A Spinterview With smb: Stylish, Meticulous, Brilliant

"Hey smb, lets talk"

According to Spotify’s page for investors, the streaming service offers over 70 million songs. 70 million songs on Spotify alone, and countless more in the world – millions more released to the public, and millions more which may never see the light of day. With so many songs, the one thing almost all charters desire is the ability to chart faster, so they can chart all the music they like. Charting a single song can tend to be a longer process for many. For smb, however? He could finish one, and then start another in the time it takes to watch The Fellowship of the Ring.

With over 100 charts and no signs of slowing down anytime soon, smb has built up a vast, vast collection, with a little something for everyone. Being responsible for nearly a third of all Monstercat charts on SpinShare is quite a feat, and one of many – he’s also charted meganeko’s Sequence Break album, Silentroom’s Rainbow Frontier album, M2U’s Utopia album, on top of several other showcases and individual charts.

Into The Void – Kurokotei | Charted by smb

Speedy, mesmerizing, and bold – even as time goes by, we just can’t seem to get enough of smb’s charts. To get some insight on why smb’s charts have us all helplessly addicted, let’s talk with smb.

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

I had known about the game since its release, but never played it until a friend of mine let me borrow his Steam library to try it out. Once I started playing, I was instantly hooked. It took me a while to actually play it from when I first heard about it, solely because I didn’t feel like spending $20 until I realized it was worth it.

What made you decide to chart for Spin Rhythm?

This is completely unironic, but I loved creating levels in Geometry Dash. Creation for music based games has always been something I want to do with nearly every rhythm or music game I play. I never really got a decent hold on the intricacies of the Geometry Dash editor, but the SRXD editor was very intuitive and I started making good charts, albeit after some pretty bad first charts. My first chart I ever made was when I had less than 3 hours in the game.

smb 02/11/2021
I bet you can guess how that went

imfallinfree 02/11/2021
oh yes good old into the void

smb 02/11/2021
it is a chart
that is still on SpinShare
go play it

imfallinfree 02/11/2021
good chart

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

If the song is good, I chart it. If it has lots of noises, I chart it. If it has overlaying synth chords, I chart beat holds. If it has a growl or gritty noise, I chart a rifle. If it has wubs, I chart sliders, and if it has quick repeating noises, I chart matches and taps. If it has a kick, I chart a beat. Every song has a different design based upon all of these, which I would consider “Fundamentals” for replicating my charting. I go from the first second to the last beat, and as the process goes, I continue to evolve upon the ideas that I come up with during the first parts of the chart, to eventually lead to a chart that has intricate differences between parts but overall plays extremely well, and has the best flow I can create for it.

飄える翼追い掛けて – Camellia feat. Camellia | Charted by Kali & smb

imfallinfree 02/11/2021
man i love using that type of repetition in articles
but the readability analyzer is going to kill me for keeping that in
fingers crossed it lets me get away with it

smb 02/11/2021
we hate the readability analyzer

imfallinfree 02/11/2021
we do

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 know my style better than I do. I just chart what I hear. I know I use a lot of slider-spin patterns, as well as using beat holds to replicate the feel of pressing down a chord on a piano or a synthesizer. Other than that I think I chart like any other person would personally (maybe minus the rifling).

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

I like Stride’s charting, as well as Kali and juch.. They are great charters and have nearly perfected how they like to bring a song to life within the game. I think I’m still chasing the perfection in my own charting that makes the music feel like it’s being played out upon the track. I looked up to them in the early days of my charting for heavy pattern inspiration, but now I mostly keep what I do to my own feeling of how a song should play. It’s weird because apparently people look up to my charts for inspiration now, which is absolutely wild to me.

If there’s any one thing that you’ve become somewhat infamous for, it would be your frequent usage of rifles – the Say It rifle being the most notorious of them all. What is it about the rifle that makes it one of your preferred patterns? How do you feel about the response that your rifles tend to evoke?

YWSS [01] – Say It – Kazyo | Charted by kaddalaug & smb

IMO, it’s the best way to properly chart a gritty-type noise that’s very prominent in lots of heavier electronic music. People have mixed feelings based upon how long the rifle is, how fast the color swap is, does it do any other wacky movements, etc.. I just like the feel of curving my hand to the extreme in a direction when I hear a hard growling noise.

