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Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Måneskin On Redefining Success, Staying Inspired & Honoring Italy
Ethan Torchio, Victoria De Angelis, Thomas Raggi and Damiano David of Måneskin

Photo: Tommaso Ottomano

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Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Måneskin On Redefining Success, Staying Inspired & Honoring Italy

The Italian quartet first exploded onto the scene with a viral cover of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, but Måneskin have continued to exalt and evolve vintage rock thrills on their own terms — all on the way to their first GRAMMY nomination.

GRAMMYs/Jan 18, 2023 - 10:44 pm

A dizzy smile spreads across Måneskin vocalist Damiano David’s face as he attempts to capture the group’s fervent energy in words.

"Going into a room where there's silence and going out with a song. Stepping on stage and then the crowd screams for you. Doing interviews where you can talk about how you think about music," he says. "It's such an open art language, such an open world." 

While Måneskin’s inimitable swagger have led to a recent international meteoric rise, the Italian quartet have tapped the glitter and grime of rock’s glory days since forming as teens in 2016. Just a year later, the group made a massive leap, winning the Italian edition of reality competition show "X Factor." But it was Måneskin’s hard rock take on Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’ "Beggin'" was inescapable following their 2021 Eurovision win — a smash success that led many eager new fans to dig into Måneskin’s catalog of chart-topping albums in their native Italy. 

That prowess, ability to connect with the full spectrum of listeners, and a raucous live show netted Måneskin a GRAMMY nomination for Best New Artist at the 2023 GRAMMYs, which take place Sunday, Feb. 5, at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles and will broadcast live on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on-demand on Paramount+ at 8-11:30 p.m. ET / 5-8:30 p.m. PT. They are also a living rebuke to those questioning rock’s staying power, whose grandiose energy and adventurous fashion begs for a yet wider audience. 

"This combination is really magical. It gives us the opportunity to play something that doesn't exist so much in the charts," says guitarist Thomas Raggi. "We are rock, of course, in attitude, in the music, but we can reach really different people from different places and different ages." 

Global success hasn't changed Måneskin much, as their new record, Rush!, teases. Due Jan. 20, the album only reinforces their bombast via singles like grimy party-starter "Mammamia" and the slinky and suave "Supermodel" — not to mention a guest appearance from Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello on the recently released "Gossip."

GRAMMY.com caught up with Måneskin — David, Raggi, bassist Victoria De Angelis, and drummer Ethan Torchio — to talk about the shock of their GRAMMY nomination, how they’ve evolved into their upcoming new album, and trying to find good espresso everywhere on tour.

This conversation has been edited for clarity.

I want to wish you congratulations on your first GRAMMY nomination. After winning "X Factor" and earning various accolades, has this sort of honor started to feel natural?

Victoria De Angelis: Not really natural, but very cool. It's the craziest thing you can possibly think of.

Damiano David: Of course, when we started, we only thought the biggest thing that could happen was being big in Italy. And then everything happened, so of course our dreams got bigger and of course we thought about it as a possibility in the remote future. Not, like, now. [Laughs.]

That's such a beautiful sentiment. The bigger doors start opening to places that you never could imagine. I can imagine that puts a whole new spin on what it is to be a band, what it is to be a musician.

De Angelis:  It really does. Especially touring and everything, even six months makes so much difference. We look back at the things we did six months before and we say, "Okay, now we can add this, we can change this." It's constantly developing. So that's really inspiring and keeps us in a creative process all the time. 

David: We've had so many crazy things happen these last two years. We played for the Stones. We played with Iggy Pop. We met like 50 percent of our childhood idols. At the end, wrapping it all up with the GRAMMY nomination, it's a pretty huge deal. The whole journey has been remarkable and we're gonna think about it for a long time.

It seems that you’ve remained remarkably close-knit as a band, which must be so important in the midst of that. How have you remained creatively inspired by one another and that you are constantly pushing yourselves as musicians through all the fame and success?

Ethan Torchio: Fame and success, it's just a coincidence. We don't really focus on that. It's part of our life, part of our journey. But it's an important point: We've always been friends with each other, and we've shared half of our lives together.

David: It's very important to us to be close because, otherwise, this project wouldn't be what it is now. We are four [individuals], and we are very human and curious about ideas. It's not just about what we are or we feel inside, it's also what we live outside. I truly think that [embracing] the new and something that has not been created before is part of our mindset.

De Angelis: As you said, being four, we actually inspire one another even more. We are very different personalities and also have very different taste. And being four, the amount of music we can discover, it happens every day. And also we love to go see shows, so maybe some of us go to one show and then we are like, "Hey, I got this idea from this show." Being four, it keeps us in this creative environment where everyday there is something new.

Touring constantly and being away from home can make you question your identity. How do you keep tied to your roots?

