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Columbus, OH | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

Columbus, OH | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Alternative Electronic




"Local music: Lackluster"

"...Lackluster's got a good handle on arrangements and melody, interweaving their synths and guitars in epic fashion."
- Chris DeVille, Columbus Alive - Columbus Alive

"4 Play: Lackluster"

"I should have recognized the signs/The lies within our eyes.../They hide in your eyes too/But mine combine and build.../Say goodbye to the truth." Yeah, because neither one has paid their truth bill, so, "The collector's come to smoke us out." Columbus-based Jon Hayes, AKA Lackluster, one-man band turned bandleader, sounds like he could be all the people in "Liars," and other original postings. Self-assertive multiplicity, and even his ruefully lyrical vocals, also smokes out a slamming cover of "Party All The Time." Live, Lackluster and his rhythm section further combine and build with samplers. - U Weekly

"4 play: Lackluster"

Jon Hayes recently summarized his Columbus-based band Lackluster's work in progress: "There aren't really any tracks that address issues from the point of view that someone else should have done anything differently. It's basically a look at something gone wrong, and stepping back to get a clearer idea and take personal responsibility." He's right. Check the posted version of "Liar," pulsing with compassionately persistent truth-seeking and unblinking self-awareness. The new album's completion continues; meanwhile, even Eddie Murphy's jumping reverie "Party All The Time" fits Lackluster's rocking live sets, in a typically revelatory way. - U Weekly

"Music Now Exclusive:Lackluster"

Singer/Songwriter Lackluster can been heard making magic on his debut album entitled Everything I Ever Thought I'd Never Need to Know (2007). His acoustical soulful voice reels you in for more as he has a way of delivering lyrics that are meaningful, passionate, and sexy. Now living in Las Vegas, the Columbus, Ohio native is making his bid to bring his music to the masses.

Recently, we were privileged to review his EPK (Electronic Press Kit) on (Music Submission/Resource Company); we were impressed with what we heard. His music is now available through and iTunes. Make sure to check it out. In the meantime, check out this Spotlight that Lackluster did for Junior’s Cave.

Isaac-Joseph: Hello, how are you doing today? I am excited that you are taking the time to do this interview with our Indie Publication. Let’s talk about the name first off. Where did the name come from and what is its meaning?

Lackluster: There’s nothing particularly special about the name really. It came about in the same way most band names, I just needed one. I’ve been using it since 2000, and I feel it suits the music okay. I mean, to me, Lackluster is obviously something dull or without shine. But it sits in my head like something that could be polished, something that has a shine, it’s just buried.

Isaac-Joseph: What caused you to want to pursue a career in music? What is your driving force?

Lackluster: I don’t know; I’ve just always loved music. But it’s a much more stable environment to communicate in for me. For me, communication has always been something like the creation of the universe. When I’m a bit player, it seems like there’s no method to the madness, and it can be a little overwhelming. When I’m writing and arranging it, there’s just a calm that usually isn’t there.

Isaac-Joseph: Describe the creative process that you go through when making your music?

Lackluster: I usually wear my heart right on my sleeve. Melodies come out of boredom mostly, but it evolves from whatever happens to be heaviest on my mind at the time, lyrically speaking. So, to me, the songs are all pretty vivid snapshots of times that once were. Beyond that, I try to implement instrumentation to kind of aide in the painting of said picture. Once a song has established its identity, all parts exist for its benefit, ya know?

Isaac-Joseph: You are like a one man arsenal when it comes to music. You play guitar, bass, drums, and perform vocals. Elaborate on your musical training for the readers of the magazine:

Lackluster: I have no training whatsoever. For a long time, when I was younger, I would just lock myself in my room pretty much, and practice for hours. I’d learn entire albums, and try to wrap my head around the finer points of their performances; The subtleties really.

Isaac-Joseph: I read in your bio that you moved from your Hometown of Columbus, Ohio in order to plant your presence in Seattle, where you attended the Art Institute of Seattle for Audio Production. Describe to us what made you decide that you needed a change of venue?

Lackluster: I’d like to say it was something honorable, but really I was a grunge kid, and that was about as far from home as I could get without having to learn another language. Though, I’d have to say the most unique and creative people I’ve ever met, I met in Seattle.

Isaac-Joseph: What were some of the important lessons that you learned while attending the Art Institute of Seattle for Audio Production that you have incorporated in your own music?

Lackluster: I think mainly just the whole DIY work ethic that you have no choice but to adopt as a dirt poor engineer. I learned a bunch of technical crap, but what I really took away from the place is how to make the most of what you have. Though, I wouldn’t say its really affects my music any more than what’s in the trunk of my car affects my driving.

Isaac-Joseph: I also read in your bio that while in the Air Force, where you spent two years in Germany, you recorded and independently released his first LP. Expound on the process of making this LP and what does it mean to have it out on the market?

Lackluster: I’d had a lot of these songs kicking around for years, and I’d always planned on committing them to something tangible. Some of them were newer as well, and I was meeting people who were positive influences, creatively. It took forever though. Probably about six or seven months of honest work. It basically consisted of locking myself in a room. I’d have to basically paint the beats by hand, because I didn’t even own a MIDI pad controller at the time. So, it was tedious. It means almost nothing for me to have it “on the market,” except that it’s reassuring, to a degree, when someone takes interest. The whole process was like building a road and you’re never quite sure if anyone but you will be able to drive on it. Every once in a while you check, and when there’s traffic; well, I guess that -

"Lackluster- Not Another Word"

Written by Owen Mckeon

Like Leicester’s brilliant Sam Isaac, Jon Hayes (or Lackluster if you prefer) seems to be all husky tones and mellow acoustica, but that’s just the very surface.

