Trials MTB rider Danny MacAskill has racked up more than 67 million views to date with a series of viral video clips turning all previous notions of what is possible on a bike upside down. "Inspired," "Way Back Home," and "Industrial Revolutions" found him reinterpreting the world around him in cityscapes and in the Scottish countryside near where he grew up. His latest, "Imaginate," hit the Internet today.
XGames.com: "Imaginate" is built around the conceit that you're now doing the kind of riding you imagined as a child. How early on was it that you were first envisioning what you might be able to do on a bike?
MacAskill: I was always daydreaming in school about riding my bike, and I can remember when I was in primary school playing with my pencil and eraser and pencil case, just toying with some ideas. When I sat down to whittle ideas down for this warehouse project I settled on the idea of recreating my childhood bedroom, using actual building blocks and toys as the building blocks for this concept, and it all really came together.
Your earlier videos have been hits because of your ability to see a playground in just about anything. How was the challenge of getting to build your own playground from scratch different for you?
It was a pretty amazing opportunity to be able to work in a giant warehouse, and it was a nice way for me to change things up from previous edits where I've been out in the wilderness or in cities. I think I underestimated quite how much effort it would take to build the riding setup and really create a set for this project, but it was good fun.
Now that all those page views have been piling up, is there a different kind of pressure on you as you're working on each new edit?
Yes, but it's interesting because I'm my own biggest critic. When it comes to my riding I definitely expect a certain level, so the pressure comes from myself and not from trying to please the fans. It's definitely changed, though, since the "Inspired" project, which was the first to go viral. Back then there was no pressure at all. We had no idea millions of people would be sitting back watching it on their computers.
Do you ever analyze the view count stats?
No. To be honest I try to avoid it, because it can be overwhelming. Once it's on the 'net, I sort of disconnect from the video in some ways and it goes and does its own thing. You can't control it, and it's all the more good because of that because it frees me up to go and start thinking about the next project. I was drawing out some new ideas this morning on the plane to London.
This project was teased in a six-episode series showing some of the build-up to the final clip. Why was it important to you to show some of that process?
I actually quite like the come-from-nowhere approach as well, where you just blast it out, because doing it this way actually added some of its own pressure. In my head I'm thinking, "is the finished clip going to be worth all this hype?"
What's next for you?
Before I start figuring out what my next video project will be I'm looking forward to hanging out at the X Games in Munich next week. It's going to be my first X Games experience and I'm thrilled to have it coming to Europe.