One thing that’s notable is how quickly you seemed to have risen in the community, having released your first chart in July, before exploding in popularity in late September. It’s possibly one of the fastest growths I’ve seen. Do you attribute this sudden rise to anything? Was it a matter of getting the hang of charting incredibly quickly, or just simple luck?

I think of it as a supply and demand type relationship that caused me to become a “prominent” charter. I started to understand the intricacies of the game’s mechanics when I was working on the “Sequence Break” album by meganeko. Once I thought I had a full grasp I started charting a lot more, which led me to have one of the fastest chart release paces within the community. People wanted to play good charts more and more as the charting meta became more and more sophisticated. It got to a point where I was supplying enough nearly on my own for people to play.

With each chart I gained experience, and I started to fly when I started my Monstercat charting phase which is still going today. I account for roughly 35% of all songs under the Monstercat label on SpinShare. I suddenly went from 10-15 charts a month to nearly 30, with each one keeping the quality and improving on the last’s mistakes. People took notice, I believe, and started to play my charts and enjoyed them. My charting speed is so quick, we’ve gone from me being “Darnoc @ home” to Darnoc being “smb @ home”. I wouldn’t say it was luck. Rather it was me imposing my will of a chart everyday, so people would have to make an effort to not play my charts.

This fast rise can also likely be attributed to how, one day, you suddenly found yourself charting at an incredible rate. This speed has led you to become one of the most prolific charters to date – with over 100 charts in your library. So – what draws you to creating so many charts? Does it get tiring or exhausting, or does it draw out even more creativity? Has the constant output affected the reception that your charts have received?

I’ve been tuning out the reception my charts have been getting since about mid-December. One day I just said “screw it” and decided to chart whatever the hell I wanted. Wallmonger is a huge example of this. In general, I try to do new things that I didn’t do in the previous chart, so I usually end up having a wide variety of game feel based upon the fact that I try to avoid certain patterns more than once between charts (and even within charts).

Wallmonger – Virtual Riot | Charted by smb

I chart a lot because I have a passion for it – to see a song slowly become playable within a game I enjoy so much is extremely satisfying. I rarely get exhausted from charting; I’ll sleep after one is done, and then the next day, I feel reinvigorated for the next song that I want to do.

smb 02/11/2021
kinda answered that in reverse order

What makes your constant output even more outstanding is how many players have commented on the variety in your charts. When it comes to charting the same sound, you’re known for finding multiple ways to chart that sound. How do you resist the temptation to copy and paste? Does this insistence on variety make charting easier or harder? How has it benefited your charts?

Contrary to popular belief, I do copy and paste. What I don’t do is copy and paste, and then leave it without changes. This is what usually leads to my experimentation with charting different sounds different ways. The way I see it is the Tap, Hold, and Spin functions are almost entirely swappable. Sometimes I change spins into sliders, change a slider to just a tap, but I mostly tinker around with every available asset to see if a different element works in place of an element I’ve already used. That’s how I add variety down to the note. Personally I’ve charted so much it just comes naturally, so it’s fairly easy to me. My charts benefit from a continued originality throughout the chart which I think many appreciate.

One thing of note is how you shifted main playstyles sometime in mid-November, from Freewheel to Turntable. Has this shift in playstyles affected your approach to charting? If so, how? 

I stopped charting bad turntable patterns and started charting things based upon my new limitations with Turntable gameplay. I think it actually enhanced my overall chart quality. The phrase “limitations bring out creativity” comes to mind. As turntable is a bit harder to play and master than the standard freewheel mouse and keyboard play, I had to fit fun gameplay into a mold where I was comfortable playing it on turntable.

Fly Wit Me – Camellia | Charted by smb

This has resulted in probably my best feeling charts to date coming out most recently; the Difficulty 59 chart “Fly Wit Me” is as hard on turntable as it is on freewheel, mainly due to the fact that I charted the difficulty to where I could still comfortably play it. I think playing turntable has allowed me to create hard charts where I’m no longer scared to go all in, since I now know the limitations for CTM.

