21 Things Only Maneskin Superfans Know About The Band

The biggest new rock band of the 2020s, or even the biggest rock band of the 2020s, period, is Måneskin. Formed by a group of four teenagers from Rome, Italy, in 2015, the decidedly and unabashedly throwback group celebrates '70s-style arena rock and '80s anthemic hair metal, putting on a spectacle with their salacious, catchy anthems about love, sex, identity, youth, and politics. Thrust into global superstardom after becoming one of the rare non-pop-singing-solo acts to win the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021, Måneskin has spent the 2020s touring the world, filling stadiums, and generating billions of listens for their primal, danceable, fist-pumping rock anthems performed in both English and Italian. If one has been near a radio, a streaming service, MTV, or a late-night talk show since 2021, they've probably at least heard (and been thoroughly rocked by) the likes of "Beggin,'" "I Wanna Be Your Slave," "Supermodel," "Zitti e Buoni," and "Mammamia."

Måneskin looks like they're in it for the long haul, in terms of cultural impact and fame. Here's a look at the ins, outs, history, scandals, and the making of the crowd-pleasing Måneskin.

School and Facebook brought Måneskin together

Måneskin wide-released their first music in 2017, just two years after the band officially formed. But some members of the group were familiar with one another from childhood. "We met each other at middle school," guitarist Thomas Raggi told Rolling Stone, explaining that he and bassist Victoria De Angelis were pals before they decided to form a band while attending a music-focused high school in Rome. Meanwhile, future Måneskin singer Damiano David was performing with another group that was actively seeking out new members. Instead, he teamed up with the already mostly-completed group that would evolve into Måneskin. 

All the band lacked at that point was a drummer. They advertised for one on Facebook. "We just wrote a post saying we're a band and we do this and that we need a drummer," David told The Morning Call. The musician who got the job, and who was also the only person to answer the ad, was drummer Ethan Torchio.

Damiano David was kicked out of the band for a while

Måneskin has never not been a foursome, and one composed of bassist Victoria De Angelis, guitarist Thomas Raggi, drummer Ethan Torchio, and singer Damiano David. However, early in the band's story, it looked as if David just wasn't going to work out, and the band would have to proceed with a different front-person. When figuring out their sound by playing shows on the streets of Rome in the mid-2010s, De Angelis, serving as leader of the band at the time, dismissed David. The bassist was actively looking for more of a punk rock sound, while David brought a pop sensibility and a well-mannered vocal style. "He was singing a bit too well. We needed a little more shouting and stuff," De Angelis told NPR's "All Things Considered." "So we were like, no, you're out."

David attributes his initial inability to fit in with the band to the fact that he was a teenager, and that his voice was still transforming due to adolescence. "So when I finally got my oldest voice, I learned how to sing."

Måneskin lost a big TV contest but got a big hit out of it

Before they won the continental, heavily watched Eurovision Song Contest in 2021, Måneskin competed in another popular televised music competition. In 2017, the group auditioned for the Italian iteration of "The X Factor," even though it was an environment that heavily favored pop acts and not rock bands. The band had some significant reservations about appearing on the show. "We weren't very sure of going because of the way television shows are seen and perceived," bassist Victoria De Angelis told Variety. "Often people think that they're fake, but then we thought it was just a chance to share our music with a big audience."

Måneskin defied the odds, not only making it onto "The X Factor," but proceeding all the way to a second-place finish. But despite the loss, Måneskin's standout performance from the show, a cover of the Four Seasons' 1967 hit "Beggin,'" would go on to become a massive international hit on streaming services and radio four years after the band debuted the song on TV. With more than one billion Spotify listens, it's Måneskin's most-played song.

Their biggest song is a cover of a cover

"Beggin'" represented a commercial breakthrough in the United States for Måneskin. In October 2021, four years after the group competed with the song on "The X Factor" in Italy, it started an 11-week run atop the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart. Those chart achievements all came organically, through little effort on the part of the band. "We didn't even promote it. It's TikTok's fault. It just got viral. We were pretty shocked by it," singer Damiano David told CNN.

