the Ahia

the Ahia


The Ahia embody the lyric, freewheeling stream of consciousness style of Rimbaud, while paying homage to a slew of incongruent influences. Incendiary ensemble playing combines with truly sublime establishment baiting songs of baleful Midwestern discontent.


Born out of the creative mind of Ohio singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Justin Payne, the Ahia bears a coat of many colors. Initially envisioned as an acoustic folk project drawing on the American folk tradition, the accumulation of more and more varyingly different songs and styles to his repertoire forced Payne to take matters in an unexpected, yet utterly novel direction. With the addition of a full band of three equally established and gifted individuals, the Ahia became like the Hydra of ancient Greek mythology; with each head bearing its own outlook, its own story, its own personality. The Ahia conjure multi-faceted, angular intensity in one breath, while leveling the playing field with a pulsing rubato of soulful, heart-breaking honesty in the next. They go from throbbing bass and shaking asses in every direction, to a room full of glassy, vacant eyes, to affirmations of Midwestern ramshackle glory and solitary faith in one’s own strength and clarity, all in the span of one 45 minute set. If there is one quality this band exudes above all others, it’s unpredictability. In direct opposition to their contemporaries, the Ahia shun formula in favor of chaotic grooves and careening, violent revolution inspired melodies. The lyrics to every Ahia song are an ever-changing pattern of syntax, tact, field holler, and call to arms; aligning with each other, sometimes within the context of one song, much like drops of rain on the windowpane causing untold and uncontrolled artistic expression. All of this lyricism is dynamically whispered, rasped, or crooned from Payne's extraordinarily full bodied and healthy baritone.

Blending the socio-political identity/consciousness of bands like the Clash and the Fall with the mercurial lyrical expression of Bob Dylan and Jeff Magnum, and topping it all with the song-craft and musical immediacy of the best work by Arthur Lee’s Love, early 70’s Byrds, and the Kinks, the four members of the Ahia all march headlong into shunned regions of artistic expression left largely unexplored by their fellow contemporaries in the mass confusion of the Midwestern synth/dance craze.

Wholly misunderstood pariahs, outcasts, and aliens among their own community, the Ahia evoke a new face for themselves with nearly every new world they create, leaving the bottom line as they feel it should forever be. Good songs will always be good songs, regardless of how they are dressed, the Ahia pursue such concise expression with their hearts full of passion for every waking moment and eyes that see for miles and miles...


Legal Tender (part 2)

Written By: Justin Payne

You left your mirror at my place. You'll never get it back, to stare into your fractured face, to inspire your lack of tact.

Some folks are gamblers, some folks are ramblers. Some people get down on the dance floor. Some people want more.

Oh, my bird has flown away. Bye bye blue sky, hello grey. Seems like heartarche's hear to stay. Hello. Goodbye.

Pharoah don't know why a winking eye, with a paper mind plays me everytime.

I got a girl with broken eyes and oh, a jealous mind. She sticks it to me everytime.



Our initial acoustic EP, the Church, receives regular airplay on 88.1 WBGU Fm. Our full length long player, Everything Comes to an End, is currently resting in the doldrums of post-production, and driving Justin back to drinking...

Set List

We almost always play one single set ranging anywhere from 40 minutes (comfortably) to an hour long, depending on how adventurous we feel that night.

[Set Lists are created, usually on the fly, from these songs]

Song for Margaret
Death to Traitors
Legal Tender
Last Dance
Song for Darling
Annie Oakley
Passing Oceans
Land, Life, Love
American Soul
Oh, Imperious Fate
Bitter Blood


Mr. Soul (Buffalo Springfield)
Here I Always Am (Beefheart)
I'm Not Like Everybody Else (Kinks)
All I Want is the Truth (Lennon/Ono)