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The rock band emerged victorious at last weekend’s (May 22) Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam after scoring 524 points with their song ‘Zitti E Buoni’, having secured phenomenal support from the public vote. However, the band soon met controversy when frontman Damiano David was accused by some viewers of snorting cocaine off a table in the green room while on camera. After denying the claims, he soon passed a voluntary drugs test.
“For us, this wasn’t really a problem at all,” bassist Victoria De Angelis told NME. “We knew it was bullshit. We never did that and we would never do such a thing on live television with 180million people watching us. We’ve never used cocaine or other drugs so we immediately said, ‘Just test us because we have nothing to hide and we don’t want people to talk about stupid things like this and not our music’.
“We were so happy with our victory, so we wanted to keep the focus on us and not this stupid shit.”
‘Zitti E Buoni’ was always a favourite to win, achieving double platinum certification and over 45,000,000 streams as the most streamed song in the contest in the months leading up to the final.
Asked about the secret to their success, frontman Damiano David told us: “I think that people were in need of rock ‘n’ roll! I’m joking, we really don’t know the real cause of it but we’re just happy that people understood us, our identity and our intensity.”
Lyrically, the song deals in themes of “challenging prejudices” and “finding redemption” – ideas that lay at the core of Måneskin and their overall message.
“We’re talking about being yourself and doing what you believe is right without caring about other people’s comments,” De Angelis told NME. “We’ve experienced that a lot. In Italy, rock music isn’t really the thing. When we started playing music music like this everyone was telling us, ‘No way, you can’t make music like this and it won’t get you anywhere’. We were sure about what we were doing and we believed in it, so we kept on doing it.
“We also get a lot of comments for not conforming to gender norms. The boys wear make-up and we talk a lot about sexuality. The song is about that too – you should just be yourself, express yourself and not care about what other people have to say.”
The band formed in 2016 as buskers – “playing anywhere we could, in high school, small pubs and on the street,” said De Angelis – before coming to wider public attention when they entered X Factor in their native Italy in 2017. They were runners-up, but in the years that followed scored platinum records of their original music along with sold-out tours, while their covers of indie and rock staples continued to go viral online.
“We take a lot of inspiration from these bands – especially the huge bands of the ‘60s and ‘70s, but there are a lot of great bands now like Arctic Monkeys, IDLES, Slaves, Royal Blood, Franz Ferdinand,” David told NME, before De Angelis added: “We were amazed because Royal Blood and Franz Ferdinand have congratulated us. We couldn’t believe that. We were so happy.”
They only released their second album ‘Teatro d’ira: Vol. I’ back in March, but are already at work on new material. “This was our biggest dream, so we still can’t believe what’s going on,” said De Angelis. “We really want to do our best to keep the attention by writing new music and trying to do some gigs in Europe and beyond. We’re working hard and we just want to play everywhere. We’re just figuring out how to manage everything.”
Måneskin’s Eurovision score dwarfed most other competitors, in particular the UK’s James Newman who left with nil points.
Asked why Newman fared so badly, David replied: “We really don’t know! He was a nice guy, he had a nice voice and his performance was nice. To get zero points, that’s just a really unlucky coincidence. I don’t think he deserved that kind of treatment.
“It’s a competition, so it happens. We just hope he’s not too sad because he did well in our opinion.”
News of a Måneskin world tour is expected in the coming weeks. In other Eurovision news, comedian Bill Bailey has put himself forward to represent the UK at next year’s contest.