The song's presence in the Måneskin repertoire dates back to their early days as a band. "We played it at first, when we just started, and we think it's way more challenging and fun to make covers of very different songs," said bassist Victoria De Angelis. The rock band's interpretation of "Beggin'" is actually a take on a rap-based version of the tune, originated as a vocal pop song in 1967 by the Four Seasons. Norwegian rap duo Madcon had a minor hit in the U.S. in 2008 with their version of "Beggin'," which was a top 10 smash in the U.K. and Italy, where the members of Måneskin had become familiarized. "We were 16 at the time and we had no original songs, and we had to choose songs to cover. We all liked the Madcon version," David told PopCrush.

What's a Måneskin anyway?

Måneskin was formed in the Italian capital of Rome by a group of Italian teenagers, and many of the band's most popular songs are performed in the musicians' first language of Italian. But the name of the band isn't based in the Italian language, nor does it have any significant meaning for the group's members, as it was selected in a rush. "I picked it when we first started playing because we needed to join this musical competition, and we didn't have a name yet," bassist Victoria De Angelis told CNN.

The musician is half-Danish and she's fluent in the language, so the other members of the band asked her to rattle off various Danish words until something stuck out. De Angelis said "måneskin," the Danish word for "moonlight," and that won out. And while often publicly pronounced like "man-uh-skin" or "man-skin," that's incorrect. "Moan-A-Skin is perfect," explained guitarist Thomas Raggi.

Eurovision was an unlikely success for Måneskin

Måneskin was instantly propelled to international fame and status as one of the most popular hard rock bands of the 2020s upon winning the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest. That victory was a historical anomaly, and merely one of many on Måneskin's path to success. Italy's representative in the all-European musical is the winner of the national Sanremo Music Festival, and the victor there is almost always a purveyor of traditional Italian music, not a modern, rock act like Måneskin. As such, Italian acts rarely win Eurovision, and Måneskin is the first champion from their country since 1990.

Pop, soft rock, and folk generally win out at Eurovision, and when Måneskin won in 2021, it was only the second time a full-on rock act took first place. (In 2006, monster-costumed Finnish metal act Lordi won with "Hard Rock Hallelujah.") Måneskin's winning song, "Zitti e Buoni," performed in Italian and one of the first tunes the group wrote together, went on to become an international hit in the English-speaking world, hitting the top 20 in the U.K.

Eurovision also delivered a drug scandal

Along with the glory of victory and an instant and significant boost to the band's profile, the Eurovision Song Contest brought negative attention to Måneskin because of an illegal act supposedly committed and captured on live TV. During the broadcast of the 2021 Eurovision finale, a camera captured Måneskin sitting at a table and singer Damiano David leaning down and keeping his head low for a few seconds. To many, it appeared as if the musician had just nasally ingested cocaine.

By the time the post-show press conference had started, set up for Måneskin to discuss its Eurovision win, footage of David had spread around the internet. A reporter from Sweden asked the singer to confirm or deny if he'd just snorted cocaine on TV. David said he'd done no such thing, but had leaned down to look out for some broken glass on the floor. Eurovision organizer European Broadcasting Union corroborated David's story. That didn't stop the chatter, so David publicly announced that he'd take a drug test to prove he was telling the truth. The results were negative.

Måneskin is pro-rock and anti-drug

It's somewhat odd that Måneskin would find themselves embroiled in a public relations brouhaha over the brazen use of cocaine. Because despite their purposefully hard-partying look and sound evoking debauched rock of the 1970s and '80s, Måneskin is vociferously opposed to a part of that lifestyle, namely the consumption of illicit and intoxicating substances. "I've never done coke in my life and I don't think I ever will because my heart is too weak for that!" singer Damiano David told NME. "Damiano barely drinks beer," bassist Victoria De Angelis offered to The Guardian.

Being in a jet-setting, prolific band and using drugs don't mix for Måneskin. "Creativity comes from a healthy mind. Trained. Lucid," David told Vogue Italia (translated from Italian). "The brain is a machine that must have the gears in place and drugs are just a huge filth." David specifically doesn't want to join the "27 Club" and be another star who dies at the age of 27 due to substance abuse issues.

