Vanessa Silberman, singer, songwriter, and record producer, along with musician and actor Ryan Carnes, form the musical duo LOVECOLOR, known for their sultry alt-pop, dark synth, dance, and rock sounds that explore various facets of love. Joining forces officially in 2019 and launching LOVECOLOR in November 2022, the duo has garnered comparisons to artists such as Sinead O’Connor, The 1975, Chvrches, Lana Del Rey, and St. Vincent. Ryan Carnes boasts an extensive list of credits, including roles in "Desperate Housewives" and Clint Eastwood’s "Letters from Iwo Jima," as well as lead roles in prominent films such as "The Phantom" and "La Boda de Valentina." Their third single, 'Crazy Love,' released on Nov. 15th, 2023, was supported by a Western U.S. and CA tour alongside Volores & Holdfast. Their fourth single, 'Hearts on Fire,' is set for release on Valentine's Day, February 14th, 2024. Produced by Vanessa Silberman and co-produced by Ryan Carnes, their singles were recorded and mastered by Silberman and mixed by Andrew Dawson, known for his work with Jay Z, Phantogram, and Sleigh Bells. 

How did the band form and what does the band name mean?

Vanessa:  Ryan and I had been playing live for a couple years with him backing me and we had started collaborating more. I'd ask him what he thought of a mix or for creative input. I just adored playing with him and all his music ideas.  We like so much of the same music that we thought we should just start a band. Originally, we were gonna put out some of these songs as my solo songs, or featuring Ryan, but my solo music is much more alternative rock than the newer music that we were so excited about creating.  The demos I started to work on were much different, so at the last minute, we decided to just go for it and come up with a band name, which was a long process." 

Ryan: “I would echo everything Vanessa said.  We knew we had a common musical language and were really enjoying the process of creating together and playing together.  What was so clear to me from the beginning of our musical journey together is that Vanessa has such a strong collaborative spirit and so little ego when it comes to the creative process.  She's a dream to work with.  She really has the attitude that "the best idea in the room wins." No matter whose idea it is.  Naming the band was a several months-long process.  Ironically, though, LOVECOLOR was something we discussed early on and ultimately ended up coming back to.  I'm a huge Alt-J fan, and they have this lyric from their song 'Nara' that goes, "Love, love is the warmest color."  I've always thought that was such a brilliant lyric because to me, love really is the warmest color.  I proposed LOVECOLOR to her, and she seemed to really dig it.  But, I kept thinking we'd come up with something we liked even more.  But in the end, we kept coming back to that name, and it stuck.”

Previous musical projects? How'd you first get into music?

Vanessa: “When I was in grade school I discovered bands from Seattle and MTV. When I heard Nirvana for the first time that's when I realized I wanted to play music and that was it, I just knew I wanted to do music for a living, I moved to LA in my late teens and started a band / moniker called Diamonds Under Fire for quite sometime and also toured solo under my name for 4-5 years straight - playing about a 100-200 shows a year.” 

Ryan: “I grew up on a farm in the country at a time during which cable television wasn't available in those kinds of areas. It wasn't until the emergence of satellite TV that we could even get more than about 4 channels.  However, my maternal grandparents lived in town and had cable TV back when MTV only played music.  They were my babysitters, and I loved spending time with them, so I was there a lot. When I wasn't outside playing ball or riding bikes with my grandpa, I was camped out in front of MTV.  I was obsessed with hearing new music and seeing music videos that blew my mind, like Metallica's "One, "Cherry Pie, "Welcome to the Jungle." It was around that same time that I took a genuine interest in drums.  I couldn't get enough music.  That's how it all started.

In school, I played in marching band, jazz band, concert band, pep band... all the bands... all the way through high school, as well as marching band in college.  But, when I moved to LA, I took a long hiatus from music and didn't actually start playing professionally until about 10 years ago.  That's another story for another time, but I share that in case there's anyone out there reading this who thinks they waited too long to start, or who thinks they missed their chance.  I believe it's never too late to do what you love.  Since that time, I've played in a handful of bands that suffered from what I call "curse of the demo." We'd be plodding along, writing cool music, cut a demo, and then the band would break up.  Like clockwork.  Fortunately for me, it worked out with Vanessa, and I couldn't ask for a better bandmate and project to take out into the world for the first time." 

First concert that you ever went to? 

Vanessa: Live 105 BFD 1996 (No Doubt, Joan Jett, Local H, Dishwalla) in San Francisco"

Ryan: “Locally, I don't really remember, but I imagine some high school band playing at our local fall festival. Nationally, Dishwalla, too!  At the Illinois State Fair.  Funny Vanessa and I share that first!.”

What's your writing process like?

