Words: Molly Frost
Images: Paolo Santambrogio
The Italian Rockers Taking Eurovision, and the World, by storm!
If you have logged onto the internet just once in 2021, I have no doubt you will have heard of the Italian alt-rock band, Måneskin. The lovechild of four school friends; Damiano David, Victoria de Angelis, Ethan Torchio, and Thomas Raggi; since forming in 2016, they’ve gone on to place second on the Italian X Factor, and dominate this year’s Eurovision as its mighty champions.
Musically, Måneskin stretch across a vast expanse of genres. Their 2017 debut album, Chosen, featured several covers of popular hits, such as Madcon’s Beggin’ and Ed Sheeran’s You Need Me, I Don’t Need You; unfortunately, this received very little praise outside of Italy. Following a stint in London between 2019 and 2020, intended to provide the backdrop needed to develop both their sound and their look, the band bounced back in early 2021 with Teatro D’ira Vol. I, an album packed with original music, which undeniably pulls influence from both modern and classic rock. The band themselves have cited a wide range of inspiration, from Led Zeppelin to Arctic Monkeys, and this amalgamation of old and new results in a fresh and exciting sound that does not disappoint.
Today, they boast fifty-one million monthly listeners on Spotify, putting them in the top 20 most listened to artists in the world, and a hefty five million followers on Instagram. Their popularity in Italy has only sought to grow exponentially, and they are now breaking onto both the mainstream and alt-rock music scenes everywhere from the UK to the USA. It seems to everyone that’s been paying attention that Måneskin are here to stay. Therefore, as a long-term listener of alt-rock, recovered emo, and an avid Måneskin fan, it’s only right that I get you all acquainted.
At just twenty-two years old, Damiano David is the oldest member of Måneskin and the last to join the band as its lead vocalist; in spite of this, he has been credited by many as the driving force behind Måneskin’s global success. His striking and looks and timeless vocals, in both English and Italian, have earned him almost instant praise and recognition. Compared to the likes of musical heavyweights, such as Harry Styles and My Chemical Romance frontman, Gerard Way; it’s not hard to see that there’s something to like about Damiano for everyone.
When Måneskin first burst onto UK screens in the May of this year my Twitter timeline was immediately flooded with tweets about Damiano’s now-iconic looks; from declarations of undying love to the less coherent keyboard smashes and emojis we have all become so used to in fan culture: Europe was undoubtedly smitten.
Since the fall of mainstream emo music, the charts have been crying out for a star who can rock a leather jacket and eyeliner combination, and Damiano is that man. Never onstage without a bold outfit and makeup to match, he’s proving one corset at a time, that fans want a new kind of sexiness. As pioneered in the 20th century by legends and sex symbols like David Bowie and Prince, androgynous fashion is on the rise again, and Damiano David seems set on bringing it back into the mainstream. As both a fashion icon and singer, lyricist, and performer, the sky is really the limit.
Smack in the middle of Måneskin’s age bracket is Victoria de Angelis. At twenty-one years old she is the only female member of the group and its original founder. Such is Victoria’s power, that initially she would not allow Damiano to join, as she believed his style and voice to be too ‘mainstream’ and detrimental to the band’s vision. Luckily for us, she eventually changed her mind, and Måneskin as we know it was born. Likewise, Victoria can be credited with christening the band, taking the word måneskin, meaning moonshine in her native Danish, for the band’s name. Victoria is known by fans as a beast on the bass, injecting high energy and glaring passion into every live performance. Her love for the music shines through and she takes her rightful place as the beating heart and soul of the band. Off the stage, Victoria can often be found blessing Instagram feeds with gorgeous selfies, that show off her unique sense of style and self, and personal insights on her story. She’s definitely a force to be reckoned with and refuses to be overshadowed by her bandmates, consistently proving her importance to the group and its fans.
Thomas Raggi is the childhood best friend of Victoria and Måneskin’s guitarist. Eurovision viewers immediately commented on his striking 70s mullet haircut and classic rock physique. Coupled with his stage presence and skills on guitar, he had all the hallmarks to become an instant star. Thomas has played guitar for several Italian bands, performs as a solo artist, and has gained recognition and accolade for this in the Italian music industry. It’s entirely safe to say that without the addition of Thomas’ solos and riffs, Zitti e Buoni, the winning Eurovision Song, would not be what it is.
The baby of the group, Ethan Torchio, won hearts across the continent with his touching and heartfelt reaction to Måneskin’s big win back in May. As the twenty-year-old drummer lifted the coveted trophy, tears welled up in his eyes. It was glaringly obvious to viewers just how much this moment meant to Ethan, and how hard he had worked for it. His heartfelt sincerity and vulnerability on international television reflected how much his life had changed. from that of the fifteen-year-old boy who busked with his friends on the streets of Rome to a real rock star. Social media was swarmed with gifs and screenshots, with hundreds of commenters outpouring their respect and admiration for him; it was all really quite sweet.
Since Eurovision, Ethan has also been met with praise for his androgynous style and fashion; notably, his lengthy black hair that puts every shampoo and conditioner advert to shame. Fans have fallen in love with his shy and quiet demeanour, and he seems to have avoided the curse of easily forgotten drummers who remain a silhouette behind the spotlight. No one in this band is getting neglected or fading into darkness; they are all stars in their own right. This group come together to complement each other in the most beautiful way.
Hot off of their Eurovision success, Måneskin embarked on a sell-out Northern European tour to thousands of new adoring fans, who wanted nothing more than to dance to live music once again, especially after the tragic events of the past two years. Since then, it seems that exciting career milestones are simply a part of Måneskin’s daily routine. Their first global merchandise drop sold out in under thirty minutes, they’ve collaborated with 70s pop icon, Iggy Pop, for a special release of their single ‘I Wanna Be Your Slave’. They’ve inspired TikTok dances and makeup trends, made popular by online celebrities such as Abby Roberts, and, they even broke into the top ten album and single charts in almost every European country. It just doesn’t stop.
So, what does the future hold for Måneskin? The truth is, only time will tell. They’ve already stated their plans to release an already anticipated third studio album by the end of this year, and whilst they haven’t officially announced a wider European tour, we can only assume that it is brewing in the background. It’s important to add that whilst the world is still in the midst of a pandemic, it may be hard for the band to travel to the places that fans so desperately want them to visit. However, we can’t forget that these times won’t last forever; I’m sure the band are patiently awaiting the day they can get back on the road and embrace their fans, quite literally, with open arms.
One thing we do know is that their journey is definitely not stopping here; Måneskin have gone from a virtually unknown artist to one of the most listened to bands in the world in the space of three months. Their music has millions of streams on Spotify, TikTok, and YouTube, and their fanbase only continues to grow and develop. They’ve caught the attention of global superstars, such as Iggy Pop, and they’ve handled their newfound fame with ease. From disproved drugs scandals to unfortunate language barriers, they’ve faced a barrage of criticism and scrutiny with grace and decorum. All I can really say is this; whatever the future holds for Måneskin, come rain or shine, we’re here for the ride. And honestly, you should be too.
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