‘Each It and I’ is the aforementioned summer laze but just when it seems like the similarly laidback ‘Not Another Word’ hasn’t got quite enough bite to truly engage, it all flies off into Hope of the States meets Forward Russia territory and begins to dazzle.

Lackluster is anything but his odd choice of name and mixes in Jack Johnson cosiness with Bright Eyes’ ability to amaze.

‘Where I Belong’ turns into a frankly astonishing diatribe against the Iraq War. Try out “I can't distinguish preachers from the non-believers, they're all running wild spitting lies, and pointing fingers.” Or “Just a little blood to protect our shores….sometimes it takes a leader to leave it alone.” He’s got a bit of anger in his belly this boy, and while a lot of the time his lyrics are either muddled or overly simplistic, when he gets it right he nails it and the effects are awesome.

To top it off the lucky little bugger even looks like Matt Damon in his Bourne moments. If only we were all this gifted. -

"Live review"

Lackluster was really good. One of their best performances to date. Whereas the dance floor was completely empty for the first two bands, people from the front of the bar and from outside filed into the main room after the first couple songs. that's a pretty good sign that you have a good sound. In fact, out of all the bands from my hometown of Reynoldsburg, Lackluster has the best chance of actually accomplishing something. The song that stands out the most is the brilliant cover of Eddie Murphy's Party All the Time. when i first heard that they were going to cover this, i thought it was a terrible, horrible, incredibly stupid thing to do. However, i was wrong. It was great! There were trendy scenester kids dancing everywhere! seriously. i haven't seen a crowd reaction like that for a local band in a long time. - Quarantine Media


Four years after EP4, local prog-rock band Lackluster’s last official release, the band is back with an upcoming single titled “Rag and Bottle” and a release show. The band has gone through changes in both lineup and sound since EP4, and while the new track still maintains the same polished production as Lackluster’s previous music, there’s an edge this time around.

The background of guitar and bass are ultra-low and dark, and the slightest touch of fuzz adds a seriously pleasant resonance. Yet it’s not all the same throughout the track; the bridge has a warping, spacey melody that is quickly slashed through by a cutting guitar solo.

Frontman Jon Hayes croons mysteriously through faded vocals that blend perfectly with the rest of the dark-sounding music. Later in the chorus, though, autotune makes Hayes’s higher-pitched vocals sound chunky, contrasting nicely with the smoother instrumentals and adding a satisfying depth to the music.

Despite a dusky sound, “Rag and Bottle” is still catchy and has plenty of jam potential. Driving percussion ensures that nothing stays stagnant, and it feels impossible not to groove along with the glistening alt-rock melodies.

Lackluster plans to perform the single at a star-studded release show on Friday, Aug. 10. The band’s Facebook bio characterizes itself with a “power-packed show” with lasers and an innovative sound, and if “Rag and Bottle” is any indication, this one is no exception. As the band is accompanied by local favorites Urban Tropic and Silvis as well as Cleveland indie rockers Punch Drunk Tagalongs, the night is practically guaranteed to be a blast. - In the Record Store


Everything I Ever Thought I'd Never Need to Know (2007)
So It Goes (2009)
Two Birds, One Stone (2011)
ep4 (2015)

Untitled (2019)



The child of front-man Jonathan Hayes, Lackluster spawned from studies in Audio Production at the Art Institute of Seattle, manifested in a debut LP while serving in the Air Force in Germany, and solidified itself upon landing in Columbus, OH. Ever since, Lackluster has been releasing music and relentlessly playing shows; with established acts such as Kopecky, The Floorwalkers, Angela Perley and the Howling Moons, Zoo Trippin, Phantods, and countless other across showcase, festival, and venue stages from Austin to NYC. Lackluster has worked with Grammy winning Mastering Engineer Brian Lucy, and been licensed by companies such as Red Bull and MTV.

What sets Lackluster apart. More than anything, it’s the desire to innovate. This can be heard in self-aware lyrics questioning the nature of established institutions over inventively accessible sound design and EDM elements to make learning fun, to what Lackluster is best known for, the live show. There is simply no other act running a complete DIY laser light show flawlessly synchronized to their music. It’s a level of production concert goers often expect to pay a premium price for, and are quite simply shocked to find it in their own back yard.

With records Everything I Ever Thought I’d Never Need to Know, Two Birds One Stone, and EP4 under its belt, ranging from the frantic sound of Flaming Lips, to Gorrilaz dance, to Queens of the Stone Age rock, Lackluster has finally found its place. As Miles Davis once said, “Man, sometimes it takes a long time to sound like yourself.” Lackluster has done just that with its most recent single “Rag and Bottle,” from its untitled forthcoming EP. Rumbling synths lay the ground for bouncing melodies, swirling around effected vocals, and a blistering moment of pure rock fury ending in a sing along chorus. 

"...pulsing with compassionately persistent truth-seeking and unblinking self-awareness..."  Don Allred, U Weekly (Apr 08, 2010)

"The musical production of Lackluster is absolutely insane."

"...Lackluster's got a good handle on arrangements and melody, interweaving their synths and guitars in epic fashion." Chris DeVille - Columbus Alive! 

Band Members