A Spinterview With Dama: Full-Diff Fanatic

"There aren't many full-difficulty charters and I wanted to help fill that niche."

Whenever a new player comes to ask for good customs to start out playing, Dama’s are sure to be mentioned. Custom charts for the casual player are a rarity. Most charters are capable of playing charts over XD 60, and chart accordingly difficult songs. Dama and her charts help fill this void, with her entire chartlist being full-difficulty, while her XD charts are on the easier side of things. Her charts are always high quality, despite being a relative newcomer among the SpinShare charting community.

What got you into Spin Rhythm XD? How did you find out about it?

I know abysmalcosmos and WhatDoesTheSimonSay through Sayonara Wild Hearts, and they started playing Spin Rhythm.

I didn’t have a computer at the time (well, not easy access to a computer for personal use), so I couldn’t get it right away. As I watched them play, I knew that I needed to get Spin as soon as my new computer arrived. I already knew about customs before I even started playing. I actually played lower difficulty customs while I was learning to play, which may have led to me charting full-diff.

What made you decide to chart for Spin Rhythm? What’s your general process behind a chart?

I had a pretty positive introduction to the Spin Rhythm community when I requested some SWH charts. Loosiano was also a fan of the game and ended up making charts for Dead of Night and Inside. These were at a level that I could play them, when I was just starting to get into XDs.

Then when I decided to chart Yuri On Ice, people like fallin and RAD were super helpful and encouraging. I haven’t made charts for any other rhythm games I’ve played.

My general process behind a chart is to placemark all the notes with match notes, like every note I even might want to chart something to. I start both easy and XD with that skeleton chart. In Easy, I delete a lot of those matches and I’ll turn them into long spins, or I delete some because I’m focusing on one instrument. Mostly, it’s just a matter of deciding on movement.

I then copy the Easy into Normal and add in some taps on emphasized notes. Sometimes I make the movement a little bit more advanced, but not by much. Some spins or match strings become sliders.

I copy the Normal chart into the Hard – I add some color swaps, some more complex movement, and beats. Hard can also have shorter spins, so usually I add in some variety in long tap-match sections by including some spins that wouldn’t feel right in a Normal or Easy, where spins are mostly used at the end of musical phrases.

It’s hard to describe my approach to charting XD. I think people have ideas about the “style” of other charters but it’s hard to recognize your own. With XD, I usually go through and put the beats and beatholds first.

For the Expert I copy the XD in and nerf it in a lot of ways – no beatholds, only the most emphasized percussion has beats, usually the shortest spins need to be turned into match movement, no same lane swaps (these are okay in moderation in Expert, but I prefer not to use them). I make the movement a little easier, usually, like no 16th note flicks unless the bpm is very low. Sometimes I rechart a section entirely if it heavily relies on beatholds to represent a significant instrument in the XD.

In Flyweight Love I have a section where the vocals are charted to the beatholds and everything underneath them is doing the background instrumentals. But in the Expert I mostly ignore the instrumentals. Instead, I charted the vocals to long sliders where the beatholds were.

What makes you decide you want to chart a song, and what about that song influences the chart’s overall design?

Sometimes I just hear a song and I wish I could be playing it in Spin. If there are too many significant percussion sounds to chart as beats, sometimes I’ll have taps charted to kicks and beats charted to snares, or something. If the percussion is interesting enough, I’ll chart the whole thing around it. Polaris and Dung Defender are good examples of this. Songs with vocals usually end up with a lot of sliders because they tend to fit the sound well. Songs with meedly-meedly guitar sections or a lot of fast drumfills end up with fun match strings.

I think some of my song choices are unusual but my charting style is probably pretty vanilla, but people still seem to think it’s fun, so that’s okay. I don’t think every chart has to try something innovative or unprecedented. Sometimes you just want to play a fun chart to a song you like.

Are there any other charts or charters that you look to for inspiration in your charts?

When I was first getting into charting full-diffs, Slival was a big help and source of inspiration. My first collab (History Maker) was with fallin. I really liked how he charted the sliders to the vocals, so I still think back to that chart when I’m considering slider shapes, sometimes. Setting Sail, Coming Home was one of my first and favorite customs. Sometimes when there’s some very interesting layering going on in a song I’ll consider using beatholds in a similar way.

juch and Stride both collabed with me on Mob Psycho openings. I think any relatively high difficulty chart I make is heavily influenced by their parts. I don’t know if it’s so much influence/inspiration or if it’s just compatibility, but I think the collabs I did with PickPig on the Stessie songs are some of the most seamless ones I’ve done.

Alex (my spouse) introduced me to Stessie and wanted Atmosphere to be a chart. I came to really love that song in the process of charting it, and it had such a massively positive reception in the community. Now I’ll take any opportunity to chart or collab on a Stessie song.

juch.’s Waxamole chart was a sort of inspiration for the Atmosphere chart. Waxamole has this one repeated section, but juch. charted it in a way that is so much fun that you don’t care about the repetition. Atmosphere has a chorus that repeats itself both times it shows up, so really it happens four times. I knew I needed it to be really fun.

Is there any way that you would describe your charting style? What makes it unique, and what makes it similar when compared to other charters?

Other people can probably describe a charter’s style better than the charter themselves. I don’t know if mine feels unique to play, because of course playing my own charts is inherently going to feel much different than playing anyone else’s. Playing your own charts is always going to feel different than playing others’ charts. It’s hard to tell what’s unique about it because it’s going to feel different to you no matter what.

Are there any patterns you’re particularly fond of?