Even with a library of over a hundred charts, Monstercat takes up a good portion of it. Your Monstercat charts account for nearly a third of all Monstercat charts on the site. At one point, you were releasing at least one every day. It’s a bit silly to ask when Monstercat as a label encompasses such a broad spectrum of genres and artists, but – what is it about the songs that Monstercat has under their belt that draws you to chart them so frequently?

I like Monstercat songs. I listened to them a lot in the past couple years, and I enjoyed what the label put out. So it was like, a perfect fit to chart for Spin Rhythm and see the Monstercat songs, and then instantly think of 10 other Monstercat songs I’ve heard and love that I would be able to chart. It’s an incredible label, so much so that I pay $5 a month for high quality audio, because I know there will be at least 2 releases that month I want to chart.

imfallinfree 02/11/2021
I still find it funny how
You chart so fast
That there’s been times you’ve finished charts before the songs even released

smb 02/11/2021
Back 2 U by Droptek
Ember by CRaymak, Fransis Derelle, and HVDES
Flip Reset by Kaskade

imfallinfree 02/11/2021
Is one of those there that one song where like
It got temporarily taken down
Meaning for a time
It was technically a SpinShare exclusive

smb 02/11/2021
Flip Reset is the most prominent tho
It literally released a good 12 hours before the song unlocked in the Americas
I don’t believe any were taken down

imfallinfree 02/11/2021
I must be misremembering then

smb 02/11/2021
yeah flip reset was the SpinShare exclusive
That showcase vid has 1.9k views on YouTube
versus 20-30 views for every other song

One of your first major charting projects was meganeko’s Sequence Break album. What drew you to chart this album so early on as a charter? How has your charting process changed in the months since? In retrospect, how do you feel about these charts nowadays?

Sharkatzor – meganeko | Charted by smb

I also listened to a lot of meganeko. I knew him through Newgrounds and Geometry Dash. When I saw he had released an album, I had just began charting more frequently, so I wanted to tackle a challenge and push myself to chart an entire album. They aren’t the best ever, but each release was a steady increase in quality. You can see the progression through my solo charts on the album – from “is this ok?” to “Sharkatzor” to “Lights, Camera, Action” to “Sunset”. I chart a lot faster than I did then, but I think the progression of a chart has remained the same since I started.

Recently, you’ve also revived SpinShare’s showcase week, with the Rainbow Frontier showcase and tournament. Alongside the typical “what made you want to chart this album” question, this showcase is unique in that it’s the first showcase week that SpinShare has had since TreXDer’s Winter Showdown. What inspired you to revive the showcase week format? Did the format affect the way you approached charting these songs? Was the format ultimately a success, and would you consider doing more showcase weeks?

I mainly wanted to revive the showcase week format when TheWay123 approached me after I was talking about new songs I was charting. I liked the idea and wanted to see it succeed, so I dedicated a lot of time and effort into making sure I could run the smoothest tournament I could, as well as charting 10 songs that are worthy of being the main piece of the tournament.

Aliake – Silentroom | Charted by smb

The format did not affect the songs I charted – rather, the speed of how fast I charted them did, as I had to work pretty quickly to get them done – I did 6 in 2 days. I think the format and tournament overall resulted in a great Top 4 Finals stream, and an incredible weeklong event that showcased a great album and some fantastic charts that I’m very proud of. I’d likely do more showcase weeks in the future, but we have others planned from other great charters, so you won’t see another one from me for a while.

There’s many other showcases that you’ve worked on over the past few months, namely the Xenoblade, James Landino, and Utopia showcases. I’d want to delve into each of them specifically, but then we’d be here all day. Would you mind briefly touching on each of those showcases; from how they were conceived, to how they turned out in the end?

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition OST selection was 6 charts that I grinded out, because I was still riding a high from its release back in May. But I had forgotten about the music until literally October. Those are some of my wacky charts that may not play the best today, but they’re still fun.

imfallinfree 02/11/2021
i’ll finish xcde one day i swear

smb 02/11/2021
just admit it
you won’t

imfallinfree 02/11/2021

that’s probably true

James Landino was a small project that I wanted to tackle after Sequence break with 6 2 minute songs. I love James’s music style, and he is a prominent rhythm game artist (the album is literally an osu! collection), so naturally, it was a perfect fit.