How Måneskin got on the Elvis soundtrack

One of Måneskin's first big breaks post-Eurovision was an appearance on the soundtrack to the 2022 Elvis Presley biopic "Elvis." Amidst other, well-established acts such as Chris Isaak, Stevie Nicks, Diplo, and Kacey Musgraves contributing contemporary-styled covers of old Presley songs, Måneskin recorded a version of the ballad "If I Can Dream." The band announced that they'd recorded the song during a spot on the 2022 Eurovision finale.

"Elvis" was directed and co-written by Baz Luhrmann, a native of Australia, where Eurovision is especially and historically popular. Luhrmann approached the band just after their Eurovision success and pitched them with a full vision on what he thought they should do with "If I Can Dream." "[He] had this really cool, super-smart idea, because it would have been so easy to give us an uptempo song and go super rock-ish," Måneskin singer Damiano David told NME. "He saw that between the lines that we were going to be able to give something else to show the sweet side of Elvis."

Måneskin has always been a multilingual band

Måneskin broke through to an international audience with original songs performed in its members' native language of Italian, including Eurovision Song Contest winner "Zitti e Buoni," and "Torna a casa," "Vent'anni," and "Morirò da Re." After the band established itself as a pre-eminent act, Måneskin's English-language songs have hit even bigger, such as "I Wanna Be Your Slave," "Supermodel," and "Beggin.'" While Måneskin is capitalizing on their success by releasing songs in English, a language spoken by more people worldwide and thus more marketable than Italian, the group has always gone back and forth between the two tongues.

"When we started, all our songs were written in English," singer Damiano David told Rolling Stone. "We wanted to break through the Italian market so we needed to write lyrics in Italian. Of course, we love doing it, but on the other hand, we have always been comfortable writing music in English. It's also an opportunity to be understood by most people in the world." According to bassist Victoria De Angelis, the English songs arrived organically. "It wasn't planned, but since we were outside Italy for most of the year, we were surrounded by English language and were influenced by many English-speaking musicians, so it felt natural."

Måneskin hated their first song

Many of Måneskin's initial attempts in different avenues proved very successful. The hit single "Beggin'" was launched from the group's first TV talent show appearance on the Italian version of "The X Factor," while "Zitti e Buoni" took off after Måneskin performed it on the Eurovision Song Contest.

The group's absolute first piece of original music composed after all four members joined Måneskin wasn't met with a similar feeling of lightning in a bottle. That first song was about firsts, and it was titled "Introduction." "Because it was our introduction to the music," drummer Ethan Torchio quipped to NME. "It was not the best." Bassist Victoria De Angelis admitted that it's "very cringy," while lead singer Damiano David bluntly explained, "You listen to it now and it's s***." Perhaps not surprisingly, Måneskin has never commercially released "Introduction," nor has it ever appeared in the band's post-fame setlist.

Half of Måneskin hated one of Måneskin's biggest hits

In the wake of the international success of "Zitti e Buoni," the song that won the band the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest, Måneskin released the follow-up single, "I Wanna Be Your Slave." It quickly became the group's most successful single ever in the U.K., reaching No. 5.

Those accomplishments came despite some initial skepticism from bassist Victoria De Angelis and guitarist Thomas Raggi, two of the four members of Måneskin. Singer Damiano David recorded a demo of the tune as an audio file and sent it to the Måneskin group chat. "He said: 'Hey, check out this banger I came up with on the piano.' I was hanging out with Thomas, and we said: 'that sounds like s***,'" De Angelis recalled to The Guardian. After getting together as a band in London, the musicians converted David's piano riff to a bass riff, added some distortion, and found that it worked. "My bandmates, as artists, should have had a minimum of imagination," David quipped.

Who is Marlena?

In 2018, Måneskin released their first studio album, "Il ballo della vita." Right away, the band set out to establish a recurring mythology. Italian-language lyrics cryptically and emphatically allude to a woman named Marlena in five of the album's 12 songs — "Torna a casa," "L'altra dimensione," "Le parole lontane," "Niente da dire," and "Morirò da re."

