Eurovision winners Måneskin: ‘Cocaine? Damiano barely drinks beer!’

Before their momentous Eurovision victory with Zitti e Buoni, inserting 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 nearly veered right into a full-blown diplomatic disaster; and earlier than their post-win ping-pong event turned 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 consuming water of their resort rooms. “We went to the resort reception, however they stated 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 resort contacted Måneskin’s administration, claiming that the artists had stolen some water and wanted to pay for it. “And, after all, we did that!” says De Angelis.

“Yeah, we behaved properly!” interjects the guitarist, Thomas Raggi. The band members can barely preserve a straight face whereas telling this anecdote – extra harking back to a summer-school-abroad journey than a tune contest that reached 183 million folks.

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 stated he had been clearing up a smashed glass, later took a drug take a look at, which got here again destructive. “I believe that, if somebody isn’t significantly good, there’s no motive to criticise them,” he says. “So I noticed this complete factor as: ‘Oh, Måneskin is simply too good, we’ve got to say he’s snorting.’ I do know it’s not nice to be so self-congratulatory, however, reality is, we carried out very properly 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 along with his chamomile tea,” says Raggi.

Prime of the pops … the band rejoice after profitable Eurovision final month. {Photograph}: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Photos

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 collection of X Issue Italia, their swaggering rock’n’roll relatively overshadowing that yr’s winner. After their debut album, Il Ballo della Vita (The Dance of Life), went triple platinum in Italy, they gained the 2021 version of the Sanremo music competition, 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 creative curiosity and refreshing candour. Whereas they acknowledge how essential Eurovision could 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 folks 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 at all times tried to do is rarely 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 arduous to get a world viewers, however, when you get the appropriate alternative, then the music is the one doing the speaking.”

‘Magic occurred’ … watch the video for Zitti e Buoni.

Their second album, 2021’s Teatro D’Ira: Vol 1, cemented their popularity 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 Sizzling 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 stated: what kind of band can we wish to be?” David says. This soul-searching lasted for 2 years.

“The work does present extra creative maturity,” says Raggi, who says they stopped specializing in David’s soulful vocals and created a way of a complete band enjoying: “Our creative imaginative and prescient is coming into increasingly more 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 leap is because of the truth that we labored very arduous in the direction of the identical aim.”

The group credit the success of Zitti e Buoni to a mixture of Italian language and a mainstream sound that was simple for anglophone listeners to acclimatise to. “Zitti e Buoni is a extremely outdated tune of ours,” says David. “It’s one in all our first tracks in Italian and it was once utterly completely different – it was an acoustic ballad with simply voice and guitar, however we couldn’t provide you with a convincing refrain.” Then, after a number of 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 Prime 30 – was a slow-burner, too. “Damiano as soon as despatched an audio word to our group chat the place he stated: ‘Hey, try this banger I got here up with on the piano.’ I used to be hanging out with Thomas, and we stated: that feels 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 word was certainly dangerous,” 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 shocked if I tend for drama,” is a meditation on being true to your self and your legacy. “Vent’Anni is one other facet of us: we’re younger, we speak about our lived expertise. There’s rage, anger, aggression, however there’s extra reflective and intimate components,” 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 needs the ocean, however is afraid of water, however possibly the ocean is inside her / Every phrase is an axe, a reduce 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, relatively 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 Exhausting Rock Hallelujah. However rock entries have been a Eurovision staple since 1956, when Freddy Quinn offered the rock’n’roll tune So Geht Das Jede Nacht. By carrying metallic-leather glam-rock-inspired unitards with slight fetish parts, 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 stylish, demonstrating that not each Eurovision entry must be camp to be memorable.

Browsing a wave of success … David in the course of the finale of X Issue Italia in 2017. {Photograph}: Stefania D’Alessandro/Getty Photos

Plus, whereas English audiences are largely unaware, there’s an Italian rock custom, from the band Premiata Forneria Marconi within the 70s to artists who’ve loved regular mainstream success because the 80s, reminiscent of Vasco Rossi and Gianna Nannini.

In 1979, the prog-rocker turned singer-songwriter Ivano Fossati, who penned a few of the most artistically refined songs for Italian divas (do your self a favour and take heed to Danza), launched La Mia Banda Suona Il Rock. It’s a rock tune that has had an enormous important, business and cultural influence in Italy (and makes for an awesome drunken karaoke quantity). The lyrics reward music, particularly rock, because the conduit of common communication: “It seeps into partitions, it breaches doorways and, in the long run, it tells you that your soul isn’t useless.” Måneskin are according to this ethos, straddling the road between actuality and escapism. “Music is a manner for us to specific 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’ll specific your self for what you really 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, “loads 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. “Positive, 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 offered 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 large 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.

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