Italian rock sensations Måneskin are on top of the world Down Under — and why wouldn’t they be?
From the cobblestone streets of Rome, where they once busked as teenagers, to their famous Eurovision victory and subsequent chart-topping success, Måneskin’s undeniable power has catapulted them into the spotlight: they’ve opened for legends like The Rolling Stones, earned their first Grammy nomination, and recently collaborated with the one and only Dolly Parton.
As their monumental RUSH! album release tour stormed through Australia this month, selling out venues in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide, Rolling Stone AU/NZ caught up with the globe-conquering quartet — their inaugural trip marked by an emblematic koala selfie shared on Instagram.
Lounging on a black leather sofa backstage at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion before soundcheck, the band were every bit the glam rock stars one expected. Clad in distressed leather, voluminous androgynous silhouettes, and accentuated by a generous application of sultry charcoal eyeliner, they seemed genuinely thrilled about their devoted, far-flung fanbase, with some enthusiasts even queuing for hours before the venue’s doors swung open.
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As the electrifying show unfolded that night, Måneskin showcased new tracks, including a scorching cover of Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” surfed the crowd, mingled in the mosh pit, and gradually shed layers of clothing to the screamed approval of the audience.
Read our full conversation with Måneskin below — featuring singer Damiano David, bassist Victoria De Angelis, drummer Ethan Torchio, and guitarist Thomas Raggi — as they reminisce about their early days, notable collaborations, discuss their impact on the younger rock generation, and more.
Måneskin’s RUSH! (ARE YOU COMING?) is out now.
Rolling Stone AU/NZ: Welcome to Australia, Måneskin! How’s your first time here treating you so far?
Damiano David: It’s very, very exciting. We saw kangaroos and koalas. It’s very fun. We’re like little kids.
Victoria De Angelis: Yeah, we really enjoyed the show in Brisbane last night; it was really fun. Australians have crazy energy.
Congratulations on the fantastic new record, RUSH!. Some of the songs on the new extended version are now among my favourites.
Victoria: We agree. They are also our favourite!
Damiano: It was really fun because we had the chance to work on the extended version for a while, during and after the last tour. We had a lot of extra songs to choose from but in the end, we only decided to go for the five best. So it’s a very specific selection, and we’re very, very proud of each song.
How does the album’s concept reflect your journey as a band so far?
Victoria: You know, we wrote the album over such a long amount of time, and it really portrays so many moments of our career and our development as artists. And also we’ve been performing it during our biggest tour, so it will always hold a special place for us.
We have to talk about your recent Dolly Parton collaboration, covering “Jolene”. How did working with Dolly come about?
Damiano: It’s very unexpected for us all and truly iconic. She has an amazing reaction when hearing our version of “Jolene”. We had the chance to meet and perform for Dolly when we were playing in Nashville. It was very early in the morning and we were all very, very trashy and hungover. She came out with full glam and this incredible corset with the best energy in the world. We were like, ‘We need to step up our game!’ Dolly is the queen.
Aside from your own songs, you’re known for some great covers. What makes you want to put your own twist on a song?
Damiano: There’s actually not much thinking behind it; we really go for the instinctive. If we hear a song that we really like, it’s easy to start thinking about how we would play it. Just listening to a song and saying, ‘Okay, I want to do my own version’ is a signal that the song is right for us. It’s all about feelings, how we connect with a song. We might try a couple of versions, but it’s usually very simple.
You’ve shared the stage with rock legends like The Rolling Stones and worked with Iggy Pop. What does rock music mean to you?
Victoria: You know, we grew up listening to these artists who inspired us to really start playing and become who we are today. Collaborating with our biggest idols is always a pleasure and an honour. They have so much to teach, having made history in music.
It’s also important to us because we have a younger fanbase that may not be familiar with the music of the past, maybe less popular on social media or whatever. A lot of fans will tell us, ‘Through you, I discovered Iggy Pop and now he’s my favourite artist.’ I think it’s really nice to put a light on this music which has so much value. It’s good for the younger generation to have a cultural understanding on how our music was born.
I wanted to ask about your Italian background. Is there a sense of pride or pressure in being a successful export in the industry?
Damiano: We’re aware that what happened to us doesn’t happen very often. The main American or English markets are there, and it’s tough for Europeans or people from smaller countries to break in. We made it by always being true to ourselves and really believing in what we were doing.
We are, of course, super proud of our journey, and we hope it could inspire other artists. In Europe, we tend to think that it’s kind of impossible, or it’s too hard and blah, blah, blah. But I think that there are many acts, even in Italy alone, that can make it.
Starting as a band busking on the streets as teenagers in Rome sounds fascinating. Can you share lessons from those early days that you think contributed to your success now?
Victoria: Playing on the streets was where we learned the most, especially in Rome as a rock band. At first, it was really challenging because we didn’t have any opportunities to perform in clubs or venues, because there aren’t many places like that in Rome for upcoming artists. So we took to the streets to grab people’s attention as they walked by. This experience taught us about stage presence, how to engage with an audience, and to always keep good energy. It taught us to be determined even when the purpose wasn’t clear, we kept dreaming and believing in our music.
Thomas Raggi: We also learnt the meaning of the phrase ‘The show must go on’. We faced situations where we had to solve different problems really fast, like the string of your guitar might break and an amplifier that doesn’t work. We learnt how to cope with the unknowns of a live show early on.
Lastly, what’s next on the horizon for Måneskin after wrapping up your world tour?
Victoria: I think we’re gonna have a little vacation and then we’re going to come back stronger and crazier than ever!