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New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Rock Adult Contemporary




"Skyfactor helps make Pleasantville Music Festival 'Best Year Yet'"

It's that time of year again.

Pleasantville's Sol Skolnick and Rich Sarfaty, executive directors of the 7th Annual Pleasantville Music Festival, are gearing up for one of the village's—and arguably the area's—biggest events of the year.

“We are very excited about the musicians who are signing on to make this our best Fest yet," the duo said in a statement of the Pleasantville Music Festival, a partnership between the Village of Pleasantville and WXPK 107.1 the PEAK.

With an impressive mix of musicians set to hit the stage, including internationally-known Marc Cohn, Augustana, Nicole Atkins & the Black Sea and Scars on 45, the organizers are confident there truly will be something for everyone when the gates open next Saturday, July 9.

Also gracing the main stage are Tony Bellantoni & The Swag Hooks (12:30 p.m.) and New York City-based If But When (1:25 p.m.).

Acts will change up on the stages every 35 minutes.

Over on the Village Stage, a few local names will be performing in the afternoon, including Skyfactor, who will be appearing for the first time.

SkyFactor—a band with members from Briarcliff Manor, Hastings, Larchmont and New Rochelle—will also be performing at 3:15 p.m.

According to guitarist and Briarcliff Manor resident Jon Rubin, the group came together in 2005 after being part of separate bands years ago, and blended their backgrounds to create a pop/rock sound.

They describe their music as a combination of "graceful melodies with edgy dynamics," and recently had their song OK play on MTV show Teen Mom.

Rubin said SkyFactor is looking forward to performing for the festival's diverse crowd.

And even if listening to music all day isn't your thing, area vendors and other entertainers will be available.

"We have free face painting in the afternoon," said Skolnick during an Inside Government show on PCTV. "The kids are well taken care of."

Patti Hupp a.k.a. Miss Patti, creator of ArtSmart, will be sure to entertain the younger crowd on Saturday (she hits the stage at 1:45 p.m.).

"This is my first time [at the festival]," she said in an email. "ArtSmart is a program I created that teaches famous art & music terminology to preschool kids."

Hupp's ArtSmart is taught out of Pleasantville, Bedford Hills and Lewisboro. She also offers a "Feeling Groovy" music and movement class at the Katonah Art Center.

"I think this is the best year yet," PAMAL General Manager Jason Finkleberg. "We couldn't be happier about it." - The Examiner, by Sam Barron

"Skyfactor dreams 'big' with Daydreams"

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.

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 went 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.

Playing an average of two shows a month, Skyfactor stays close to their New York scene. “We played at an amazing music festival in Hartford, Connecticut this past summer called B.O.M.B. Fest, and that was our first ‘road’ trip so to speak,” says Bob.

When asked if they’d tour more, Bob adds, “Because we want to spread the music around and get out there as much as possible, if the right opportunity came our way, we would definitely want to capitalize on that and play for an even wider audience.”

Until then, modern technology allows Skyfactor to reach a wide audience in other forms. “We’re gonna be posting a bunch more live video clips on our website and Facebook page, so that anywhere in the world, you can feel like you’re front row at one of our shows.”

Whatever they’re doing, it works. Recently, their song "OK" was chosen for the credits of the MTV show "Teen Mom”. Bob recollects the night he found out:

“One night in September I got a few calls from random friends who swore they heard my voice at the end credits of some MTV show. I looked into it and sure enough, this new hit show ‘Teen Mom’ featured our song 'OK' as the finale and it played through the whole credits.”

How did this happen?

“We have agreed to license our music through a few companies who service TV & Film houses, and a very smart and creative producer at MTV found our stuff and saw a connection between the uplifting and hopeful lyrics in that song and the storyline of their show and how their characters were feeling. So we were thrilled with it and thought it was actually a great fit.”

Such smart marketing strategies keeps the band open to any opportunity that comes their way, though for the time being they’re content rocking NYC. With as a great avenue for sharing music- you can stream entire songs from their album- things continue to move forward.

“The plans are to keep playing as long as possible and writing good music that moves us,” Bob speaks for the band. “I think no matter what else we have going on in our lives, when we step on stage to play it’s all about that moment and connecting to our audience. It’s an amazing thing to be able to give music and get energy back. I want to keep that going as long as we can.”

Make sure to check their website regularly for videos, news, and tour dates. Also, listen to tracks from Daydreams right on their homepage. - Angelica Music, by John Powell


'Daydreams' full-length CD - released April 2010. Featuring the single "Drive" as heard on indie radio stations on the east coast and also "Ok", featured on MTV's 'Teen Mom'

'Take This Chance' acoustic CD - released April 2006



One listen to SKYFACTORs brand new release Daydreams and its clear these guys know how to craft memorable and powerful acoustic-rock songs that grab you from the get-go -- and wont let go. SKYFACTORs simple but effective melodies combine with edgy dynamics to take the listener on a ride each and every time.

Formed on a rooftop in the East Village of New York City in 2004, SKYFACTOR was born when the musical paths of longtime friends Bob Ziegler (formerly of Brother Rabbit and November Factory) and Jon Rubin (formerly of Sky Blues) finally crossed. Almost instantly the songs started flowing out, and they knew they were onto something. After the extremely positive response to their 2006 debut release Take This Chance, they expanded their sound to include Jons brother Cliff Rubin (also from Sky Blues) on bass guitar and studio pro Steve Belvilus, hailing from Guadeloupe, on drums. As a quartet, the group honed their musical chemistry and style on stage for the next two years before heading into the studio to capture the groups energy and momentum.

Recorded over the course of the past year, Daydreams represents the band in its finest form yet, with personal, insightful vocals backed by a big acoustic guitar and an air-tight rhythm section, further enhanced by new drummer Jason Taylor. Refreshingly spare while layered with deep emotion, the songs have a way of becoming the latest soundtrack-to-your-life before you even realize it. Tracks #1-5 are as radio-friendly as it gets, plus the record includes the song "Ok", which earned solid response as the featured finale in a recent episode of MTV's hit show 'Teen Mom.' Most recently, a live set from the group was heard by thousands on Sirius/XM satellite radio's station 'The Loft'. Once YOU experience SKYFACTOR live, youll understand what all the buzz is about.

Band Members