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Doohickey Cubicle Get Lost In A Dream on “Cannoli Filling”

The Vancouver-based synth-pop duo tease their new album with a video single that is just as sweet as they are. 

by Ben Boddez

Photo by Megan Magdalena

We may never truly understand what our dreams mean, but when visions of creamy Italian pastries started dancing in her head as she slept, Alli Deleo, of Vancouver synth-pop duo Doohickey Cubicle, found inspiration. 

On their latest video for “Cannoli Filling,” which teases their upcoming album Super Smeller (out Sept. 2024), the band approximates what Deleo could remember from that dream as best as they could and set it all to the band’s traditionally reverb-heavy and appropriately dreamlike sound.

Shot at Green Auto – a favourite underground live music venue in Vancouver – the video finds Deleo stumbling across some kind of portal while in the middle of an unusual paint job, as the syncopated funk tempos and saxophones accentuate her layered vocals.

We caught up with Alli Deleo below to talk about cannoli, daydreams, and the process behind making Doohickey Cubicle’s latest video. 

What was it like being on set to shoot this dreamy video?

It was such a fun, creative, loose, and fulfilling day. We had a holiday party at our house the night before and during the party I was building the cannoli filling bucket and making the filling. It all came together quickly and it was a tiny crew of 8, very comfy and nice. Lots of laughs and pizza and on-the-fly ideas. We shot it at Green Auto in their pop-up space (eternally grateful for Mike!) and we got the 10×10 wall flat from a shop across the alley and we walked it over on a couple dollies. Everyone worked really hard and we got it all shot in one day. We love making videos. 

What do you think was the meaning behind the dream the video was based on? Have you been having any other interesting dreams lately? 

Well, I like leaving it up for interpretation, but since you asked… I interpreted it as being in a trance of overdoing or overthinking, and how that doesn’t help you. But I was also reflecting a lot on feeling “too much” which is something I’ve felt a lot throughout my life, and I wanted to lean into it with the repetitive lyrics and it being a dramatic performance. I often remember my dreams and they can be pretty bizarre. I’m trying to make a practice of writing them down more! One of the other songs on the album is from a daydream, those are interesting too.

What have you been listening to lately?

The Groke” by Okay Kaya – incredible song and video. But also June McDoom, Marci, Eliza Niemi (who sings backing vox on a track), ML Buch, Bernice, Julien Chang, Crumb, Kalbells, and Luna Li.

Where can you get the best cannoli?

Cannoli King of course! The cannoli choke in the video is from there. 

We understand you used the same camera that was used to shoot Star Wars: Episode II. Was that intentional?

It was all Dana (Bontempo), our director of photography! We wanted a timeless feel, a cinematic quality and a step up from our camcorder – and Dana showed up with this beauty. I heard Star Wars did okay at the box office, so if it worked for them it works for us!

What can we expect from the rest of the upcoming Super Smeller album? It’s full of impeccable track titles.

Thank you! It’s 13 tracks – it’s intimate, hazy yet polished, psychy and at times humorous – backed by Francis’ production style of blending acoustic kit and electronic grooves, funky bass, chorusy guitars, jazzy spaced out saxophone, soft vocals, analog synths. Some of the songs date back to 2021 and some are more recent – lyrics ranging from nonsensical dreams, to the very real truth of our impermanence, and sentiments from Francis’ cancer journey last year and ongoing. A lot of love went into every layer and we’re super excited for people to listen and connect with it however they want. We will release two more songs and videos before the record comes out. 

What’s next for Doohickey Cubicle? Anything else you’d like us to know?

Our album release show is Sept 14 at Green Auto. Save the date! We’re also playing June 29 for Heaven For Real’s album release show, also at Green Auto.