The Static Dive is a music blog featuring independent artists of all genres from around the globe. It is also the professional name of recording artist, producer and writer, Bob Smith. Interested in featuring your music on the blog? Click here.
Bob Smith (yes, that is his real name) has worked in the music industry for a quarter century. Throughout the 1990’s, he toured the US college circuit with the influential experimental ska/jam/funk band Shu.
In the early 2000’s Bob was a founding partner and primary technical developer of HitPredictor. The boutique company helped define organic online music promotion and research. While there, he ran promotional and research campaigns for every major record label, and worked with radio stations across the United States.
Through his work with HitPredictor, Bob had the opportunity to write a regularly occurring byline column in Billboard magazine. He also wrote a popular weekly column for seven years in his local newspaper. At one time he even created & hosted his own TV and radio shows. In addition to his daily output on this site, Bob has written for countless other online music publications, and continues to do so.
Over the years, Bob has written and recorded hundreds of songs as a solo artist and with other projects. Now the multi-instrumentalist works as one half of the House of Static production team, as a solo artist (The Static Dive), and as a collaborator with a number of other musicians and producers.
Where are you from?
I was born in Englewood, New Jersey but grew up (and still reside) in upstate NY.
How long have you been making music?
Almost 40 years. I got my first guitar in 1986. I was 16. Although I was already deeply into recording and its related technologies (such as they existed at the time), it was my first real musical instrument.
My dad bought me a very nice Fender acoustic for Christmas. It was better than I deserved, really. I had no idea how to play. Here is a picture of me that day. It inspired my song “1986“. That track was my first collaboration with my now producer and business partner Kilo House. So, thanks Dad!
Who are the musicians involved in your project?
That depends on which project…
I play all of the instruments for The Static Dive, and a lot of the King Matte Black stuff as well. But that’s only half of the process. After I record my tracks I send them to Kilo. He and I arrange the song together. Then he mixes and masters it. We pass the track back and forth a few times, tweaking things until everything is copacetic.
I also work pretty frequently with other artists and producers. London Elixir and I have collaborated on a number of tracks together. That’s an exciting project. And I’ve done some remixing for Katja Cruz. When I play live, it’s usually as a duo with my best buddy, bass virtuoso Todd Haviland.
Todd and I are also in two other bands together. Our group Shu is celebrating 30 years of jam-band ska/funk tomfoolery. We are a 5 piece band, including Eric D. Hamell (drums), Bryan Mull (gtr) and Matty Carl (sax). Todd and I are also members of The Distractions, an alternative/americana three-piece with Matt D’Ambrosio on the drums and Marc Fuller behind the board.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
As a guitarist, I’m about 90% Hendrix wanna-be, and 10% 80’s alternative rocker. I learned guitar by playing Jimi, The Police, REM, Talking Heads, and on and on. In recent years I’ve gotten pretty deeply into jazz and blues. That has definitely had a strong influence on my playing. As a pianist, I am basically just pretending to be a background player in an old be-bop jazz band. Hard lean on pretending.
Although guitar is my main instrument, I play piano just as often. My desire to become a better piano player is really what started the whole Static Dive journey. I don’t like to practice on any instrument. I’m way too ADHD. So whenever I try to practice, I always just end up writing songs. That’s where The Static Dive’s first EP Built for Better Days came from… my failed piano practice sessions.
What is your greatest non-musical influence?
I have a few…
My Dad. He passed away six years ago. He was a painter and a poet. He was brilliant and I miss him everyday.
My Mom. She came to New York City from a potato farm in Ireland at the age of 15, without her parents. She rocks.
My fiancé, who is a very private person, so I will leave it at that. 🙂
My kid. Lela is a writer, a digital artist, and also brilliant. He does all of the artwork for my music and this site. He is also one of the funniest people I know.
Tao Te Ching – That little book has kept me sane for 30 years
What inspired you to create the blog?
It started in 2018, simply as the website for my new musical project. Then I hired another blog to do a write-up on the EP. The article was terrible. It was just a couple of sentences really, packed with meaningless fluff. No substance whatsoever. They clearly had not even listened to the music.
So, I decided to do it better. I had already been a music writer for 20 years at that point. I thought that my experience might be of some assistance to up-and-coming musicians. Five years and 3,500 blog posts later, it seems to be working. In 2021 I quit my day job as an IT executive in corporate America and devoted myself full time to the blog and the music. It was a huge pay cut, and one of the best decisions I have ever made.
What are your plans for the future?
To keep on keepin’ on. The blog is alive and I am connecting with new artists all the time. Many have become dear friends and collaborators. I’m writing new music every day. They’re not all keepers, but that’s not the point. I’ve also started painting recently and offer acrylic prints online. I’m just going to keep making stuff.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Life is short. Find the people who love you. Love them back. And breathe.