Danny MacAskill on the Making of Imaginate

While at X Games Munich we caught up with the trials riding superstar to chat about his latest edit.
	 A photo of Danny MacAskill performing a front flip over a Red Bull Racing F1 car during the filming of Imaginate.
Formula 1 front flip © Fred Murray
By Red Bull Bike

The recent release of Danny MacAskill's latest trials-riding edit, Imaginate (watch it here now) was met with an enthusiastic response to say the least, already garnering three million views. We ran into him at X Games Munich so we sat down to get some details about making the film, and in the course of the discussion the topic of lederhosen came up, as is often the case in most casual chats...

Red Bull Bike: So Danny, you've obviously been a bit busy lately...

Danny MacAskill: I was really busy the last couple of weeks because of the Imaginate video. I've been doing one interview after another. But here at X Games Munich I have pretty much nothing to do, so that's great!

What's been your favorite question from all the interviews?

It was: "What would you rather fight: one horse-sized duck or a hundred duck-sized horses?" I chose the one horse-sized duck. I don't think I could handle a hundred little things fighting against me. It was the most random question... It was from the New York Times, too.


No (laughs).

You've received some amazing feedback for Imaginate so it wouldn't be a surprise.

I was really surprised! I know that Red Bull have a pretty powerful media presence so on the one hand you could probably make a video of whatever and get a lot of views. But I wasn't convinced people would like it because of the theme and the music.

Was there much planning before the shoot?

Well... not really. It was very unorganized by myself. If all my friends wouldn't have helped me, the video wouldn't exist today. It was quite loose. We built some of the obstacles and then started thinking about the background which needed to be a 200-foot-long wall and ended up taking weeks to build. It was a total afterthought.

So I was really happy that everything came together in the end and that people actually liked it! It was quite different to the previous videos we've done and very different to how I normally film, which is just me and the filmer in the streets.

How did you come up with the concept in the first place?

My previous projects have all been outdoors and I got tired of waiting for the sun to come out from behind the clouds. That's just how filming is in Scotland. Of course, I could've gone to Barbados or something, where you get blue skies all the time, but I thought it would be nice to work indoors for a change. It turned out that it was much harder work than I thought it would be between sorting the lights and building all the obstacles.

In the streets you have to deal with the existing features, but if you build the obstacles yourself, you can't blame anybody if they don't work, right?

Exactly! And I'm terrible at making decisions. I have a hard enough time deciding what pants I'm going to wear in the morning. I had so many ideas so it was hard to decide what to do. And I had a back operation at the beginning of last year so I was only back on the bike right before the project.

Danny MacAskill in Forth Estuary 2010.
Danny MacAskill in Forth Estuary 2010 © Andy McCandlish/Red Bull Content Pool

But you make it all look so easy! If there wasn't the slam section at the end, people would think it was no big deal for you.

Oh no! Some tricks would take 300 takes in a row! Because people don't see that, it almost makes me think that I can ride a bike properly (laughs). But for the frontflip over the ball onto the railroad track it took hundreds of takes and I maybe landed it five times. Even then I wasn't happy with the style or something.

We did that without breaks and my friend filmed with a handheld steady cam which weighs about 22 pounds. He had to run [almost 100 feet] for each take so he ended up running about [five and a half miles]! By the end, he was more tired than I was.

Did you ever have a childhood dream that wasn't riding-related?

I really wanted to be a demolition expert! I wanted to blow up buildings. I really like breaking things like smashing windows or blowing stuff up. But I don't think I'd be clever enough to do that professionally so I ride my bike instead.

What are you looking forward to at X Games Munich?

I'm looking forward to everything, but the Mountain Bike Slopestyle looks insane! I want to go up and have a closer look at it. It looks huge! I'm also interested in the other sports and know a few people there. Watching the Big Air will be cool too. I don't compete and I've never been to anything like this before so it's exciting.

You've been to Munich a couple of times. What are your favorite spots?

The Burger House has amazing burgers! I even have a picture of it (looks up picture on his phone of a huge burger), it's an absolute beast! I also liked Karsplatz and I really want to go to Oktoberfest. I even have lederhosen. I got them at an event, Big in Bavaria, at Bike Expo a few years ago. But I don't think these legs are made for lederhosen, I'd need to wear a kilt.

Watch Danny's Imaginate edit again. You know you want to.

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