Before their momentous Eurovision victory with Zitti e Buoni, putting Italian rock again on the world stage and incomes reward from Simon Le Bon and Miley Cyrus; earlier than a baseless accusation of snorting cocaine virtually veered right into a full-blown diplomatic disaster; and earlier than their post-win ping-pong event grew to become a twee secondary narrative, the Italian band Måneskin had already raised eyebrows in Rotterdam, this yr’s host metropolis.
After a rehearsal session ended late, says the bassist, Victoria De Angelis, they have been parched – however realised there was no ingesting water of their lodge rooms. “We went to the lodge reception, however they mentioned there was no water round,” De Angelis says. “So we made it into the kitchen and took some.”
Cameras caught them and the next morning the lodge contacted Måneskin’s administration, claiming that the artists had stolen some water and wanted to pay for it. “And, in fact, we did that!” says De Angelis.
“Yeah, we behaved nicely!” interjects the guitarist, Thomas Raggi. The band members can barely preserve a straight face whereas telling this anecdote – extra paying homage to a summer-school-abroad journey than a music contest that reached 183 million individuals.
Whereas they admit their guilt within the late-night hydration bust, they’re vexed by the unproven coke-snorting allegations, which have been voiced after cameras picked up Damiano David, the frontman, leaning over a desk. David, who mentioned he had been clearing up a smashed glass, later took a drug check, which got here again adverse. “I believe that, if somebody will not be notably good, there’s no cause to criticise them,” he says. “So I noticed this complete factor as: ‘Oh, Måneskin is simply too good, we have now to say he’s snorting.’ I do know it’s not nice to be so self-congratulatory, however, fact is, we carried out very nicely and there was one thing they wanted to discredit us.”
“Damiano barely drinks beer,” provides De Angelis.
“Yeah, he’s such a sfigato, a dork: he goes to mattress at 11pm together with his chamomile tea,” says Raggi.
Måneskin – Danish for moonlight, impressed by De Angelis’s half-Danish heritage – have been established in 2015 and had a stint as buskers on the streets of Rome. They got here second within the 2017 sequence of X Issue Italia, their swaggering rock’n’roll reasonably overshadowing that yr’s winner. After their debut album, Il Ballo della Vita (The Dance of Life), went triple platinum in Italy, they received the 2021 version of the Sanremo music pageant, whose winner turns into the nation’s Eurovision entrant.
Throughout our dialog, they freely discuss over, full and comment on one another’s solutions like Seinfeld characters, alternating between lighthearted mockery and earnest contemplation, all with inventive curiosity and refreshing candour. Whereas they acknowledge how vital Eurovision might be for musicians who don’t sing in English, they are saying they didn’t develop up as followers of the competition.
“We’ve by no means been the most important cult followers,” says David, explaining that, for individuals their age – they have been all born between 1999 and 2001 – Eurovision doesn’t have the resonance it has with older generations. After Toto Cutugno’s victory in 1990, its relevance waned in Italy to the purpose that, between 1998 and 2010, the nation didn’t take part.
“What we’ve all the time tried to do isn’t set any preconceived expectations and notions upon ourselves; one may say that neither X Issue nor Sanremo is the appropriate context for a rock band, however we keep away from such a inflexible mindset. Residing in Italy, it’s exhausting to get a world viewers, however, when you get the appropriate alternative, then the music is the one doing the speaking.”
Their second album, 2021’s Teatro D’Ira: Vol 1, cemented their status as strong stay entertainers and added a tinge of auteur ambition. The band evoke 70s rock with a touch of turn-of-the-millennium nostalgia, straddling a continuum between Led Zeppelin, Crimson Scorching Chili Peppers and Arctic Monkeys in exquisitely tailor-made trousers. They recorded the album stay, and in a secluded rural studio, like so many rock greats earlier than them. “After our first album, once we have been actually younger, we had a second once we stopped and mentioned: what kind of band can we need to be?” David says. This soul-searching lasted for 2 years.
“The work does present extra inventive maturity,” says Raggi, who says they stopped specializing in David’s soulful vocals and created a way of a complete band enjoying: “Our inventive imaginative and prescient is coming into increasingly sharp focus.” The drummer, Ethan Torchio, seconds Raggi, with a touch of nerdiness. “There was an in-depth technical research of our devices – our high quality soar is because of the truth that we labored very exhausting in the direction of the identical objective.”
