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Genres You Will Love
Electronic: Pop Crossover Pop: Folky Pop Folk: Folk Pop Moods: Mood: Dreamy Moods: Type: Experimental

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Team Smile and Nod

“Dust from the Stars,” the first single and title track from Team Smile and Nod’s upcoming third album, is a catchy, atmospheric, dream-inspired love song. It is an exemplary example of their refined musical vision.

Team Smile and Nod is an electro pop duo from Columbus, Ohio that formed in 2004. About a week after swapping demo CDs, Rich Ratvasky (artist-producer) surprised Kara Square (singer-songwriter) with a remix of one of her songs. Inspired by the remix, they merged their musical styles into an upbeat, melody-driven, politically-inspired fusion. Their sound has been compared to Broken Bells, Bat For Lashes, Massive Attack, and Fever Ray. Look Both Ways Before You Die, their debut album, was released in November of 2008. Mourning Time, Team Smile and Nod’s sophomore release, was released in March of 2011. Team Smile and Nod signed a non-exclusive contract with ArtisTech Media, the next generation music label, in June of 2011.

Rich Ratvasky builds a sonic layer of feeling with his electronic arrangements. He experiments with keyboards, vocals, guitars, and effects as half of Team Smile and Nod. He has been involved in bands and electronic music since his high school years. “In the late ‘80s, I was in a band, Big Engine, that started as ‘60s psychedelic pop-rock and developed into a more electronic band. At the same time, I was in an industrial-type band called Lick,” Rich shares. “In high school, I started making my first recordings with basically- toy keyboards, a guitar, and two tape decks.” Rich performed at raves and clubs while part of Columbus’ underground electronic scene in the ‘90s (ele_mental collective). He has self-released a CD series and contributed to many compilations (21/22 Corporation) using the name Ihannoa. Rich has created numerous remixes with Azoic and Pinebox.

Kara Square creates the lyrics, vocals, sounds, and guitar parts for Team Smile and Nod. She is currently working on a ukulele love song album called “Love Songs For Everyone But Especially Uke” and released the first single and music video, “Start Each Day with Love” in August of 2012. In 2010, she began her solo effort by recording comedy songs, making weird little videos to accompany them, and blogging about it as Mind Map That. Her video, “Think About Poop,” won Water For People’s Support a Movement Video Competition in December of 2010. As Kara recorded her comedy songs, she posted each track’s stems on the Creative Commons remix website Since joining ccMixter in June of 2010, her songs have been remixed over 290 times by a talented international community of musicians. Based on her enthusiastic participation on ccMixter and her choice to embrace Creative Commons, she was invited to be an Admin on ccMixter in August of 2011. Her music has been released on many compilation albums including “Free! Music! Sampler Freeloaded” (2010), ccMixter’s “Emergence” (2011), Lawrence Lessig and ccMixter’s “Strike the Root” (2011), and CMR Ohio’s “Occupy Columbus” (2011). Her vocals are featured on acclaimed Turkish musician, Murat Ses’ newest album “Light Cone” (track 2, “Chiral of Past”). A re-mastered collection of her comedy songs will be released in an upcoming album called “Mind Map That: Humorous Songs from Unmappable Territory.

“Dust from the Stars” is the first glimpse of the pinnacle album of Team Smile and Nod’s collaboration. The lyrics describe a journey through a confusing dream-world that reveals an infinite dedication to love. The ambient sounds, orchestral build, brass hits, and soft percussion sooth the listener while invoking imagery of a brilliant night sky. Team Smile and Nod asked their fans to vote between two songs to decide on the album single. “Dust from the Stars” received 70% of the votes. The song displays the depth of the duos musical connection with intentionally delicate production and meticulous songwriting. It will be officially released with a music video on September 6, 2012.

Praise for Mourning Time:
“Team Smile and Nod exemplifies new artistry, born via remix culture. Rich and Kara originally connected via a remix, and Kara's expansive work at ccMixter led us to find her provoking productions with Rich. The album Mourning Time connected to those places in me that only grief can touch. The album uplifts through its quirky sincerity.”
Emily Richards, CEO of ArtisTech Media

“Kara processes her mother's death amidst more sophisticated production that defies a pigeonhole.”
Chris DeVille, Columbus Alive

"Mourning Time is a great addition to any collection, especially of those who grew up on synth-pop and gothic rock. For those who reminisce of the Modern Rock era, but enjoy a modern relevance, Team Smile and Nod is what you're looking for."
Steve Dustcircle, Columbus Music Review

Praise for Look Both Ways Before You Die:
“Over irresistibly bouncy beats, a sexy/smoky voice sagely ponders the big questions reminding us, sometimes subtly and sometimes quite specifically, that someday you and I and everyone will breathe our last. If dreams had soundtracks -- that is, the compelling kind of dream that keeps you thinking long after you arise -- Team Smile and Nod should be in the running to provide them.”
Anneli Rufus, author of Party of One, The Farewell Chronicles, and Stuck

"Their sound is sophisticated, playful, melodic and extremely engaging. On songs like “Still Stuck" and "They Grow It,” Kara Elizabeth and Rich Ratvasky show their ability to absorb cross generational influences from Everything But The Girl to SMiLE era Beach Boys. By digesting the atmospheric layering and sonic textures of terrific emo-pop of the past, they have produced an emotionally compelling sound for the future that is distinctly their own.” Jon Peterson, Host, "Shakin It" WCBE/Columbus