron's passion for music began when his grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Listening to their favorite artists together inspired him to look at music as a career, not just a hobby.
"That's where the passion came from, no doubt about it," Cameron said.
Sophie said it’s a blessing to have Cameron around. Like normal siblings, the Clarks have their share of disagreements.
“If it’s just us three in a room trying to write a song together, it’s terrible,” Sophie said. “It’s good to have someone that can tell us, ‘OK guys, let’s just take a step back.’”
“(Being siblings) makes it a lot easier to yell at each other,” Simon said with a laugh.
It’s not fair to put Clark and Company in a box and label them as a specific genre. They have R&B, jazz, and blues influences in their music.
Most people assume that they are studying music, but that isn’t the case.
“We all have our interests too, people always assume that we are studying music or the arts, but we have different things that we are into, and we love UNO for that,” Sophie said.
All four have found a way to weave their studies into Clark and Company. Cameron is a music technology major. Sophie is studying poetry. Simon’s field of choice is creative media, and Cooper is majoring in graphic design. Cooper designed the layout for the band’s website.
We all have our interests too, people always assume that we are studying music or the arts, but we have different things that we are into, and we love UNO for that.
- Sophie Clark
How do they balance their studies with all the practice sessions and shows?
“We don’t,” they quipped.
Whatever the strategy is, it seems to be working.
Clark and Company has been on the local grind for a few years now, going all the way back to their sophomore year of high school. That’s when Sophie started writing songs.
It wasn’t easy breaking through. Omaha has an established music scene, and the students say making connections can be a challenge if you don’t know the right people.
But the band has been gaining recognition, including consecutive nominations at the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards in 2014 and 2015.
Songs from their first two albums (Three of Swords and Larger World) have been nominated at the International Acoustic Music Awards.
Today, Clark and Company are regulars on the Omaha circuit, with frequent shows at some of Benson’s live music hangouts. Slowdown, Liv Lounge in Aksarben Village, and the Lookout Lounge are a few other spots where you can find them.
The award nominations certainly played a part in making connections with music industry professionals. Take those nominations away, and Clark and Company probably still would have broken through eventually. They’re tenacious.
“We played literally any gig we could get,” Sophie said.
This includes stops in Denver, North Platte, Kearney, Kansas City, and Des Moines.
All of their hard work got them in front of some heavy hitters in the industry last spring, when they played a private show for the organizers and founders of Maha Music Festival.
Maybe their talents will take them to bigger markets one day, but for now they are happy where they are.
“We really like the music scene here,” said Sophie. “I honestly just love playing in Omaha. I don’t have any aspirations to be famous or anything. I love being a local band. It just works for us.”