The group credit the success of Zitti e Buoni to a mix of Italian language and a mainstream sound that was simple for anglophone listeners to acclimatise to. “Zitti e Buoni is a very outdated music of ours,” says David. “It’s considered one of our first tracks in Italian and it was once utterly totally different – it was an acoustic ballad with simply voice and guitar, however we couldn’t provide you with a convincing refrain.” Then, after just a few years, they revived it, due to a riff Raggi composed. “Pssssh! Magic occurred,” says David.
The English-language anthem I Wanna Be Your Slave – which, like Zitti e Buoni, is within the UK High 30 – was a slow-burner, too. “Damiano as soon as despatched an audio notice to our group chat the place he mentioned: ‘Hey, try this banger I got here up with on the piano.’ I used to be hanging out with Thomas, and we mentioned: that seems like shit,” says De Angelis.
It took a piece journey to London, throughout which they transferred it to the bass and utilized distortion, for it to click on. “My audio notice was certainly unhealthy,” David says. “However my bandmates, as artists, ought to have had a minimal of creativeness.”
The facility ballad Vent’Anni (20 Years), which begins with the disclaimer: “I’m solely 20, so don’t be stunned if I generally tend for drama,” is a meditation on being true to your self and your legacy. “Vent’Anni is one other aspect of us: we’re younger, we discuss our lived expertise. There’s rage, anger, aggression, however there’s extra reflective and intimate elements,” says David.
Coraline – my private favorite – combines their signature rock with the poetic imagery of the Italian singer-songwriter custom, a tribute to the Italian cantautori. What begins off as an outline of a lady with hair “like purple roses” and “copper wires” is a research of a personality who continues to be a baby however, in the end, carries the world on her shoulders. “She desires the ocean, however is afraid of water, however possibly the ocean is inside her / Every phrase is an axe, a minimize on her again.”
Måneskin’s success has been framed as an oddity – in Italy and at Eurovision – as a result of they’re a rock band, reasonably than a pop act. Are expertise exhibits not the realm of stiff, songbird-like performers? And is Eurovision not the world of Abba-like bubblegum high-camp?
True, the one rock group to win Eurovision beforehand was the Finnish orc-cosplay band Lordi, in 2006, with the magnificent spectacle of Arduous Rock Hallelujah. However rock entries have been a Eurovision staple since 1956, when Freddy Quinn introduced the rock’n’roll music So Geht Das Jede Nacht. By sporting metallic-leather glam-rock-inspired unitards with slight fetish components, designed by Etro, and through the use of a set that forged imposing shadows on the backdrop, Måneskin delighted audiences with a efficiency that was energetic and chic, demonstrating that not each Eurovision entry must be camp to be memorable.
Plus, whereas English audiences are principally unaware, there’s an Italian rock custom, from the band Premiata Forneria Marconi within the 70s to artists who’ve loved regular mainstream success for the reason that 80s, reminiscent of Vasco Rossi and Gianna Nannini.
In 1979, the prog-rocker turned singer-songwriter Ivano Fossati, who penned a number of the most artistically refined songs for Italian divas (do your self a favour and hearken to Danza), launched La Mia Banda Suona Il Rock. It’s a rock music that has had an enormous vital, industrial and cultural influence in Italy (and makes for an excellent drunken karaoke quantity). The lyrics reward music, particularly rock, because the conduit of common communication: “It seeps into partitions, it breaches doorways and, ultimately, it tells you that your soul will not be useless.” Måneskin are in keeping with this ethos, straddling the road between actuality and escapism. “Music is a approach for us to precise a full vary of feelings,” says Raggi. “The stage is like your magic field, the place you are able to do something you need, since you’re 100% free, and you may specific your self for what you truly are.”
Måneskin acknowledge that their foundations lie in English-language acts, such because the aforementioned Chili Peppers and Led Zeppelin, plus REM and, within the case of Torchio, “a number of prog rock”. Nonetheless, De Angelis highlights 80s and 90s Italian rock bands, reminiscent of Marlene Kuntz, whose songs mix noise rock and the Italian singer-songwriter custom; Verdena, who draw from grunge; and the alt-rock band Afterhours. “Certain, the pop-indie-trap dominance in Italy is plain, however then alongside got here Måneskin,” says De Angelis. “There’s a brand new dominance now!” David says.
They’ve already bought out most dates in Italian live performance halls for his or her 2021-22 tour and are reserving appearances at main European festivals, reminiscent of Rock am Ring in Germany. Rolling Stone Italia has remarked that, when singing in Italian, they danger being huge fish in a small pond, whereas, in English, they danger being goldfish within the ocean. However, they’re clearly adapting to the brand new ecosystem.