None of those songs are about a real person named Marlena. More of an idea and summation of musical themes than a living or fictional character, "Marlena" is a theme that drove "Il ballo della vita," which Damiano David told reporters (via disesterina) is a concept album. "Marlena... is the voice and the face of our message. We decided to contain it in a woman to give strength to our message. Because when the things are told by a person, you feel it more personally, instead of having to interpret the songs," David added (as translated from Italian).

Måneskin and the Rolling Stones are mutual admirers

Any band up and running after the 1960s that embraces the sleaze, flamboyance, and riff-based aspects of rock 'n' roll, is influenced by the Rolling Stones, who are considered by many to be the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band. Måneskin falls into that camp, and its members were taken aback when that group's leader and singer, Mick Jagger, personally requested that the then still-emerging Italian hard rock quartet open for the Rolling Stones at a November 2021 show in Las Vegas. It would also mark the band's biggest performance to that point. "It was our first stadium so it was crazy," bassist Victoria De Angelis said on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." "We also got the chance to talk to him, and he was like, so nice and knew a lot of our music and stuff."

Also impressed with the younger rock 'n' roll upstarts, but perhaps not as much, was Jagger's Rolling Stones bandmate, guitarist Keith Richards. "He was like, 'I don't know who the f*** you are, but they told me you're good,'" De Angelis recalled.

A major Måneskin hit is a nod to Eurovision

While it's ostensibly a vehicle to turn the performers of the winning song into an international household name, the Eurovision Song Contest has only ever made bonafide overnight, enduring superstars out of one act: ABBA, who won for Sweden in 1974 with "Waterloo." Twenty-first century Italian rock sensation Måneskin looks to be the next big thing to come out of Eurovision, and the band used a 2021 single to reference and pay tribute to their launchpad and victorious precursor.

After the completion of Eurovision, Måneskin had less than a week to write, record, and produce a new single. "Fortunately this song came out in a few hours," frontman Damiano David told NME. David and his bandmates wrote about their sudden and startling celebrity. "We had a lot of attention on us," he said. "I wanted to translate that into the lyrics, because it happens a lot — maybe you're doing something that you feel is great, but people don't understand it and make bad judgements and bad comments about it. I wanted to make fun of that situation." Another Eurovision connection: Previous champion ABBA had a hit single in 1975 with the similarly titled "Mamma Mia."

Supermodel isn't about a supermodel

Following worldwide success after their Eurovision Song Contest win in 2021, Måneskin moved from Italy and decamped to Los Angeles to explore professional opportunities. In living and working around the entertainment hotbed, the members of Måneskin were inspired to write the 2022 hit "Supermodel." It's not a tune about one particular man or woman, but an eye-opening response to the superficiality of the LA lifestyle, a concept Måneskin's musicians saw firsthand while attending exclusive parties.

"What shocked us was there's a lot of people who only try to get something from others and they want to be at the top of the spots," frontman Damiano David told Billboard. "But then you see that they're playing a character. It was strange for us because we always saw these things on movies and TV shows and we always thought it was kind of exaggerated, but it's not." Måneskin was inspired to stay above the fray and instead make a song out of the experience. "That's basically what we do. We see things that interest us and write songs about it."

Måneskin is provocative on purpose

Måneskin's lyrics and public statements are often laced with anger or frustration, particularly over social issues and injustice. It's an emotion that goes back to the band's early days, when they found so few opportunities for new rock groups in Italy that they had to perform on the street. "This gave us the strength and the cathartic anger to change this kind of situation," singer Damiano David told the Associated Press, explaining Måneskin's will to succeed and attempts to effect change. The band's revealing, eye-catching stage outfits speak to that. "We feel free to wear whatever makes us feel right, and we are also trying to send a message about blurring all these kinds of stereotypes, between gender norms and stuff," bassist Victoria De Angelis added.

In addition to publicly supporting a proposed amendment to an Italian law that would offer anti-hate crime protection to the LGBT community, Måneskin wrote and recorded the 2022 track "Gasoline" to voice their outrage over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. "Of course this whole f***ing insane situation with Ukraine really affected us," De Angelis told The Independent. "We just felt like we could do something to use our privilege and the people that look up to us to stand for what's right, and make some people feel helped and understood."

