BIO- Mourning Time, Team Smile and Nod's sophomore release, has evolved for over half a decade. The songs focus on the sudden death of Kara's mother in 2003. They explore the continuously morphing state of mourning with an oddly uplifting and quirky approach. Team Smile and Nod is an electro folk pop duo from Columbus, Ohio that formed in 2004. About a week after swapping demo CDs, Rich Ratvasky (artist-producer) surprised Kara E. Sherman (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. Look Both Ways Before You Die, their debut album, was released in November of 2008. Kara Elizabeth Sherman creates the lyrics, vocals, sounds, and guitar parts for Team Smile and Nod. Her first musical influences were drawn from her parents' record collection. "When I was a kid, I would listen to their favorite folk singers over and over: Joni Mitchell, Simon and Garfunkel, Peter, Paul, and Mary, John Denver... I felt a comforting connection to their stories and melodies," Kara explains. She began writing songs as a teenager and performed solo at various coffee shops and bars, OSU's Take Back the Night and Rock for Choice, and opened for Catie Curtis at the late Little Brother's. In 2004, she graduated from the Recording Workshop in Chillicothe, Ohio. "Learning the art of recording really opened my musical vision. I met Rich soon after I finished school. We connected through our mutual interest in recording and experimenting with music." 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. With each new song, Kara and Rich combine their individual efforts into a true collaboration. "Our writing process has completely changed. With our early songs, we would work in a very separate way. We would each record our parts separately, give it a listen together, make changes separately, then come together to mix and master it. We still spend some solo time on the music, but we develop the feel and melodies of the songs together now," Kara says. Their debut album exhibits the development of their experimental sound. Rich elaborates, "I try to do something new every time and make something that makes me excited to hear it. With all the new technology, the possibilities are literally endless." The songs on Team Smile and Nod's Mourning Time were written over a period of seven years. Many of the songs felt too personal for Kara to record when they were first created. As time passed, the band revisited these songs and decided that they were a perfect bond for the concept of their second effort. While death is a central, reoccurring theme, other challenging topics are also covered (i.e. The struggle for LGBT equality, environmental concerns, and the perils of everyday life). The album starts with an upbeat, danceable pop song about love and growth called "Truth and Fact." The second track, "I Wonder," is an updated version of the song that Rich originally remixed to surprise Kara. Overall, Mourning Time evokes a feeling of hope and closure best exemplified by the final and title track. Praise for Team Smile and Nod's debut CD, Look Both Ways Before You Die- "It's hard to resist... The interesting combination of politically charged vocals with danceable electronic beats offered up by the duo Kara Sherman and Rich Ratvasky works particularly well on clubby cuts like "Still Stuck," and humorous diatribes like "Consumer Whore." Curve Magazine, April 2009 "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 "Team Smile and Nod play catchy Latin-spiced electronica-folk that is 50% Ani Difranco, 50% Miami Sound Machine, and 150% political." Nicole J. Georges, zinester, illustrator, and author of Invincible Summer 'It's hard to come up with a fresh and unique sound in this post post-modern world of music, but Team Smile and Nod has managed to do just that. 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 "Give them a shot! Charm and synthesizers! What more could you want?" Queerics, March 14, 2009 'Groovy synth alt-pop with infectious beats and vocals.' Jack DeVoss, UndergroundColumbus.com (former Music Director at CD101) "...their album, Look Both Ways Before You Die, sounds like the work of seasoned pros. It's female-fronted electro-pop with an unambiguous agenda for social equality." Columbus Alive, Sensory Overload Blog, November 7, 2008 "I really enjoyed the unique approach and melodic composition of this record- Team Smile and Nod's tuneful creations engage the listener's interest with their atmospheric sound." Indie-Music, March 19, 2009 "Kara's voice is sweet, lively, and compelling all at once. One song it's spritely and fun, the next her vocals are marked with an intense conviction that is impossible not to be drawn into." Life on the C-bus, November 10, 2008 "(The song topics) go from the personal to the social to the political at the turn of a phrase..." Pat Radio, Program #122, June 18, 2008 "This album bravely hits a lot of typically taboo topics like vegetarianism and homophobia." Melt Magazine, Nov. + Dec. 2008.