THE RIGHT TRACK: A peek inside the playlist of Phoenix’s most influential people | Freddie Paull

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Freddie Paull is a visual storyteller, but music is steadily stitched into the seams of his career.

The filmmaker and photographer was born and raised in England and now resides in Phoenix, where he owns a production company, Electric Legend Pictures. He has directed and produced music videos for local bands like Harrison Fjord, Bogan Via, Draa, Blissing Room, Captain Squeegee and AJJ.

Paull has an eye for eye-catching colors and crisp composition and an ear for soul, psych rock, indie folk and ’80s English rock. He’s all about matching visual elements to the vibes he feels in his favorite music. Below are a few of his favorites – excluding Beatles songs; he needs a separate list for that.

DESCRIBE YOUR VISUAL PROCESS WITH MUSIC

“When it comes to my process for conceptualizing visuals, it’s all about the dynamics of the song combined with a mood. I start with a single moment in a song that stands out to me, whether it’s the transition from a chorus to the bridge or a single line of lyrics. In my mind, that moment has some sort of visual movement and aesthetic to it, whether it’s a slow dolly push toward something or a slow-mo zoom-out to reveal something, etc. Then I build a story outward from that.”

TOP 10 FAVORITE SONGS OF ALL TIME

“Five Years,” David Bowie
“Bowie is my all-time favorite artist. His constant need to change up his style and push himself to new extremes just to satisfy something deep within himself really resonates with me. ‘Five Years’ is the opening track of an album that changed my life. It immaculately sets the stage for the story of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.”

“Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now,” The Smiths
“If you’re ever looking for a song to bolster your Saturday night blues, look no further. You won’t find a better song to cry-sing into an empty bottle of wine while dancing around your home in only the undies your ex gave you. I guarantee it.”

Where’d All the Time Go?,” Dr. Dog
“When I was a teenager, I only listened to music from the ‘60s, convinced that anything modern was mass-produced rubbish. Dr. Dog was the band that bridged the gap for me. My best friend, Austin, introduced me to their album Shame, Shame, which led to me making a fan-made video for their song ‘Control Yourself.’ The band’s merch guy, Forrest, ended up seeing the video and invited my friends and I to meet the band at Crescent Ballroom – my first time there. Not only did this result in a friendship with the band, but I ended up working for Crescent as their first and only house photographer a few weeks later. Anyway, I took making music videos more seriously after that night.”

“If This World Were Mine,” Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
“I’ve always imagined this song as the introductory theme of an aspiring dictator in a film. I think it’d be a fun moment. I’m a huge fan of soul music, and this is one of the few songs from Marvin Gaye’s early career that he wrote by himself. It has a certain cinematic value to it, and I hope one day to use it in a film.

“Apocalypse Dreams,” Tame Impala
“Kevin Parker continues to wow in all his most recent compositions, but this track from my favorite album of theirs, Lonerism, is very special to me. It has provided me with a lot of visual ideas, and it’s the song to which I edited my production company’s first reel.”

“Montezuma,” Fleet Foxes
“One of the first times I ever went to my favorite campsite, Ashurst Lake near Flagstaff, I remember blasting this song across the water with two of my closest friends, Zach and Noah. The sun had just set, the sky was a million hues of purplish blue, and the lake was as smooth as glass. I’ll never forget it. Now that I’m older, the song has taken on a whole new meaning to me. Robin Pecknold’s words bring me right back to those simpler times, now from the perspective of a man who has made five years’ worth of mistakes, but also a man who has never been more grateful for the opportunity to fail once more.”

“Eyes Without a Face,” Billy Idol
“This is a very special song to me. It was introduced to me by my old friend Imrul the evening after he rescued me from the Chittagong airport in Bangladesh after getting stranded there on my 21st birthday. He introduced it to me late at night while driving through the deserted streets of Dhaka. It still remains, in my humble opinion, one of the best night driving songs out there.”

“Real Love (Piano Demo),” John Lennon
“This is a song that was unreleased when John died. Lyrically, I think it’s one of the most beautiful things he ever wrote, and I feel that he really encapsulated that feeling that everything is about to change when you fall in love. While I enjoy his piano demo version of this song the most, Paul, George, and Ringo came together in the ’90s to finish his song and release it as The Beatles.”

“Take the Long Way Home,” Supertramp
“This song reminds me of my childhood. My dad is a big Supertramp fan and used to play this album all the time in England. When he moved to the United States a year before we did, this was on one of my favorite CDs he left behind. Still reminds me a lot of my dad, and all the things I looked forward to about moving to Arizona.”

“Life’s a Gas,” T. Rex
“It truly is.”

FAVORITE SONG BY A LOCAL ARTIST

“Exorcism (of Loneliness),” Harrison Fjord
“While this song hasn’t yet been released, I’ve never heard anything like it before, locally or even internationally. It blows me away every time I hear it and I sincerely cannot wait for the day the whole world can enjoy it too. Hopefully, that day will come soon… But until then, ‘Approximately 906 Miles’ by Fjord is a close runner-up.”

FAVORITE SONG FROM A MOVIE SOUNDTRACK

“The Court of the Crimson King,” King Crimson (From the “Children of Men” soundtrack)
“Alfonso Cuaron is an absolute master when it comes to complementing a scene with the right track, and this scene exemplifies that brilliantly. Theo is being taken into the wealthy part of the city, and we get our first glimpse at the lifestyles of government employees and the wealthy elite. His cousin runs the ark of the arts, a facility designed to safeguard the world’s most treasured pieces of art. It’s subtle, but the song continues playing from the overhead speakers of the facility once he gets there because King Crimson is a beloved British band, and thus, this song is a treasured piece of art.”

PREFERRED WAY OF LISTENING
“I listen to Spotify pretty much throughout the entire day, every day; it has completely revolutionized music discovery for me. I also have an extensive collection of vinyl that I dive into when I’m trying to think/write, or just enjoy a specific album as a singular piece of art.”

GUILTY PLEASURE TRACK

“Wow,” Kate Bush
“My dad used to fondly refer to this track as ‘the car alarm song’ due to the oscillating nature of Kate’s vocals in the chorus. I still love listening to this one from time to time when I’m alone in my car late at night. Such a night song.”

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