Rock in Rio: Måneskin talks to CNN about freedom, fame and first world tour

Rock in Rio: Måneskin talks to CNN about freedom, fame and first world tour

No matter how you pronounce their name: the Italian rock group Måneskin is possibly one of the most famous and successful in global music right now.

This week, they landed in Brazil for two performances. On this Thursday (8), they will perform on the Mundo do Rock in Rio 2022 opening for headliner Armas e Rosas .

On Friday (9), the band will play a show with practically sold out tickets at Espaço Unimed, in São Paulo.

“We’ve never been to Latin America and we’ve never played there. But of course we know something about the people there and we know that they are… crazy. So we like that kind of audience and we can’t wait to play there”, says the vocalist. Damiano David The CNN.

In 2021, Måneskin – composed of, in addition to Damiano, the bassist Victoria De Angelis the guitarist Thomas Raggi and the drummer Ethan Torchio – won Europe’s biggest music competition, Eurovision, and hasn’t looked back since.

They scored three top hits on the Billboard rock charts: their absolute viral and Frankie Vallie cover of “Beggin” as well as “I Wanna be Your Slave” and “Supermodel”.

The group was also recently nominated for two MTV Video Music Awards (VMA), including “Best New Artist”.

They appeared on the “Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”, one of the main talk shows in the world, and were featured on the traditional American show “Saturday Night Live”.

Just over a year ago, the four rockers were little-known musicians playing in the streets of Rome and fighting with other street performers for a corner spot that would attract more people.

Now, attracting a crowd is as simple as announcing your next show.

In July, they played to a sold-out crowd of 70,000 at the iconic Circus Maximus – Rome’s largest entertainment arena and former chariot racing stadium in the Roman Empire – and were invited to perform at some of the world’s biggest music festivals. USA, including Coachella and Lollapalooza .

They are now starting their first world tour, which in addition to concerts in various parts of the United States, includes Europe and Latin America, with dates in Argentina and Chile in addition to Brazil.

Tickets are selling out quickly and the shows will run until 2023.

The correspondent of CNN Maria Santana, caught up with Måneskin in New York before performing to an audience of less than 500 people at the intimate venue “House of X” at a Sirius XM radio event.

In the chat, their meteoric rise to fame, their humble beginnings, the next stops on their world tour, the cover of “king of rock” Elvis Presley for the biopic soundtrack, and why they are defending the people of Ukraine .

The conversation has been edited for clarity.

The first thing I need to ask is how do you pronounce the band’s name?

All: Moan-E-Skin!

CNN : I always listen to Men-Hey-Skin.

Victoria De Angelis: Yeah, it’s okay.

CNN : So, Moãn-E-Skin?

Thomas Raggi: Moãn-E-Skin is perfect.

And what does Måneskin mean?

De Angelis: It means moonlight. I chose it when we started playing because we needed to participate in this music competition, and we didn’t have a name yet, so they just told me to say random words in Danish, and we picked one.

Looking back on this last year, I’m sure it was absolutely crazy for you, where you were a year ago and now.

Damiano David: Yes, it’s been a crazy journey, but of course we’re really happy with everything we’ve done, and every time we look back, every step of the way, we’re super happy and proud.

What was the most surprising, perhaps the most exciting thing that happened to you in the last year?

Raggi: I think we had a lot of amazing moments over the past year. Maybe an Iggy Pop song is one of those, of course, and playing with the Stones. I mean a lot, it’s been a lot.

Now you’re filling stadiums with 70,000 people, selling tickets to 80,000, and you said it was very difficult for you to find a place to play in Italy. What was it like when you guys started?

De Angelis: It was very difficult because in Rome there is no real rock scene, so there are no clubs wanting bands to play their stuff, and also people are not very used to going to concerts by newbie artists.

They only go to famous people they already know, so it was really hard and that’s why we started playing like street artists. We were always fighting with other artists for the best spot, and we never won, but… [risos].

And then you did Eurovision, how did that change your lives?

David: I think it was our first real window outside Italy. Since that moment we were just basing our projects for Italy and Italy and this was the chance to break out in Europe, then from Europe to the US, and we hope to grow more and more.

What was it like to win for Italy? It’s been 30 years since Italy won Eurovision, and then you win with rock n’ roll, a genre that isn’t very strong there?

Raggi: Yeah, that’s crazy.

David: That was unexpected, I think, for everyone.

De Angelis: Yes, everyone was very proud, big celebration.

Often times, Eurovision winners have that big moment and then disappear. What do you think makes you different for being able to take this and catapult so much and become this worldwide phenomenon?

David: I think, for us, Eurovision came at a very right time because we had just released an album, so what we brought to Eurovision was basically just one of the things on the whole album and it was fresh, and it was super authentic for we. So I think people were happy to find a lot of consistency between what we brought to Eurovision and what they saw in our catalogue. They felt, OK, this is not just a viral song that they made specifically for Eurovision, but it’s just one of their songs and so they have two albums, and it all makes sense.

