When we first heard Sophia Knapp's new record on Drag City, entitled Into the Waves, we thought “If we asked her to do a Selector, she would definitely throw in some Karen Carpenter.” (We were right!) But we didn't think of the '70s Sweater Queen because Sophia Knapp is a copycat. Rather, Sophia takes an idea of the gently-pitched vocals associated with the Carpenters and reframes them in a new, more joyous, and more metropolitan setting. Also, her own music videos are brightly creative adventures. But don't let us speak for her too much: download “Close to Me” and “Into the Waves” or listen to them in the Impose player while you check out Sophia's video playlist. —Eds.
Raffaella Carrà, “¡Qué dolor!”
This is my favorite opening scene of a music video. It's so weird and funny. I'm interested in music videos as an art form – how they immerse you in an alternate reality. This room and the things in it could only exist within the context of this video – graph paper, doodles, cat sweaters, nurses, and clown guys with metallic blue pants? I am also inspired by Rafaella Carra's presence as a performer – she's 'on' without being annoying, and her movements are precise. I went to a yoga workshop where classical Indian singer Mukesh Desai spoke – I remember him saying 'Precision is the greatest gift', and that stuck with me.
Karen Carpenter, “The Drummer”
I had no idea that Karen Carpenter often played drums while she sang, until a friend of mine showed me this video. I was blown away. Behind that silky voice she was also a total badass, more than most are aware of. Seeing clips like this makes we want to go practice.
David Bowie, “Heroes”
KISS: 'Keep It Simple, Stupid.' This video is beautiful with minimal effects. And the song only has three chords. That's a good creative strategy: sometimes when things aren't working, elements need to be removed. Of course, with a face as magnificent as David Bowie's, you don't have to do much.
Sally Oldfield, “Mirrors”
Sally Oldfield is Mike Oldfield's sister. I first heard her voice on a track by The Sallyangie, called “Love in Ice Crystals”, a band she had with Mike when they were in their teens. She gives me the chills when she hits high notes, her voice is so pure. This performance is great – I like how she is barefoot. She seems to be immersed in the present moment and giving her all to the audience. I connect with the content of her music as well as many of her songs are about meditation and spiritual experiences.
Tim Curry in The Worst Witch
Halloween has always been my favorite holiday and this is my favorite video about Halloween. Halloween is the one day when everyone can be what they desire to be. I wonder about people that dress up as toothpaste or other inanimate objects, what that means about them psychologically. I love dressing up and doing spooky things. I love candy, I love the night, with the full moon veiled by misty clouds. I like black cats and skeletons and cartoon sinister. Creepy eyeballs. Watching this makes me want to make stuff.
New Edition, “Cool It Now”
Try to watch this and frown, I dare you. This video is a lot of FUN. The raw talent here, like in the Karen Carpenter video, blows me away. The hand motions, the expressive delivery, and confidence, wow… Not to mention, the city always looks better in music videos.
Asha Puthli, “Say Yes”
Asha Puthli has been a big influence on my singing style. I can listen to her endlessly. She sounds relaxed in every moment, and the way she subtly bends notes is sublime. I also love what's she's wearing in this video, she looks like an alien angel superstar. Sometimes before I play a show I'll have a lazy streak and want to wear my stripe tee shirt and jeans on stage. And then I remember things like this, and think again. If you're doing unusual things with your voice, it only makes sense to dress as unusual. People want to be dazzled.