Menskin on feeling free, finding fame and going on his first world tour

In 2021, the band – composed of vocalist Damiano David, bassist Victoria De Angelis, guitarist Thomas Raggi and drummer Ethan Torchio – won Europe’s biggest song competition, Eurovision, and has been unstoppable ever since.

He’s scored three number one hits this year on Billboard’s alternative radio chart: his viral cover of Frankie Valli’s “Begin” and the original songs “Mamamiya” and “Supermodel.”

He was also recently nominated for two MTV Video Music Awards including Best New Artist. They have withdrawn from “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and titled “Saturday Night Live”.

Exactly a year ago, the four rockers were lesser-known musicians playing in the streets of Rome and fighting other street performers for a venue that would attract the most people. Now, attracting a crowd is as easy as announcing their next concert.

Earlier this month, he played for a sold out crowd of 70,000 at Rome’s iconic Circus Maximus and was invited to perform at some of America’s biggest music festivals, including Coachella and Lollapalooza, where he performed at the festival for the first time. will appear. sunday.

Later this fall, they will begin their first world tour, which will take them across the United States, Europe and Latin America, with tickets selling out fast and the dates moving to 2023.

CNN reporter Maria Santana caught up with Menaskin in New York before she was set to perform for a smaller, more intimate crowd at the city’s “House of X” as part of Sirius XM’s Small Stage series, and asked her Talked about meteorite growth. Fame, his humble beginnings, the next stop on his world tour, “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” covers Elvis Presley, and why he stands up for the people of Ukraine.

The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

First of all I need to ask how do you pronounce your band name?

All: Sigh-ah-skin!

Santana: I always listen to man-a-skin.

Victoria de Angelis: Yes, all right.

Offspring: So, lament-a-skin?

Thomas Raggi: Moan-A-Skin is perfect.

And what does menskin mean?

De Angelis: This means moonlight. I chose it when we first started playing because we needed to enter this music contest, and we didn’t have a name yet, so they just asked me to say random words in Danish, and we had a chose to

Looking back on this past year, I bet it has been absolutely insane for you, where were you from a year ago until now?

Damiano David: Yeah, it’s been a crazy journey, but of course we’re really happy about what we’ve done, and every time we look back, we’re so happy and proud .

What is the most surprising, perhaps most exciting, thing that has happened to you in the past year?

Raggi: I think we’ve had a lot of incredible moments during this past year. Maybe a song featuring Iggy Pop is one of these, and definitely playing with The Stones. I mean a lot, it’s been a lot.

Now you’re filling the stadium with 70,000 people, selling tickets for 80,000, and you said it was really hard for you guys to find a place to play in Italy. How was it when you started?

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De Angelis: It was very difficult because there is no real rock scene in Rome, so there are no clubs that want bands to play their stuff, and also not very used to people going to up-and-coming artists’ shows goes.

They only go to famous people they already know, so it was really tough and so we started playing as buskers on the streets. We were always fighting with other street performers to have the best spot, and we never won, but… (Laughter).

And then you do Eurovision, how did it change your life?

David: I think we had our first real window outside Italy. From that moment we were basing our projects only for Italy and Italy and this opportunity was in Europe, then from Europe to America, and we expect to grow more and more.

What was it like to win for Italy? It’s been 30 years since Italy won Eurovision, and then you win with rock ‘n’ roll, a genre that’s not huge there?

Raggi: Yes, he’s crazy.

David: I think it was unexpected.

De Angelis: Yes, everyone was very proud, big celebration.

Too often for Eurovision winners, they have that big moment and then they disappear. What do you think makes you guys different that you are able to take this and catapult so much and it become a worldwide phenomenon?

David: I think for us Eurovision came at the very right time because we just came out with an album, so what we brought to Eurovision was basically one of the whole album things and it was refreshing, and It was super authentic to us. So, I think people were happy to find a lot of harmony between what they brought to Eurovision and what they saw in our catalogue, and they felt like, well, it’s not just a viral song that they did specifically for Eurovision. Made for, but it’s just one of their songs and then they have two albums, and it all makes sense.

Then, you release “Begin,” which turns into the most successful rock song of the past year. I mean, I wake up every morning I think last year, (sings), “I beg, beg” … (laughter) … it just gets in my head, and Then I’m like, come on, just get out!

David: Yes, it’s our fault, it’s our fault, (Laughter). Well, it’s not even our fault because we didn’t even publicize it. This is Tiktok’s fault. It just went viral. We were quite shocked by this. When we saw it growing, we were like, what is happening, and then we came to know that it was viral on TikTok and whatever happened after that.

why that song? It’s a cover of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, and I can’t think of a more different genre than you guys and The Four Seasons.

