“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. Their follow-up album, Mourning Time, was released in March of 2011. Team Smile and Nod signed a non-exclusive contract with the next generation music label, ArtisTech Media, 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, he was in a band called Big Engine with Jeff Hindman (DJ Jeffee- Orlando, FL) and Steven Hindman (Lismore, The Golden Filter) that started as ‘60s psychedelic pop-rock and developed into electronic pop. He was also part of an industrial band called Lick. Rich performed at raves and clubs while part of Columbus’ underground electronic scene in the ‘90s (ele_mental collective). He has self-released a series of solo albums and has contributed to many compilations (arch_typ’s 21/22 Corporation) using the name Ihannoa. Rich has created remixes for The Azoic and Pinebox. “Ever” was released on The Azoic’s album re:illumination [the mixes] (2008). “…his remix of “Ever” is simply terrific! The style is a bit psy-trance like… creating some irresistible dance vibes.” Side-Line Music Magazine. Pinebox’s To Mirror The Whole (2012) features a track co-written by Rich called “Stardust Sensation.”
Kara Square creates the lyrics, vocals, sounds, and guitar parts for Team Smile and Nod. She is currently working on an ukulele love song album called “Love Songs For Everyone But Especially Uke.” Its first single and music video, “Start Each Day with Love,” was released August 2, 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 ccMixter.org. 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 atmospheric and ambient sounds, orchestral build, soft percussion, and calm vocal delivery 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
"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. 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