Then you release “Beggin,” which becomes the most successful rock song of the past year. I mean I woke up every morning for the last year and I was like [cantando] “I’m beggin’, beggin’ you”… [risos]

David: Yeah, it’s our fault, it’s our fault [risos]. Well, it’s not even our fault because we don’t even promote it. It’s TikTok’s fault. It just went viral. We were quite shocked by this. When we saw it growing, we were like, “What’s going on?”, and then we found out it was going viral on TikTok and everything that happened after that.

Why this song? It’s a cover of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, and I can’t think of a more different style than you and The Four Seasons.

De Angelis: We actually played in the beginning, when we started, and we found it much more challenging and fun to cover very different songs. Then, like now, we’re also playing Britney Spears’ “Womanizer,” for example, and we found it challenging and stimulating.

You also covered “If I Can Dream” for the Elvis movie. What was it like singing an Elvis song? I mean, you know, “The King of Rock n’ Roll”.

David: Well, every time we have great moments, we try not to think about it too much, because then you get anxious and you feel the pressure. When we had the chance to play an Elvis cover, we didn’t feel like we were confronting Elvis because that would be impossible, you can’t try to fight Elvis’ heritage. We were super happy and honored just to have the chance to play one of their songs, and we focused on that. We focused on doing the best we could on this song without even comparing it to Elvis, because, of course, it’s untouchable.

Now you have a VMA award and a third No. 1 song on the Billboard charts, “Supermodel”. Can you tell me what the song is about?

De Angelis: The funny thing is, everyone thinks it’s about supermodels, but it’s not. We wrote it after three months in Los Angeles, where we met a lot of people who pretended to be supermodels or superstars. Everyone was too focused on how they looked and not what they really are or who they really were. Everyone was just trying to pretend they had the best clothes, best friends, best club, that sort of thing, and we thought it was a little stupid, sure, but it was something that we thought was only shown in movies, like a stereotype, you know, but when we saw it in person, we thought it was fun and we wanted to make a funny song about it.

I can say that no one in New York is like that. We are very real. If you had to make a song about New York, what would it be about?

DeAngelis: Ohhh… [risos]… we need to spend more months here.

David: I think it would be like a club song, super lewd [risos].

You sing in English and Italian, but we have a lot of Italian singers who are big in Latin America, and they sing in Spanish – Laura Pausini, Eros Ramazzotti, Il Volo. Do you think you would ever sing in Spanish?

David: Why not?

De Angelis: In Spanish?

David: I basically listen to music that sounds Spanish, so I wouldn’t go back… [risos].

You will tour and go to Latin America. What is it like to go to all these places, is it a culture shock?

David: Yeah, you know, we’ve never been, outside of Ethan, we’ve never been to Latin America, and we’ve never played there, but of course, we know something about the people there, and we know they’re pretty crazy… [risos] … Excited, hot, and we like that kind of audience. So, we can’t wait to play there, and it was one of the places that surprised me the most. When I saw the places we were selling tickets, it was like “what the f*** is this?”, “how did we get there?”. It was crazy so we can’t wait to be there.

How has fame changed you, if at all?

De Angelis: I don’t think it changed us.

David: I’m less worried about things actually. I think I’m stable… [risos].

Do you feel that fame, when you’re so well known, comes with the responsibility to speak out on certain political issues? Many artists say “I am an artist, not a politician or an activist”.

De Angelis: Yeah, for us, I think it comes naturally, so when we think we know enough about a topic, and we think our opinion can, like, make a difference or something that we don’t feel like a pressure or something. This comes naturally, and we are happy to do so. Also, if we can share a positive message about something that really matters to us, we would be happy to do so. If not, we don’t feel the pressure of having to do it either.

You did a song in support of Ukraine, “We’re Gonna Dance on Gasoline”, how do you feel about this situation?

David: It’s really hard to say that because we feel really bad about it, but we also know that we have a huge privilege, no worries, we’re not worried about something happening to us. So if we can spread knowledge about it, we’re more than happy, and we feel like we have to because this is something that’s happening today and if we can do something today, it has more value.

One of their first songs was “Zitti E Buoni”, which means “Shut Up and Behave”. It doesn’t look like you’re going to shut up or behave any time soon.

De Angelis: No, not at all.

What is the next step?

De Angelis: I don’t know, we feel very free. We just want to keep playing. We have so many amazing shows and tours ahead of us, so I think we’re really going to enjoy it and get all the inspiration we can from that and then turn it into music. We don’t want to set specific goals, but we just want to keep going and see what happens and keep improving and doing what we think is right.

Source: CNN Brasil