David: It's still pretty easy for us because even if we travel so much, we still live in Italy. When you move from your country and you live in another country for five, 10 years, then you start changing the way you live. But now we kind of bring this huge Italian suitcase with us. We're still asking for espresso everywhere. [Laughs.] With very bad results. How we interact between us and with people, our clothes, our style in general, it's always Italian in a certain way.

It's a difficult needle to thread, needing to mold to a comfortable stance wherever you are while also standing out. Being nominated for a GRAMMY must be an extraordinary test of that balance, so it's amazing to hear that you're still like keeping so true to yourselves.

De Angelis: I think that's always been kind of easy for us in some way, because we've always had such a strong and clear idea about our identity and what we like to do. Just look at this: [points to her shirt, which reads Italians Do It Better]. We've been lucky to never experience this kind of issue. On the other hand, what we experienced is that we had a very clear idea and then maybe it was hard to keep it safe and not let other people get into it or change it. But when it comes to what we stand for, we're always very sure about that. 

Talk to me a little bit about that process, then. You all seem to find clever ways to reimagine classic genres and scenes while still honoring their essence. 

David: We've been very, very lucky because our only rule has always been being true to what we like — even if we are very, very different one from each other. Vic [De Angelis] and Thomas Raggi especially have a very rock and roll classic background. I'm more into mainstream and low-tempo music. And Ethan [Torchio] actually listens to everything, from very mainstream music, classical music, to crazy experimental [music]. 

We've always tried to keep the balance between the four of us, and especially in the next album. We really wanted to embrace the difference between the four of us. It has created a personality for the group that also made the four of us very recognizable. People can feel represented from [each of the] four of us and from the group. Every achievement that we get, for us it's not, "Okay, we want this so we have to keep doing the same thing." It's more like, "Okay, we want this because this is our mindset. We have to keep this mindset, not because it makes you win awards but because it makes you recognizable and it gives you an identity and it puts you in a specific place in the market and in the industry.

I'm curious whether your writing and recording processes changed much on your new album, Rush! With first albums, sometimes a band will throw everything at the wall to see if it sticks. On the second one, they might shift things based on audience reaction, and then the third record can either attempt to capture a true self again or push to try even more new things.

De Angelis: It was 50-50, because some of the songs we actually wrote a while ago. There's a song we wrote three years ago, for example, on the record. The whole record was written in different moments. Some of the songs we wrote in the countryside in Italy; we went to this home studio and just jammed all together. And then others we wrote here in L.A., but then we also kept doing them in Japan and in Brazil while we were on tour. 

So it's been really crazy. We can hear the moment we wrote the song and the emotion we had in the moment. And it portrays this whole journey we've been through. I think it's cool that we didn't only write it in one month, but it was through the years. It shows the different faces of our personalities and development.

I wanted to ask about the song "Kool Kids", which you recently debuted live. The lyrics have this self-aware edge, where you poke at the idea of whether rock is dead — I'm sure because you’ve been bombarded by that question nonstop.

David: We talk about rock and roll because it's a part of what we do, but I think that you can apply this kind of thought to every music genre. There's no music genre that is actually ever gonna die because trends are constantly changing. The music is developing and sometimes things become other things or change slightly because of the age where they're living. But I think that what we do [is]  a new way to do rock and roll, but it's not the way to do it. There's many different ways to do it. You can be super classic, you can do rock and roll music even without analog instruments and go full electro while creating rock and roll structures.

Raggi: Nothing really ends. Nothing really starts. Everything changes.

De Angelis: It's always in development. The motion that rock music created and that pushes us to do it is just that sense of rebellion towards the norms, or when people try to put you in boxes or limit you. This kind of human feeling will always exist. And that's the reason why all these musicians through the past years have been making this kind of music — to oppose something and to talk about it.

Why was music the path you chose to express that perspective?

De Angelis: I think we all started as kids so we didn't even think it did that much. It was just something in us that we had to get out in some way, to express. It just came natural for us to do it as music. When we started playing together we were like 14 years old. We were struggling, all of us individually, to find other kids that were as passionate about it and wanted to invest all their time in this. 

It was crazy that we were 13 years old and wanting to be, like, six hours in a rehearsal room every day instead of going out with friends or whatever. But for us it was such a fulfilling experience when we got in the rehearsal room that we just went full in and didn't care about anything else. It just took over us. It was just something so pure that we felt in that moment. The passion came out because we felt we were being ourselves and expressing what we had inside that couldn't come out in other ways. Since then, it has developed in so many ways that it's just who we are nowadays. We couldn't even imagine who we would be without the music.

Raggi: I remember also when I saw my first guitar outside of that guitar shop. No one in my family plays instruments or stuff like that. It was something that just called to me. 

Another thing you are all known for is your sense of style. You always go big! Do you have plans for the GRAMMYs red carpet yet?

De Angelis: We're gonna surprise you. [Laughs.] We won't be boring. Promise. 

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