I play on high dpi so maybe that’s why I like short scratches. I also really like match strings with same lane color swaps over beats. They’re kind of basic but they’re fun for me every time. A good match string for a drumfill is always nice. A boing slider into spin can be really satisfying if it suits the music. I like tap match patterns where it isn’t just TMMMTMMMTMMM. In sections where there’s one instrument emphasized but still interesting things going on with the rest of the instrumentation, I like to have something representing that main instrument but also intersperse stuff that reflects what else is going on.

You are one of two charters to do only full-difficulty charts- That is, your charts have all five difficulties charted. What made you decide to only do full-diff charts?

My kids like to play Easy and Normal, and friends getting into the game are usually playing Hard or Expert. It just seemed natural.

Full-difficulty charting is something that many charters avoid, often due to the extra challenges of undercharting and the time commitment. How much would you say this tends to affect you?

It does take substantially more time than charting XD only, it’s true, but it’s also pretty gratifying. I enjoy seeing someone new to the game enjoy my charts on stream. It can be tricky to strike the right balance between making a low-diff chart interesting without it being overcharted for that difficulty. But like anything with charting, it comes faster with experience. Sometimes when I do the XD chart first for a song, it is tempting to just call it there. But it ends up being more worthwhile to maintain that reputation since I’m known for full-diffs . Like telling a new player, “You can play charts from this charter… except these,” is a bit more complicated than being able to just recommend their charts as a whole.

Many charters come to you over advice about doing charts for difficulties other than XD. You also have part of the responsibility for reviewing potential Frontpage charts on Spinshare. How do you feel about this reputation as an authority on lower-difficulty charting?

I don’t think I ever expected to become an authority on anything when I started charting. I guess it makes sense that if you do a lot of something, people will come to you for advice about it.

For a long time, no one was checking on the quality of the lower diffs for Frontpage candidates. I think it’s a step in the right direction, especially if the Frontpage playlist is being recommended to new players looking for easy customs.

5 of your 39 uploaded charts are songs from the game Sayonara Wild Hearts. You’ve also expressed interest that the remaining songs from the game get charted. What is this game to you, and what caused you to make so many charts songs from it?

I got into Sayonara Wild Hearts during lockdown while going through a hard time personally. The game itself is about overcoming heartbreak and learning self-acceptance, and these themes resonated with me. Also, I’m very good at it, so that feels nice too. The music is fantastic and I have a lot of positive associations with it. I think it’s only natural that I’d end up wanting to chart it.

By most measures I’m literally the best in the world at SWH, but I’m not generally super amazing at games so I think partly it’s because the score hunting community is pretty small. Most of the time if I watch a video of myself playing, I see lots of ways someone could do better, so it’s not like I’m as good as anyone could possibly be. The game means a lot to me, and it (and its small, wonderful community) got me through the hardest part of lockdown, and I think that contributes more than the fact that I have a bunch of WRs to why I want to chart the songs.

Eny’s note: Dama’s scores include the highest sum of individual level scores, highest album arcade (all songs in one run), and highest score on 14 of the 23 levels, and top-3 placements on 7 more.

Are there any other artists or songs that you love outside of Spin Rhythm? Any that you want to chart, but just haven’t gotten around to yet – or you just don’t think their music would be a good fit for Spin Rhythm?

There are tons of songs I’d still like to chart, but I only have so many hours in the day. In the daytime I’m splitting time between my kids and my own projects, and in the evenings I’m usually streaming. I’d like to chart some old school vocal trance stuff sometime, like Paul Oakenfold or Armin van Buuren. There’s a ton of video game music I want to chart too, and I have so many favorite games to pick from. I’ve also only been charting for like 7 months.

Of your charts, are there any that you’re particularly proud of? Which one was the most fun for you to chart?

Interstellar sticks out for me because it’s over 6 minutes long, I charted it fairly quickly, and I think all the diffs are engaging enough for players at those levels that it doesn’t feel like a 6 minute song. I’m also proud of You Say Run, I think it holds up pretty well even now that soft beatholds have been out for a while and the meta has changed somewhat. Flyweight Love is my favorite chart that showcases that you don’t need to have an EDM song to make a good chart.

Any charts that you consider your favourite, or any that you feel got overlooked?

I don’t think I can really complain about my charts being overlooked when almost all of them have been on the front page of Hot this Month/Week at some point.

I think Pick’s Stessie charts are all fantastic, Heat and Havoc from soda is one of my favorites to play, I really like some of Prog’s meganeko charts but they are really hard for me.

A lot of dinx’s charts are really fun and memorable for me; I played so many when I was first getting into customs. Waxamole from juch., which I mentioned earlier. I’m probably forgetting a bunch. As it turns out, I like this game, and I like a lot of charts.

Anything that you have to say about the SpinShare community?

I wish I could get a bit more involved in stuff like hanging in VC and whatever, but with the kids around it can be difficult. So sometimes I feel like I’m not really in the community, but that’s okay. They’re a chaotic bunch, but (and?) they’re all good ones.

You were one of the people who I’ve personally seen to have benefited from getting charting advice, leading to one of the cleanest first charts in existence. So, is there any advice that you’d like to give for charters?

I think some people start out with the idea that they want to be super innovative, break the mold, etc, and that’s great, there’s definitely a place for that. But I think it can be beneficial to learn the “rules” and why they exist first, so that you have a better sense of what kinds of creative boundary-breaking will be unique in a fun way instead of in a way that prevents people from being able to enjoy your work. So I think it’s good to take advice from existing charters until you have a good idea of which advice you can safely ignore.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’m really glad I picked up charting as a hobby. I’ve met some cool people and had some good times. It’s been a nice creative outlet. I had fallen out of the habit of really listening to music until I got started with all this. Now I’ve gotten back an appreciation for it that I’d been missing.

One last thing: one pattern must be made illegal. Which pattern is now illegal?

Okay, I lied. One last thing: Rhythm Spythm?


Charter and Interviewer for SpinShare. Apparently.

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