We catch up with the Unblock Music boss as he prepares to drop a new EP on Cassy's label Kwench Records
Over the past 10 years or so, Giuseppe Tuccillo has emerged as a highly regarded and always reliable provider of deep and tech house grooves, with releases on a Who's Who of respected labels including King Street, Purple Music, Defected, Peppermint Jam, 2020Vision, Holic Trax, Oblack Label, Visionquest, Roush and more, as well of course as his own Unblock Music label.
His career actually dates back to the late 90s, though - that's when his first releases appeared on legendary Italian label UMM. Somewhere in-between those early outings and the late 00s, the Italian DJ became a regular on the decks at the finest clubs in Ibiza, relocating to the island for over a decade before moving to Valencia, where he's currently based (though he was back in Ibiza this summer to host his Déjà Vu night at HEART, where guests for the 2018 season included the big-hitting likes of DJ Sneak, Tony Humphries, Jellybean Benitez and Satoshi Tomiie).
That's 20 years in the game, in one way or another - yet he's never previously featured in iDJ. So with new EP Questions dropping on Cassy's Kwench Records this Friday (16 November), now seemed like the ideal time to rectify that...
Your next release is the Questions EP on Cassy's Kwench Records. How did you come to hook up with Cassy in the first place?
"I met Cassy in Ibiza some years ago. We share many good moments and friends. A few months ago, we met again at Ibiza airport, where she talked to me about the label, and quickly we start to talk about collaborating."
The cover art for the Questions EP bears a marked similarity to St Germain's 'Boulevard' - was that a homage/cheeky nod or just coincidence?
"Sincerely, I just realised is like the great piece of art of St Germain! It’s a coincidence, but it’s a good coincidence."
Talk us through the EP - if you had to review the three tracks for iDJ, how would you describe them?
"100% Tucci sounds! Questions is a pure house music jam, with samples from vinyl on Akai. Those sounds - lo-fi and old school. Get Loca is totally different - the arrangement is more complex, and it’s more worked-on sounds and chords The bass ARP is composed from three different synths! People’s Dreams is also a house piece with a hot sub-percussive FM sound from the Yamaha DX7, and shots of dub vocals on a killer groove. I think it is a good pack to choose your favourite from and play it loud!"
Your work has featured on some of the most respected labels around, from Defected to King Street to 2020Vision to Freerange and more. Were there any of those that you were particularly stoked to work with?
"That's a hard question. Behind of each label is a musician, producer or DJ, and most of them are friends. In my case we could say that the music brings the friendship and vice versa. I feel really proud to have the opportunity to release during those years on great labels like Ovum, Holic Trax, 2020Vision, Freerance, Visionquest, Circus Company, Isgud, King Street, Defected, UMM, Get Physical, Kwench Records and many others."
Your work has also spanned a range of styles, from house to chill-out to nu-disco. Is it important to you to keep things varied like that… or was that perhaps a necessary process before settling into your own unique groove?
"For me, it is important at the time of producing to have the freedom to create what comes out in the moment, and not having a fixed goal. I have been producing for a long time and I always had the concept to produce music without relying on a single style. It’s important to respect all genres and choose what most excites you, and create with these bases."
You started out on legendary Italian label UMM… as the label relaunched last year, is there any more work with them in the pipeline?
"UMM was a reference in the 90s in Italy. I started to collect music around 1992-93. The boom of the house music in this moment was amazing and every release was really a bomb. One of my more special releases was on UMM... but no more bullets at the moment. "
This summer you hosted your own night Déjà Vu in Ibiza, with an impressive line-up of guests. Tell us about that.
"This summer was amazing. I was really happy to collaborate with HEART Ibiza. It’s a new concept on the island with art, music and performance all at the core of what the venue offers. I see the club as a contemporary laboratory, with so many different events happening which I’d love people to see. There are great sound and lighting systems and amazing productions, combined with a gastronomic experience and a surprising show.
"My party Déjà Vu was a really good party and a big surprise. The guests invited are also great producers and part of the history of the music. Déjà Vu means something that you already felt or experienced, so the concept was to travel in time with music leading the way. I’m honoured to have brought in artists like Tony Humphries, Tedd Patterson, Francesco Farfa, Satoshi Tomiie, DJ Sneak, Tomoki Tamura, Tato, Willie Graff , Tania Vulcano, Dj Pippi and Ralph Lawson. From disco to house, we were all flirting with the classics and bringing back rare music."
Is it fair to say that Ibiza has been an important part of getting you where you are today?
"Of course! Ibiza for me has been really important. If we are the sum total of our experiences, my biggest investment in life was to travel to Ibiza. It will be always in my heart - wherever I go I’m still on the island. Nature, love and music; Ibiza is really magical. I met the girl of my life here and we’ve now been together for 18 happy years. And getting into the clubbing scene gave me the opportunity to show my work to the world, travel, meet different producers, DJs and musicians. I was in the right place in the right moment.
"But like us, places change and evolve. Three years ago, we moved to Valencia. Our lifestyle is very similar to Ibiza as we live in a country area but close to the town and airport, with nature and good weather. We try to live in a creative way."
Finally, what else is going on in Tuccillo's world right now that iDJ readers need to know about?
"After the Kwench Records EP, my next step is in collaboration with Shaun Reeves with an EP for Visionquest, and another will be released on our vinyl-only label Shantu, which Shaun and I launched last year. I’ll also be dropping an EP for Archie Hamilton’s new label MOSS.CO Records, and be going on the road with Satoshi Tomiie, Ralph Lawson and Tomoki Tamura.
"I’m living a moment where I don’t care much about the music format - vinyl or digital. For a long time, I was seduced by the return of vinyl and I became a purist, fighting to keep alive this format. After many efforts, I realised that it’s limiting to launch only for vinyl lovers. I have a lot of fans and if I don’t also release in digital, it would be difficult to continue.
"I’m content with the fact that it’s the music that rules, I’m happy to share records and discover how diverse my fanbase is. I don’t want to be involved in music in a standard way, or to lose my energy fighting for online publicity, statistics and the rest. I started to see more channels, like Bandcamp for example, where I located my label Unblock and started with some vinyl releases. I had a great response. A few weeks later I launched some exclusive digital EPs and I’m really happy with the method and the results."
Words: Russell Deeks
Tuccillo's Questions EP is out on Kwench Records on 16 November
Tags: Tuccillo, Unblock Music, HEART Ibiza, Déjà Vu, UMM, Cassy, Kwench Records, Ralph Lawson, Satoshi Tomiie, Ralph Lawson, Tomoki Tamura, Archie Hamilton, Shantu, Shaun Reeves, DJ Sneak, Tony Humphries, Jellybean Benitez