In the spring of 2021, during the last lurches of that never-ending lockdown, rock bands across the planet were getting ready to come out of hibernation. Meanwhile, Italian quartet Måneskin were winning the Eurovision Song Contest and becoming an overnight sensation.
Their spicy, riff-driven track Zitti E Buoni took the top prize at Eurovision. It also peaked at No.17 in the UK singles chart – the highest for an Italian-language song in three decades.
Of course, it isn’t unheard of for us lot to grumble at X Factor, the Eurovision Song Contest and the like, but Måneskin’s rise started years prior. Frustrated by a lack of opportunities for unsigned bands in Italy, they played restaurants, parties and even on the streets of Rome.
Now they’ve all but sold-out London’s O2 Arena ahead of a show this May, putting their zesty, strut-heavy brand of glam-rock in front of millions. Lead vocalist Damiano David and bassist Victoria De Angelis tell us what 2023 holds for them.
After winning Eurovision in 2021, and all the attention that came with that, how did 2022 pan out for you?
Victoria De Angelis: We’ve done a bunch of crazy stuff that we never expected to do. We’ve toured basically everywhere, played in all these cities, met a lot of cool people, played TV shows, festivals, so we’re really excited.
Damiano David: Things go quicker, and you have to make decisions faster, but we always try to do things that we believe in.
Before Eurovision, you were runners-up on X Factor Italia in 2017. There’s sometimes a perception that these avenues are shortcuts to success. Do you worry that you won’t be taken seriously as a rock band?
DD: I would say traditional rock fans aren’t our target [laughs].
VDA: When we play, people can be like: ‘This is not real rock because it’s on TV, so it’s shit!’ We don’t care about it, because if you’re really passionate about music you should judge the music and not where it comes from. It’s not our goal to convince rock’n’roll fans that we’re real rock. We’re just doing our own thing. Especially when we’ve had the pleasure of playing with legends like Iggy Pop, the Stones, Guns N’ Roses, and even they don’t think about it, so other people shouldn’t either. At least we’re not playing trap or hip-hop!
Away from Eurovision, what do you think it is about Måneskin that has appealed to the mainstream?
DD: If we talk about analogue music in the past ten years, I think we filled an empty spot. Also our live performance; we see less and less actual performance and more backing tracks and DJ sets. Perhaps with Eurovision, people saw that we were actually playing. It was just the four of us with a lot of noise and music. I think that’s what stands out and makes us a bit different to the majority of mainstream artists.
What’s the strangest thing that’s happened to the band this year?
DD: Chatting with the Red Hot Chili Peppers like we know them. We did a lot of crazy shit hanging out with Beck. Or having James Hetfield from Metallica in our dressing room without knowing it!
How’s your third album shaping up?
DD: We’re finally done fighting over everything: the cover, the track-list, the whole thing [laughs]. I think the next one is gonna be more complicated personality-wise. You’re gonna have to see it from different points of view and perspectives to understand it. The cool thing is that it shows the differences between the four of us. Not with one topping the other, but more like putting our differences together to make good music.
Has there been more pressure this time round?
VDA: The moment we’re in the studio we try to forget about it and do what we like, otherwise it would be boring and fake. The thing that makes us especially upset is that we don’t get much time. We’ve been through this crazy year and didn’t have the chance to record the songs, listen to them and change things. This can be interesting because it’s instinctive, so just what we did in the moment, but at the same time it takes away the thinking and being a hundred per cent sure of every detail. It’s more of a rush.
Is singing in both Italian and English part of the band’s identity?
DD: Yeah, I think it’s a part of our identity and not a responsibility, but we almost have to do it because we’re representing Italy. It would be a huge pity to give up Italian music, because from a certain point of view it’s what made us successful.
You pulled out of Reading/Leeds festivals this year to perform at the MTV Video Music Awards. Was that a band or management decision?
DD: Whenever we have schedule conflicts it’s very hard for us to choose because we would love to do everything. When you have a huge amount of opportunities it’s hard to be a hundred per cent focused and choose the right thing. There’s a lot of pressure, but it was a band decision. We never let anybody force us to do things. We still can’t say if it was the right thing to do, it was just what we thought was best for our health in the moment.
You’re playing the O2 Arena in May and it’s sold out. That’s some good going.
DD: We don’t know why, but we’re very good at selling tickets [laughs]. Our first tour in Italy sold out in, like, seven minutes. It’s like there’s this magic spell on us but we don’t really know the reason.
VDA: We’re good live, I guess!