De Angelis: Actually, we first played it when we were just starting out, and we think it’s more challenging and fun to make covers for very different songs. So, like now we’re also playing “Womanizer” by Britney Spears, for example, and we just find it a challenge and stimulating, and it really inspires you to interpret something different and bring it into your own. does. That’s when you do something good, I guess.

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You also covered “If I Can Dream” for the movie Elvis, what was it like singing an Elvis song? I mean, you know, “The King of Rock n’ Roll.”

David: Well, every time we have some big deal, we try not to think about it too much because then you get anxious, and you feel the pressure. When we got the chance to play the cover of Elvis, we didn’t feel like we were facing Elvis because it would have been impossible, you can’t try to fight the legacy of Elvis. We were so happy and super happy and super honored to just have the chance to play one of his songs, and we focused on that, and we focused on doing the best we could on that song without being compared to Elvis. One because, of course, it is untouchable.

You now have two VMA nominations and the third number one song on the Billboard chart, “Supermodel,” Can You Tell Me What the Song Is About?

De Angelis: The funny thing is, everyone thinks it’s about supermodels, but it’s not. We wrote this after living in LA for like three months, where we met a lot of people who were pretending to be supermodels or superstars. Everyone was very focused on the way they appeared and not what they were really like or who they really were. Everyone was just trying to fake that they had the best clothes, the best friends, the coolest clubs, stuff like that, and we found it a little silly, but it was something we thought. Was only shown in movies, like a stereotype, you know, but when we saw it in person, we thought it was funny and wanted to make a funny song about it.

I can tell you there is none like this in New York. We are very real. If you had to make a song about New York, what would it be about?

De Angelis: Ohhhh… (laughs) … we need to spend more months here.

David: I think it would be like a club song, Super Dirty, Clubbish… (Laughter).

You’ve played various festivals like Lollapalooza in Europe, but this weekend you’re doing Lollapalooza in Chicago. What does it mean to play Lollapalooza in America?

Raggi: Crazy, it’s huge.

De Angelis: This is our first festival in the USA. So, it’s like a big, big deal…

David: This isn’t our first festival! We played at Coachella, come on! … (laughter).

De Angelis: Oh, it’s true, Coachella. We’ve started the festive season this summer, and it’s only been Europe so far, so it’s a first for this summer.

Ragi: For the summer, yes.

You sing in English and Italian, but we have a lot of Italian singers who are huge in Latin America, and they sing in Spanish – Laura Pausini, Eros Ramazzotti, Il Volo – do you think you’ll ever sing in Spanish ?

David: Why not?

De Angelis: In Spanish?

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David: I basically listen to Spanish sounding music, so I don’t back up… (laughs).

You’re about to start your tour, and you’re going to Latin America, Santiago, Buenos Aires. What’s it like to visit all these places, is it culture shock when you go?

David: Yeah, you know, we’ve never been outside of Ethan, we’ve never been to Latin America, and we’ve never played there, but of course, we know something about the people there, and we know That they’re really crazy… (Laughter) … freaked out, hot, and we like that kind of crowd. So, we can’t wait to play there, and this was one of the places that amazed me the most. When I saw the tickets that were selling out, it was “What the f**k?” It was like, how did we get there? It was crazy, so we really can’t wait to be there.

How has fame changed you, if at all?

De Angelis: I don’t think it has changed us.

David: I’m less worried about things actually. I think I’m stable… (laughs).

Do you think that fame, when you are so famous, comes with a responsibility to speak on some political issues? A lot of actors say, I am an entertainer, not a politician or an activist.

De Angelis: Yeah, for us, I think it comes naturally, so when we think we know enough about a topic, and we think our opinion, like, can make a difference or Something that we don’t feel as a pressure or something. It comes naturally, and we are happy to do it. Plus, if we can share a positive message on something that really matters to us, we’re happy to do it. If not, we don’t feel pressured to do the same.

You did a song in support of Ukraine, “We’re Gonna Dance on Gasoline,” how do you feel about that situation?

David: It’s really hard to say because we feel really bad about it, but we also know that we have a huge privilege, without worry, we don’t have to worry about something happening to us. Going to do. So, we are privileged, but of course, we are happier if we can spread knowledge about it, and we feel we have to because something is happening today and if we can do something today. If you can, it is even more valuable.

Your first song was “Zitti a Buoni”, which means “Shut up and behave.” Don’t look like you guys are going to have any shut-up or behavior anytime soon.

De Angelis: No, not at all.

Where do you go from here?

De Angelis: I don’t know, we feel very free. We just want to keep playing. We have a lot of amazing gigs and tours coming out in front of us, so I think we’re going to really enjoy it and get all the inspiration we can from it and then turn it into music. We don’t want to set any specific goals, but we just want to go ahead and see what happens and keep getting better and do what feels right to us.

CNN’s Marysabel Huston-Crespo contributed to this report.