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VIDEO: Pranatricks adds to the Comox Valley’s indie folk scene

The Comox Valley has a reputation as a hotbed for musicians, so it’s no surprise to hear another talented artist has landed here.

The Comox Valley has a reputation as a hotbed for musicians, so it’s no surprise to hear another talented artist has landed here.

Andrew Clements has just finished releasing his debut album - 12 songs, released one song a month over the past year, under his stage name, Pranatricks.

The album was made entirely in his home studio in Vancouver in 2020, prior to moving to the Comox Valley. While the success he has enjoyed since arriving has been great, the move to the Valley wasn’t as much to be part of the music scene as it was a return to his roots.

“I grew up on the North Shore, but my grandparents lived in Comox and my mom grew up here in Courtenay, so we came to Comox a lot,” said Clements. “My grandfather, Gordon Wagner, actually surveyed much of the Comox Valley. So there are a lot of deep roots here.”

He said the Comox Valley arts community is a perfect fit for him.

“There’s a connectivity here that is just a lot more ubiquitous than the city of Vancouver… to come here and even in the first year, having met so many wonderful musicians, and being able to just drop into the scene, it’s just been a breath of fresh air.”

Pranatricks’ debut album, Cherished, features songs that “reflect the difficulties of wrestling with the unknown, they explore social justice issues and continually remind us to find lightness, both in frequency and weight, in as many moments as possible.

“I feel like the album makes a valuable contribution to the West Coast indie folk scene.”

He said releasing the songs monthly was a marketing strategy passed to him by some experts in the field, adding that the industry has changed so much from when he was releasing music with his band, in 2008, that the strategies are completely different these days

“It was a bit of advice I got from a professional in the industry, advising against spending the whole dollar on an album release, where you are going to release 12 songs at once, and maybe get two or three months’ traction with those songs,” said Clements. “So rather than that, release them one track at a time, in a 12-month cycle, and every song gets (its own attention). It was a great way to build my audience.”

Locally, his audience is growing through exposure. Pranatricks was officially unveiled to the Comox Valley at the Fliberg Festival last year, where he played on the garden stage.

“That was sort of my first big gig, right out of the gate. Then I had a chance to play the Woodstove Festival up in Cumberland, then opened up for Jon & Roy at the Waverley. So the plan is to … pursue that side of it more, build the show a little bit more, and keep playing out.”

As for the branding, Clements says the name, Pranatricks, while rooted in Sanskrit (Prana means life force in Sanskrit), was not originally intended to be taken seriously.

“I think it started as somewhat of a parody,” he said. “I was teaching yoga full-time – I’ve been teaching yoga since 2004. – and I was in that scene that can be sort of light and ‘airy-fairy’… so I liked the lightness of it and I just decided to make a bit of an idea behind cultivating life force, and at the same time, being playful with it… so that’s the ‘tricks’ part.”

So how does one transform from yoga to folk musician?

“I have always done music - it’s something for me that has always resonated really deeply,” said Clements. “My mom would watch me playing air guitar when I was 15 years old and she’d say ‘I think I should get you a guitar’ and she did.”

The rest is history.

“I’ve never trained musically, I’ve just always been interested in its sounds, and writing, specifically.”

He said he has nine or 10 tracks ready for his second album, which he should start releasing in April or May.

“Don’t hold me to it, but that’s the plan.”

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Terry Farrell

About the Author: Terry Farrell

Terry returned to Black Press in 2014, after seven years at a daily publication in Alberta. He brings 14 years of editorial experience to Comox Valley Record...
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