Vanessa: “I typically start with samples and then add lyrics and melodies over that. I usually construct a demo of a song or some ideas like an intro, verse and chorus, and then send it to Ryan to see what he thinks and get his input and ideas.  Then, we build the songs from there." 

Ryan: “What she said. Vanessa is very patient and trusting with me.  She trusts my instincts and loves to pull on a thread with me until we can determine whether it's working or not.  If it is, great!  If it isn't, that's okay, too.  We toss the idea and move on." 

What other artists or songs inspire your music? 

"We love so many types of music (rock, pop, alternative, indie, 80s and new wave bands). On our playlist, you'll find everything from Led Zeppelin to M82. Some of the examples of inspiration we have drawn from are things like in our song 'Pure Love.' In that track, there is a chain sample, and we were really thinking about Depeche Mode and all their unique sounds they use. 'Midnight City' by M83 inspired the brass section in our song 'Dangerous'.  Also, there's kind of a ridiculous guitar solo in 'Crazy Love' that came from wanting to find a happy marriage of Nirvana meets Prince / Madonna and Muse."  We wanted to include "Nara" by Alt-J  since it lent itself to the inspiration for our band name and Cocteau Twins "Fifty-fifty clown.  We love the dreamy, soundscape-type elements of their sound, and coincidentally, we've been surprised at how many people have actually mentioned that they hear some of their sounds in what we're doing.  That's been an unexpected comparison for us.”  

What's the live experience like and your philosophy on playing live? Do you think the music live should be identical to the recorded version or should it be its own thing?

Vanessa: “The Lovecolor live show is impactful and is so important to us.  We care about the audience's experience and always give it our all, no matter what. We make it energetic, yet sultry and vibey, no matter the tone or tempo of the song.  Even if it's a slower song, we want to wrap you up in it and capture moments. Both Ryan & I love entertaining live shows as fans, so we strive for that in our own show and love connecting with people and with each other on stage. In the studio, there's no limitations, and it's just about making the best songs possible, whatever that is, and then trying to replicate / recreate them live.  It has definitely been a fun journey of growth on how to balance the energetic rock energy live instrumentation, with samples and backing tracks to capture our sound.” 

Ryan: “Whenever we step out on stage, we strive to give whoever is in the room with us a real experience.  Maybe not coincidentally, time and again, people say to us, 'Your songs are just such... an experience.'  That's the most common word I would say people use to describe our music.  I think that's a massive compliment because that's how we see the music, also.  And that's what we want to transmit in our live shows.  It's not easy for us to define or for us to say exactly what it is that we are doing, other than making music that we love and that feels good to us to make.  The one thing we know with certainty that we're doing is striving to create music that gives people a visceral response, takes them on a journey, and leaves them feeling differently than before they listened to the song or showed up for our set.  It's tough to say whether or not I think the live show should be identical to the recorded version.  My opinion on that changes, depending on the type of music and the act.  As a fan of music, I used to expect that and would be disappointed when the live song didn't precisely match the recorded version.  Now, I don't always feel the same way.  I think artists should have the prerogative to give an inspired performance, even if that differs slightly from what's on the track, so long as it maintains the integrity of the spirit of the song and doesn't deviate too wildly. 

Has the band toured? What has the touring experience been, best shows? worst shows?

Vanessa: “Yes, we have done 3 tours in the past year. Both Ryan and I love playing and touring. Some of our tours have been really packed and condensed with a lot of shows, in very short amounts of time.  Sometimes that can be intense and hard to digest --but I absolutely love playing LA and NY hometown shows. We have had some really amazing ones. I really loved our WFNM showcase (it was a packed smaller LA show that was just so fun). The more challenging ones are when you just don't have enough time to get things right, especially with sound, so you just have to roll with it. We've had our backtracks go out on us and we just kind of rolled with it and kept playing. Never a dull moment.” 

Ryan”: One time, we were headlining a show that we had curated and driven 8 or 9 hrs in one day to get to.  Because the first band started late for some reason, front of house tried to give us the hook after 4 songs.  We were like, "What?  No."  We defied them and played another song.  After the fifth song, front of house started harassing us again in front of everyone.  At that point, we just bailed because it was such a bizarre occurrence and had really killed the vibe of the set.  Afterwards, when we told the manager about it (who, for some reason wasn't even inside and was spending the whole show outside), he was mortified and told us that never should have happened.  It was the sound guy's first night, and apparently, no one had briefed him on protocol and decorum.  That was a weird one!” 

What's up next for the band?

Ryan: “We just released a new single 'Hearts on Fire' and have a new music video coming soon, as well as an EP and some touring that will be happening this summer.  We'll be announcing the tour schedule at a later date.”


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