Greg Doble digs up classic animation techniques in Don’t Die

Greg Doble is a Montreal-based animator and illustrator who specializes in 2D animation. His shorts have been shown at Encounters, Third Culture, and the Toronto Animated Arts Festival. Greg teamed up with the all-women, doom-pop band, NOBRO — along with videographer Bobby León — to create a morbidly playful music video resembling the classic Fleischer Studios style.

Max and Dave Fleischer are often credited with sparking the 1930s animation design trend of jointless rubber hose arms, which curve instead of bending. Initially these arms had practical benefits, as joints introduce complexity and potential for errors, but their anatomical omission also allows characters to flow, twist and swing in ways that realistic limbs cannot move. This technique is periodically revived by animators throughout the years, both in direct homages to classic characters as well as in original shows, such as Adventure Time.

We spoke with Greg Doble about his work on this video as well as his collaboration with NOBRO. You can watch Don’t Die and unearth our full conversation below.

How did your collaboration with NOBRO come about?

The lead singer of NOBRO, Kathryn McCaughey worked at one of my favourite bars in Montreal. I work out of a home studio and every once in a while, after a long week, it could start to feel like the walls are closing in a bit. I found this particular bar to be the perfect place to grab a meal, a pint, and get some work done, while still getting that change of scenery that was needed.

While hanging out there, Kathryn and I got to chatting and we figured out that we’re both from Calgary. We happened to have gone to the same high school, one year apart. Small world.

I also learned that she played in a couple of bands around town and, as I was always there sketching, she learned that I did animation. We talked about how it would be cool to work on a project together in the future. About 4 years later, she called me up to let me know that her band wanted to do an animated music video! The rest is history.

What did the creative brief for the Don’t Die music video look like, and how much creative freedom did you have?

Kathryn and the band were amazingly open to any and all ideas. They wanted something animated and fun, something that could match the energy of the track. Other than that, they allowed me to dive in and take the project in whichever direction I could envision for it.

The creative brief was pretty close to what the finished video looked like: I pitched a vintage 1940s-looking animation that would take the band on a spooky adventure through a graveyard and into hell where they would witness a fiery guitar solo from satan himself. From the beginning, the video was planned to have both fully animated segments as well as a mix of live-action and animation.

Process shots from Don’t Die, provided by Greg Doble.

We really enjoy the classic rubber hose animation. What sources inspired the visual development for this project?

When the band sent over the track I was listening to it over and over again to try and built up an idea. Around that same time, a

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