Maneskin Q&A: ‘Our song Gasoline was inspired by Ukraine – we wanted to raise our voice for something meaningful’

Backstage at Coachella, the Italian band tell Kevin E G Perry about their first impressions of the festival, their urgent new protest song for Ukraine, and what it means to be a rock star in 2022

Kevin E G Perry
Monday 18 April 2022 01:58 BST
Italy win the Eurovision Song Contest 2021

The flamboyant Italian rock band Måneskin have come a long way since forming in 2016, when they started their career busking on the streets of Rome.

They shot to fame in their home country after finishing second in the Italian version of The X Factor in 2017. International recognition followed after they won the last year’s Eurovision Song Contest for Italy with their irrepressible anthem “Zitti e buoni” (which translates as “Shut Up and Behave”).

Now, the Seventies-obsessed band are on a mission to revive the lost art of rock’n’roll in America. Backstage at Coachella, singer Damiano David, bassist Victoria De Angelis, guitarist Thomas Raggi, and drummer Ethan Torchio tell us their impressions of the Californian festival.

Welcome to Coachella! You’ve just arrived on-site. What are your first impressions?

David: “It’s huge! The atmosphere is very nice. I think it’s one of the coolest places to get the chance to play in the world. We’re already seeing a lot of people now, and it’s super hot and super early. Playing at 8:30pm makes us very confident that people will be excited.”

How are you guys dealing with the heat?

De Angelis: “I’m about to faint.”

Kanye West was supposed to headline the festival after you play on Sunday, but he dropped out at the last minute. If it was up to you, who would you have askedto replace him?

David: “I think The Weeknd is a good choice!”

You’ve been credited with bringing rock’n’roll back to the forefront of streaming and radio, and you’re one of the few rock bands on the Coachella bill this year. Is that a weight on your shoulders?

David: “No! Of course, every time we get told something like that we're very proud of it, but that's not our main purpose. We're not aiming to bring rock and roll back. We're just a rock band that is doing great! We're happy about it. We don't have any weight on our shoulders. We're really chilled about it.”

What does it mean to be a rock star in 2022?

David: “To do whatever you want, without worrying about the market, or Twitter, or people judging you.”

Torchio: “To do whatever you want, without hurting anybody else.”

David: “Yes, of course! That’s obvious.”

What can you tell us about your new track “Gasoline”?

De Angelis: “We've been writing a lot of music these past few months, so of course this whole f***ing insane situation with Ukraine really affected us. 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. We want to raise our voice for something that's meaningful. It just came pretty naturally because we felt the urge to do it while we were writing and this thing really affected us, as it has everyone. We just felt the need to talk about it.”

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So you’ve been recording for a new record in LA?

David: “Yeah, we’ve been recording in the hills. It’s been…”

De Angelis: “It’s not bad!”

David: “It’s a life goal!”

You also have a North American tour coming up. Where are you looking forward to playing?

De Angelis: “We’ve never travelled around America before, we’ve just been to LA, New York and Las Vegas. It’s going to be the first time we really get to see all the different places and I think that’s going to be fun.”

David: “I’m looking forward to seeing the difference between the states. People always say that, but as Europeans we don’t really get the difference between Florida and California. We’re looking forward to understanding that!”

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