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Introducing SKYFACTOR

Every time Skyfactor takes the stage, it’s like an arena rock band ready to steal the hearts of a million fans, though I first saw them play a more modest show, a Westchester County, NY music festival in August on a solar powered stage to a smaller and more attentive audience. It’s this duality of Skyfactor that makes them approachable: happy to look out for their local New York communities while ready at any moment to take over the world.

Their sound blends 90’s rock/pop with old school soul. With the release of Daydreams, a full-length album of hopeful, soulful songs about love, family, happiness, and growing up, the band has taken on the charge of making people feel good about their lives, about staying close to the ones you care about, much in the way the band has.

Skyfactor ~ Angelica-Music

Photograph By Lori Birnbaum

The birth of Skyfactor was a long road, beginning in New York with two bands, singer Bob Ziegler’s college band Brother Rabbit and Sky Blues, of which two brothers, guitarist Jon Rubin and bassist Cliff Rubin, were a part of.

“Jon and I were friends for a while but always in different bands,” recalls Bob, “and more or less different genres too. But we met back in 1997, when my college band, which was based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, shared a gig in NYC with Jon & Cliff’s group.”

That night was the last gig for both bands. “They were left without a singer and I was looking for new musicians,” adds Bob. “Cut to 2005…both of us were just kind of kicking around the scene, and when we started hanging out a bit more we realized maybe we should try to write some songs together.”

The process was organic. Young musicians having done the college band thing found themselves hoping for something more. Jon and Bob met up to try and write songs on Bob’s rooftop, and within an hour, “the whole thing goes into motion from there.”

“My earliest musical memory,” recalls Jon, “is at the age of three when, at a family holiday, I jumped up on the dining room table with my ‘Kiss’ plastic toy guitar and screamed the words to my favorite inappropriate Kiss song. That’s really where it started for me and I’ve never looked back since.”

That mentality of moving forward allowed the duo to use their experiences in Brother Rabbit and Sky Blues to fuel this new act that was happening before their very eyes. That night was the birth of Skyfactor.

I asked how they arrived at that name.

“Well,” begins Jon, “sitting on that rooftop in the East Village, we were looking at the sky…and even took some pictures up there with the sky as our background and new-found inspiration. Bob had been playing in a band called November Factory, and with my history in Sky Blues, we combined those names to make the ‘ultimate supergroup’! Take ‘Sky’, drop the “y” from “Factory” and you have “Sky…factor”. It’s funny, the actual “sky factor” of something is how the sunlight and UV rays affect your eyes, but that first day, it somehow affected how we were writing and inspired something new to be born."

Bob grew up in a suburb of New York City, pretty close to where everyone else in the band was from, but moved to the west coast for high school and went to The University of Michigan for college.

“I have been playing in bands, writing songs, going to shows, etc. pretty much the whole time,” says Bob. “And my first concert as a fan – which was a major eye-opener for me in terms of loving music – was when my dad took me to see Simon & Garfunkel’s famous concert in Central Park when I was just a kid. I saw the power of how 250,000 people came together because they were moved by the music.”

Similarly, at the age of ten, Jon began playing guitar, “With a lot of help from my brother…actually,” he muses. “Growing up in a suburb of New York City allowed me to check out its amazing music scene, where I even began playing clubs from about age 16 (with Cliff, in Sky Blues).”

Jon attended American University in D.C., where, leaving behind his muse, New York’s music scene, and his brother, he focused on other things. “After graduation I came straight back to NYC to keep pursuing music,” he explains.

Meanwhile, older brother Cliff had been playing guitar from a young age too. He went to New York University and focused on school as well. Sky Blues began shortly afterward, though.

It seemed that during the time the brothers were in college it was a breather from focusing wholeheartedly on music, only to return with a new sense of purpose to their passion. “Jon and I have been playing music together for so long that I can barely remember a time when we didn’t play music together,” says Cliff. Sky Blues was naturally the right choice at the right time.

“I’ve been singing since I was in middle school, back when I lived in San Diego,” Bob explains. “Jon & Cliff have been playing guitar & bass and other instruments for even longer than that, and our newest member, Jason Taylor, was actually my drummer in Brother Rabbit back in Michigan, so it’s crazy how it’s come full circle after all of these years.”

The youthful friendship among the band is apparent on stage. They have a great time playing together, smiling, encouraging one another, and sometimes looking at each other with awesome gratitude that they get to perform as one unit of rock.

“The group has been together over five years now and we’ve been having a great time making music and also playing it live for people to enjoy,” Jon sums up.

 




 

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