Image credit: Pickapixel / Saulderson Media
Pickapixel (aka Matt) is a budding British Rocket league content creator hailing from Poole, in Dorset. He started his YouTube journey ten years ago performing magic tricks, and after cycling through innumerable Minecraft channels plus a brief stint in Fortnite, he found success in Psyonix’s blend of cars and football: Rocket League.
As Pickapixel slowly but surely encroaches on that fabled 1m sub milestone, Jake Nordland sits down with the YouTuber and Twitch streamer to discuss life as a content creator, being part of Gareth Bales’ esports org Ellevens Esports and Rocket League Season 4.
What’s the back story behind your username, Pickapixel?
I started out how almost every single gaming YouTuber started out years ago: playing Minecraft. I had a channel about six months beforehand and my name was Pixel on there, so I wanted something to do with that and Pickapixel is basically just mining in Minecraft, like using a pickaxe to pick pixels, so that’s where it came from.
How and when did you get into content creation?
I made my first channel at the beginning of 2011, I don’t even know why I made it. I filmed a video with some friends of mine, we were doing a show and I literally just filmed them for 10 seconds.
For the whole of 2011 I was doing short films and magic tricks, which is an interesting combo. I started when I was in Year 8 and [I’ve been] pretty much non-stop since then on about 40 channels, which is an obscene amount.
It got to the point where my friends and family were so sick of me restarting my channel, instead of restarting I removed all the videos off my channel and then told everyone I got hacked and had to start again, which was a lie – but they weren’t annoyed at me for restarting, so I dodged a bullet.
My first gaming channel was in 2014, another Minecraft channel. I’d bought a really old computer from my friend for about £100 and a Blue Snowball microphone and I had like two weeks of Easter holidays where I did daily uploads – all of those videos I’m pretty sure are still on a YouTube channel called InfaBuzz.
And then I started getting into doing more variety games and that became my most subscribed channel with 2000 subscribers and that was huge, and then it really started to obviously take off with Rocket League on a different channel a few years later, where we’re at now.
A lot of people see content creation as a sort of dream job. What’s life like as a big YouTuber/Streamer in the UK?
It’s pretty phenomenal, to be honest. It’s everything I expected it would be. It’s weird, sometimes I have to remind myself when all my friends go off to work, I’m doing that as well. It doesn’t feel like that – it doesn’t feel like I’ve been full time employed basically doing this for four and a half years – but it is that.
There’s no real complaints. Every job has certain bits you like a little bit less and everything like that, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. It’s pretty surreal to be fair. I almost struggle to imagine being stuck to a rigid nine-to-five schedule.
Is maintaining a work-life balance difficult as a content creator?
Yeah, I think it is. You can’t switch off, ever. Even with this weekend [which I took off], I still streamed on Sunday. The ‘trouble’ is, normally people would finish their work and then do their hobby. I’ll finish my work and think…right, let’s carry on, because there’s not much else that I want to do. It’s actually the thing I’d most rather be doing so.
It can be hard to switch off, which is why in the summer every Saturday I’m not on my phone, for the whole day I’m out playing cricket. Going away to countryside places in Dorset to play cricket is so nice because I’m just completely disconnected.
In Rocket League, some content creators have talked about the difficulty of continuing to come up with new content in the game. Is this something you’ve come across yourself?
I don’t think to the extent that some others have because fortunately, a lot of my ideas kind of make themselves and continue to make themselves. If there’s new content, I can make stuff on that.
I think the YouTubers where there’s more to it than just what’s in the game, where there’s like almost a storyline, I can understand why they’re struggling and running out of what to do. But I do lots of series where people want to watch pretty much a carbon-copy of the previous video where say luck, based on what I’m opening or doing, determines the outcome of the video. Basically, It’s like having five to ten series at one time which I alternate.
Pickapixel currently has 116,000 followers on Twitch and 892,000 on YouTube
You’re signed to UK esports org Ellevens Esports, which is co-owned by Gareth Bale and previously had one of the best South American Rocket League teams. What’s it like being part of the org?
It’s really cool, when they approached me it just seemed like the perfect fit. They needed someone that loved Rocket League, was in the UK, and loved football, and that’s just me, 100%. I feel like I just fit right in and everyone that I’ve met and spoken to from Ellevens, whether in real life or online, has been welcoming and really friendly.
Do you have any secrets you can share about who Ellevens Esports might sign next?
I’ve only been questioned in passing about my thoughts and opinions about certain players, so I don’t know anything for sure. But they’re looking to build more of a presence in the EU Rocket League scene, I know that.
Have you met Gareth Bale yet?
[Laughs] I have not, no, he was a little bit busy – some international tournament or something?
Outside of Ellevens Esports, if you could team up with any Rocket League pro player, who would it be?
I’ve always liked Kaydop, I’ve always thought he’s unreal and he seems like a cool guy. Although Turbopolsa is quite cool as well, and funny too. It’d be one of those two. Or both, [laughs] I could hold down the third spot and maybe just bump people about.
Are you looking forward to Rocket League Season 4?
So much so. There looks to be a lot that they’re going to do, and it seems like the way they’ve teased Season 4 is the first real Fortnite-esque teaser style that they’ve done. They don’t normally tease a new season like they’ve been doing over the last few days.
And with the new 2v2 and Extra Modes tournaments I’ll probably never play a 3v3 tournament again, unless I have two mates to play with me, because those two are much more up my street.
My ambitions [are to reach] Supersonic Legend in Rumble again, and if I’m really into it try and stay in the top 100 for the whole season. Then for 2v2, it’d be cool to be in Grand Champion 2, I would say that’s manageable, and maybe win a Supersonic Legend tournament as well.
I don’t want to curse it, but you’re getting fairly close to 1m subs. Do you have any ambitions for your channel moving forward?
In February 2018 I was interviewed at Gfinity and said that in five years I’d have a million subscribers, I think I had about 300,000 at the time, so that was the five-year plan. So February 2023 still and always has been the goal for a million subscribers.
A lot of it is heavily influenced by my interest; the reason I played Fortnite and made videos on that is because I loved it so much.
Given that the new season of Rocket League is coming up, I’m super excited, August will be me just smashing out the Season 4 update. I’ll kind of just go from there, hopefully get to 900,000 subscribers soon, and then just carry on with what I’m doing and innovate where I can.