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We speak to Yotaro Shuto experimental musician and producer of “2020 THE SEMI MODULAR BEAT-MACHINE” about his beat-focused experimental software. It looks and sounds immense!

See also: Electro Drum Patterns.

Interview with Yotaro Shuto, creator of the 2020 SEMI MODULAR BEAT-MACHINE

Can you tell us about yourself, as a musician and as a software producer?

My name is Yotaro Shuto. I’m a musician based in Tokyo, Japan, and one of an electronic music duo called DUB-Russell. I’m obsessed with beats, so I built a beat machine.

Actually I wasn’t a programmer, I got into audio programming after I discovered Cycling’74 Max, learned C language to make Max objects, and then C++ so I could make my apps.
Now that I could make 2020, maybe it’s time to say I’m a programmer.

What gave you this idea?

There’s a video from 15 years ago on YouTube, check it out.

The basic concept hasn’t changed at all, right down to 2020 THE SEMI MODULAR BEAT-MACHINE. I’m a slacker, and I’m not musically gifted enough to write down the music that’s playing in my head on a timeline. So, with the help of math and probability, I continued to create software that allows me to create my music on the fly, with the same feeling I have with Elektron Machinedrum for myself.

When compiling it as an app, I was inspired by many Sci-Fi movies. The name 2020 and the default color scheme were inspired by the animation movie AKIRA.

How long did you take to make it from conception to finalizing code?

I’ve been building my own beat machine for so long, I think it’s more than 15 years.

What tips would you give someone just starting out with 2020? Where/how should they start?

As you can see, there are knobs all over the place, so it must seem very complicated. I’m a “bit” maximalist, so I crammed a lot of modules in there. Think of it like when you get a new hardware beat machine or modular synth rack. First, learn how to use the basic GUI. then try to learn the placement of each module and figure out the sound character of each one. By the time you have a map of the modules written in your brain, you will surely be good at exploring your sounds.

What is a Higurashi Generator?!

It’s a simple beeper inspired by the sound of evening cicadas heard in the woods at the end of summer. It doesn’t actually sound anything like their sound.

Will it be released on other platforms (ie for PC or as VST?)

I don’t have any plans at this time. I’m planning to prioritize some additional features and improvements first.

Anything else you’d like to say about the product?

Even I, the developer, discover a new sound every time I open 2020. I’m really looking forward to hear some amazing beats from users.

More Info

More info on the 2020 Beat Machine and how to buy it here:

Dub Russell:

You can find all our other interviews here.