M2U’s album “Utopia” was meant to be a Winter Break project, until I managed to chart 9 songs before that break had even started. I had one day where I charted 3 of the 9 songs. I charted those when I was at the height of my charting style using the DJControl Inpulse 200. If anyone buys that DJ controller, that showcase was meant to be played on it and it only. The feel of the charts comes directly from how I played on the Inpulse before I upgraded in late December, as I intended them to play as fun as possible on that controller.

Milk Tea – M2U | Charted by smb

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?

I literally can’t think of any artist I listen to that I haven’t charted in some capacity. I just looked through my playlists from both last year and [this year]. I’ve charted everyone that I want to chart. I think it would be funny if I did a few Marshmello tracks. He was one of the main EDM artists I listened to a couple years back, but I haven’t been listening as of late.

smb 02/11/2021
im serious this made me look through my 600 song playlist
and nope

imfallinfree 02/11/2021
lmao damn
meanwhile some of my favourite artists and songs haven’t crossed my mind for spin charting

smb 02/11/2021
the harsh reality of having over 100 charts

Alright, now let’s finish up. Of your charts, are there any that you’re particularly proud of? Which one was the most fun for you to chart?

“Dance With Silence” and “Fly Wit Me” by Camellia are my greatest hard difficulty works I have ever created. I’m fairly confident those will stand the test of time in a year or so, and still be a pinnacle of good hard charting. “Valley of Voices” by Kara & Kurokotei is my longest chart to date (as of 2/11/21 [the interview date], this will be broken in literally days). It has a consistent quality and playability that I didn’t know I could do before.

Valley of Voices – Kara & Kurokotei | Charted by smb

For my most favorite chart that I have ever made, it is without a doubt “Home” by Nitro Fun. That is the chart that I believe has nearly zero flaws. And as for my favorite experimental chart, “Wallmonger” by Virtual Riot takes the cake. The coolest thing about this list is the fact that every genre here is varied, which shows that I’m able to take almost any EDM/electronic song and make a good chart out of it, which helps me mark my progress over the past 6 months.

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

“Dantalion” by Team Grimoire, charted by Stride, is one of my favorite extreme difficulty charts. “Elevatia” by Bossfight, charted by dinx, is one of the greatest early charts I ever played. “Liquid Injection” by Tek Genesis, charted by Kali & Stride, is one of my favorite wacky charts. Finally, “Lethaeus” by Silentroom, charted by Stride, is my favorite Arcaea song I have played, and might be my all time favorite chart.

There are too many good charters that pump out consistent quality now. Kali, juch., Stride, PickPig, Programmatic, g4, Kaddalaug, Loosiano, 20/3, Fallin, dinx, Slival, etc.. It makes me feel very honored to be considered one of the best along with all of them. It’s a shame I have so many charts like, because I couldn’t list all of my favorites or else this post would be way too long.

imfallinfree 02/11/2021
one too many charters in there that starts with F and ends with allin
i’ll fix that in the final article

smb 02/11/2021
no anime

Anything that you have to say about the SpinShare community?

We have plenty of personalities, and plenty of people to talk to and hang out with. We’re a tightly knit group that is generally fairly open to newer players. As for my own experience, I wouldn’t trade all the time spent with them for anything.

Any advice that you’d like to give for charters?

Chart what you think works. Don’t be afraid to ask people like me “is this all right?” because we will help you. Don’t be afraid to not chart a pattern because you think it will be received poorly. Instead, ask for guidance and figure out how you can make that pattern you’re thinking of playable. And finally, chart what you want to play, not what you think others will want to play.

I was plagued for too long thinking about how people will think about a certain chart, when I wasn’t having fun with it myself. Enjoying yourself is always more important than seeking the validation of others. I always tell people who ask me about patterns “you can chart it however you like as long as you enjoy it, because it’s likely I’ll enjoy it, too.”

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

smb 02/11/2021
play turntable 🙂

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

Same lane tap color swaps that lack a match note in between. Those are awful.

imfallinfree 02/11/2021
I lied, just one more thing I want to ask
hey smb?

smb 02/11/2021
Camellia Feat. Camellia


Spin Rhythm XD charter and SSSO Playtester. Interviewer for SpinShare.

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