A wardrobe malfunction was no big deal for Måneskin

In 2022, Måneskin was invited to attend the annual MTV Video Music Awards. Nominated for Best New Artist and Group of the Year, the Italian rock band won the award for Best Alternative for "I Wanna Be Your Slave" and also took to the stage during the live broadcast for a performance of the single "Supermodel." The musicians' stage costumes didn't cover up much skin; singer Damiano David wore a dog collar, leather chaps, and a thong, while bassist Victoria De Angelis wore a loose-fitting, single-sleeved top that hung down so low on one side she wore a shiny star-shaped cutout over an otherwise exposed breast. As she energetically played the bass guitar, the shirt fell, leaving the musician partially nude on stage, and on live TV.

MTV's camera crew resorted to using as many wide shots as possible of the band to avoid showing the scantily clad De Angelis and David. Aware of and unfazed by the wardrobe issue, De Angelis kept playing. "It's so stupid because they want to appear so open-minded," De Angelis explained to The Guardian about MTV's handling of the incident. "And then they get scared about a pair of nipples."

Måneskin married Måneskin

After bringing their music from Italy to the rest of Europe through the Eurovision Song Contest, and then around the world with a couple of albums, Måneskin released their third album "Rush!" in January 2023. To commemorate the occasion, all four members of Måneskin brought it all back home to Italy and got married. In a publicity stunt staged and funded by Spotify, where the band generates streaming numbers in the billions, Måneskin converged on the Palazzo Brancaccio in Rome for the ceremony, located not far from where the group honed their skills busking together as teenagers in the 2010s.

Presiding over the lavish wedding as the celebrant: fashion designer Alessandro Michele. Celebrities such as Baz Luhrmann, Machine Gun Kelly, and Paolo Sorrentino were present as each member of Måneskin pledged "eternal loyalty to one another." In this non-legally binding, mock wedding ceremony, all four musicians in Måneskin married each other. Everyone wore coordinated white outfits, clutched bouquets, and celebrated their fake nuptials with kisses.

Critics hate the band

Commercial success often doesn't equate to respect and praise from critics. That's certainly been the case for Måneskin, who, despite selling millions of records and generating billions of streams, can't seem to attract much respect from rock writers and tastemakers. Julia Gray of Stereogum listed the band among music's worst trends of 2022 and suggested their popularity is part of a propaganda campaign, or a "psyop."

"Their new album is absolutely terrible at every conceivable level," said Jeremy D. Larson of Pitchfork of the 2023 LP "Rush!" "The production sounds so cramped, digitized, and swagless that it seems to be optimized for getting busy in a Buffalo Wild Wings bathroom." "Måneskin is a caricature of a rock band," wrote Steven Hyden of Uproxx. "Over the course of an album, the relentless disco-rock thump inevitably feels one-note and wearying."

The harsh words don't seem to bother the members of Måneskin. "We don't really care to be liked by everyone, and we know that there's a part of [the] audience that is never gonna like us," Damiano David told CBS Mornings.

How Måneskin gets that Måneskin look

Måneskin is more than just a band — it's a multi-disciplinary art project, and the group's look is nearly as important as the music that inspired it. In 2020, after releasing a couple of popular albums in Italy but before they would become international superstars with a win at the Eurovision Song Contest, Måneskin sought out a high-profile image consultant. The band hired Nicolò Cerioni, co-founder and principal of Sugarkane, a rock music-forward agency that develops musicians' image and handles all elements of art direction, including the production of music videos and the fashions they choose to wear. Cerioni told VD News (via The Art of Costume) that upon meeting with the musicians of Måneskin, he was "very impressed by their professionalism and musical artistry" and appreciated their "very precise ideas about their stylistic path."

The group favors fashions that take inspiration from the same sources as their music, such as hard rock and glam bands of the late 20th century. Throughout 2023, the band played shows while wearing ensembles prepared for them by Gucci. The classic-rock-evoking outfits utilized a lot of form-fitting pieces, leather, bell-bottom pants, and bare skin.