The energy is pulsating, the tunes, electrifying. It’s a Monday evening, but the band up on stage is sending its audience into an otherworldly trance; a triptych of instruments working in sync to send hypnotic shudders down a crowd that’s already rubbing shoulders to a tune that’s so good, it hurts. The group in question? Måneskin, who was just in town earlier this week for their Singapore stop of their ongoing tour.
There’s no question that the Italian rock quartet—consisting of frontman and lead singer Damiano David; bassist Victoria De Angelis; drummer Ethan Torchio; and Thomas Raggi on the electric guitar—have taken over the music scene by storm in recent years. Since winning Eurovision in 2021, the four have been behind a behemoth of exhilarating tunes, from thumping radio hit ‘I Wanna Be Your Slave’ to the slow, opiate mood of ‘The Loneliest’—the latter a recent release from their third studio album Rush!, released earlier in January.
But in between energetic festival stages, a whopping world tour, and their notable attendance at one very star-studded Gucci show this year, they’ve also found the time to record five additional tracks, all of which have been added to a deluxe re-edition, playfully titled Rush! (Are U Coming?), sharing the same nuances as the lead track, ‘Honey (Are U Coming?)’.
In conversation with the band, they get candid with Vogue Singapore about their new tunes and musical influences, their unabashed sense of stage style, and what they sometimes get up to whilst in the studio.
Let’s talk about the new deluxe album. You’ve added five new songs to the line-up in Rush! (Are You Coming?). Tell us, was this something you had planned for all along?
Damiano: No actually, we were just on tour. And we don’t write music only when we have to write music, we do it whenever we feel like it. So whilst on tour, we were just writing a couple of songs and then we ended up with a little bit more than these five. And we realised that we were basically telling the same story. It just felt right for our overall storytelling, so we decided to put those songs in with the rest of the album in the end.
Any personal favourites from the latest album?
Ethan: Yeah, mine’s ‘Off My Face’.
Damiano: Mine’s ‘Trastevere’.
Thomas: ‘The Driver’.
Victoria: And mine’s ‘Valentine’. But I think we all have very different moments in how we each interact with a certain song, be it the way we record or write these songs. It might be the meaning of the lyrics, or maybe it’s connected to a moment when we played it live. Every song really has a special moment behind it and there are some things that only the song can represent for us.
With four of you in the band, there’s a myriad of musical influences to go around. How do you eventually condense it all into a uniquely Måneskin sound?
Thomas: I think the best part about having a band is the fact that we have four different tastes. It goes both ways. One way is to come together and write a song basically; sometimes, we go in a certain direction, sometimes another direction. We just try to mix all our different tastes together and find a sound that’s really ours. Personally, I really like art rock or metal vibes.
Victoria: The artists that inspire me the most are probably Arctic Monkeys and Idles. I really like the bass riff sound; the sort of modern punk sound, where it’s all based on riffs and the grooves.
Damiano: I’m very melody-oriented. My favourite artist of all time is James Arthur. I also get very inspired from what’s happening at the moment, so these days, I listen to a lot of Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo and Stephen Sanchez.
Ethan: There’s no specific genre that I listen to. But my background has changed very much through time. I started as a jazz drummer, and then I also started to listen to a lot of fusion music, progressive music, and eventually pop music. A really important process that does come quite naturally to me is capturing a sentiment or segment of a tune that is the most understandable to any audience. Even from the most obscure songs or songs that don’t have a specific melody; I try to capture that sensation and rechannel that into our artistic process of writing music. This means trying to get tons of inspiration from everything—even going on Spotify to discover new artists, which is something I like to do daily.
What’s the energy like when you guys are together in the recording studio? Any particularly memorable moments to share?
Damiano: Unfortunately, they’re all always together, and I’m always alone…
Victoria: [Laughs] I think when Ethan had to record ‘Valentine’, he got super drunk and he didn’t even remember what he recorded. But the next day, he listened to it again and said: “Oh, it’s really good, wow.”
Ethan: Just to be clear, it’s only happened once in my whole career.
Victoria: Usually, he’s professional.
Ethan: Yeah, it was a spur of the moment thing and the result turned out really good.
People have been touting your music to be a revival of rock ‘n’ roll, what do you think Måneskin offers to the modern music scene?
Damiano: I think that we came in at a specific moment when the music industry was going towards something that’s clean. Always cleaner, cleaner, cleaner. Even if you look at pictures of pop artists and their gigs two or three years ago, everything was very clean, very perfectly pop.
But we don’t care about being perfect, about being super beautiful or whatever. What we really try to do is express ourselves in a way that makes us feel more comfortable. And I think that’s what shines through and what makes people like us. Even if people don’t know us, or don’t know if artists in general are actually true to themselves, I think most people will have a gut feeling if something is authentic. So if you feel that something is real and true, you can actually relate to it and you can get in touch with it. Things shouldn’t be too perfect, because nobody’s perfect in this world. If things are too perfect, it becomes hard for people to relate to you, because you feel less human. And I think it’s very important to be human. So I think what we really have to offer is the mistake, the imperfection.
That’s beautiful to hear. We’re also curious to know; when approaching the songwriting process, how do you decide which songs will be done in English or in Italian?
Damiano: We never really pre-decide to do a song in Italian or in English, it just comes very naturally and it depends a lot on the melody. There are just some melodies that just sound good in Italian and bad in English and vice versa. Since we started, we have always been very, very influenced by music overseas. So we always wrote a lot of music in English actually. Of course now that we’re an international band (all four members grin), we have the chance to speak to a larger audience and we definitely care about making ourselves as relatable as possible. But it’s just always been the language of the music that has influenced us when we were kids.
Of course, we have to talk style. How would you describe your on-stage aesthetic and what guides that?
Victoria: I think we really try to vary that and just follow what inspires us at the moment. It’s a very playful and creative process when we get to choose or design our looks and we’ve enjoyed that since day one. I think for an artist, it kind of helps you deliver your message better, because you can create a whole world with your own aesthetic. From the videos and the pictures to the way you dress and your makeup—it’s like an art form. And we always have a lot of fun; just being free and experimenting with it. It’s something that can really empower you or help you enter your stage persona. There’s no strict rule or reference, we just have a lot of fun with it. Sometimes, we like an elegant look; something that’s super corporate with suits and ties, but other times, we’re almost naked. There’s no rules in between, you know? It’s just fun and a form of expression.
Damiano: We come from playing in the streets with our own coats and with our own gear. So as soon as we had the chance to have these huge racks of clothes, we were so excited and wanted to try them all. It still feels very weird for us, when we do fittings and we have all these clothes. We’re always thinking about how far we can push ourselves, and what makes us feel comfortable at the same time. Maybe it’s something super weird, and nobody else likes it, but as long as we like it, it’s good enough for us.
Finally, what would you say has been the most unforgettable moment of your careers thus far?
Victoria: I think personally, it was probably the first few festivals that we played after Eurovision. The energy of the crowds at live shows are the best and because that was the first time we really experienced the intensity on that level, those are probably the best memories to me.
Damiano: Meeting people. This job gives you the opportunity to travel a lot and meet tons of new people. And by doing that, we get to tell our story, which is priceless to me.
Thomas: Probably our first gig. When we performed in front of three or four people. It was the beginning of our career and the emotions of that night were just something else.
Ethan: Not to be obvious, but the best moment of our whole career and of my life, is probably the day we met. Without that moment, there wouldn’t have been all those others.