Interview: Irvine’s Kaio Mars Soars with Vulnerable, Kaleidoscopic Debut “All I Need”

Kaio Mars © Alex Shahmiri
Kaio Mars rushes out of the gate with dazzling energy and subdued indie rock charm in his debut single “All I Need.” Dive into the music and the seasoned artist behind it all in our exclusive introductory interview!
Stream: “All I Need” – Kaio Mars




I’m excited by the unknown. I love that I have no idea what the music I will make will sound like. I’m a new artist.

California’s Kaio Mars rushes out of the gate with a burst of dazzling energy and subdued indie rock charm in his debut single. A fresh new face from a seasoned member of the West Coast indie community, Kaio Mars is full of potential and possibility, hope and adventure. There are no rules to this artistry; there are no limits on where it can go, or what it might do. A dash of indie rock here and a splash of psychedelia there give this stunning introduction its contour and character, yet it’s the artist’s vulnerable lyricism and heartfelt performance that make “All I Need” a standout single within 2020’s crowded, noisy echo chamber.

All I Need - Kaio Mars

All I Need – Kaio Mars

Hanging on to words
That lost their meaning
Sing another verse
Without the feeling
I wanna go back
Listen to the soundtrack
With my mom and dad
That’s all I need
That feeling’s all I need

For those in need of either escape or indulgence, look no further than Kaio Mars.

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “All I Need,” the debut single from Irvine-based Aidin Sadeghi’s exciting new musical project, Kaio Mars. As a prominent member of the bands Strange Birds, Travelers, and most recently American Pets (alongside longtime bandmate Bret Leinen and Young the Giant’s Eric Cannata and François Comtois), Aidin Sadeghi is no stranger to indie rock n’ roll or Orange County’s curiously exciting music scene. The singer/songwriter and vocalist has over a decade’s worth of experience with a number of ventures, and yet his new moniker feels like the very beginning: It’s the dawn of something special, that’s only just awakening now. Even he doesn’t know where this might take him.



Kaio Mars is, in every sense of the word, a fresh start for Aidin Sadeghi. “Embarking on this project is… about leaving all that stuff in the past and creating my own identity,” Sadeghi says of his new artistry. “I feel like ‘Aidin’ comes with a lot of baggage and history. ‘Kaio’ was just born – he is no one, and can be whatever I want him to be. As someone who is in their head a lot, it seemed like a good tool to combat that.”

I wanted this to happen much sooner, but there was so much going [on that] I ended up waiting. After a while I just kind of had a “fuck it” moment and decided now is as good a time as any.

“All I Need” establishes Kaio Mars as a voice of passion, raw emotion, and intimacy. The song is one of yearning and self-discovery, nostalgia and wandering built upon memories of past hopes, long-lost moments of curiosity and innocence, and a wide-eyed openness to whatever the future holds. Sadeghi isn’t afraid to show his weathered bones and heavy soul; in fact, he wears them here like badges of honor, singing sweetly and earnestly about the beauty of music and all the blood, sweat, tears that go into its creation. He takes the time to remind himself and listeners alike that music is an individual journey: Each of us has our own unique, special relationship to the songs that shape us, and if we’re feeling down about things, whatever they may be, we can always return to that younger age when music was the answer:

Wanting to be heard
But no one’s speaking
Banging on the drums
With our hearts beating
I wanna go back
Listen to the soundtrack
With my mom and dad
Ripped it off the radio
Took it everywhere I’d go
Now I lost it, so
That’s all I need
That feeling’s all I need
Kaio Mars © Alex Shahmiri

Kaio Mars © Alex Shahmiri



Coming out of a dark place, “All I Need” radiates warmth and light. “This is the song that brought me back to music,” Sadeghi tells Atwood Magazine. “I was very discouraged for a few years and I think I just needed this one to be out there more for myself as a reminder to keep going.” His lyrics capturing a fragile turning point of sorts, Sadeghi fills the Kaio Mars landscape with grooving, echoey guitars that seem to lift off the ground, and rise up into the stratosphere with the help of a driving rhythm section and shimmering keys. Sadeghi allows his voice to join the surrounding instruments, and it’s in the chorus where he seems to rid himself of old worries and embrace the unknown ahead.

That’s all I need
That feeling’s all I need

For Kaio Mars, it really is an unknown ahead. “I don’t really know what the future holds,” he remarks, explaining that while “All I Need” is his first song, he can’t promise that his forthcoming music will come from the same blueprint. “This song was written a while ago and we as people and our tastes change… All I can hope is that anything else I put out has the same honesty to it and is something I can look back on with pride. I want my songs to be the chronicling of my life and experiences, so I’m trying to stay grounded in what I write about.”

Kaio Mars is Aidin Sadeghi at his most visceral and vulnerable. It is raw and impassioned indie rock, and damn if it doesn’t sound even better on repeat. Dive into Kaio Mars in our introductory interview below, and stay tuned for more from this exciting newcomer! “All I Need” is out everywhere August 26, 2020.

Singing along
Without fear that I’m wrong
Cause I don’t know what shame is
So wake up
Wake up
It’s all we need
That feeling’s all we need

— —

Stream: “All I Need” – Kaio Mars

MEET KAIO MARS

All I Need - Kaio Mars

Atwood Magazine: Aidin, your debut single is a long time coming. Why have you chosen to introduce your solo project through this song?

Kaio Mars: This is the song that brought me back to music. I was very discouraged for a few years and I think I just needed this one to be out there more for myself as a reminder to keep going.

How do you feel “All I Need” sets the tone and the stage for what Kaio Mars is all about?

Kaio Mars: I don’t know if it does, because I don’t really know what the future holds. This song was written a while ago and we as people and our tastes change, so I really can’t say. All I can hope is that anything else I put out has the same honesty to it and is something I can look back on with pride. I want my songs to be the chronicling of my life and experiences so I’m trying to stay grounded in what I write about.

What was your musical upbringing like?

Kaio Mars: I’m completely self-taught. I took guitar lessons when I was like 13 for maybe two weeks and got bored so I stopped going. I had a pretty musical group of friends so I think we all kind of taught each other. I like to learn by ear. As far as musical influences go, Bob Marley was always playing in my home. My parents, my dad especially, are huge fans. I think the themes in his music really spoke to my parents as the Iranian revolution was going on so that’s something that always stuck. My musical taste has always been all over.

What is the significance of your name, Kaio Mars?

Kaio Mars: It’s a play on an ancient Iranian mythological character from Zoroastrianism texts. He is the ‘first human’ on earth. Kaio Mars translates into “King of Men”. I liked that 🙂

How did you connect with the Young the Giant members for American Pets, and what was that experience like? Have you worked with other notable artists / names in your time in music?

Kaio Mars: We all grew up together going to the same high school for the most part. It was cool having a big group of musician friends from whom you could pick up new music to listen to and some new tips and tricks. In reality the size of that community spanned much farther than just that particular group. There were tons of guys our age picking up music of all different forms. It was pretty cool to be a part of. I learned a lot playing in American Pets that I’ll carry forward with me, but embarking on this project is also partially about leaving all that stuff in the past and creating my own identity.

So what finally made this time right for you to get this music out into the world?

Kaio Mars: Well this is probably the worst time in the world to be doing this. Obviously COVID-19 threw a wrench in everyone’s plans for 2020. I wanted this to happen much sooner, but there was so much going I ended up waiting. After a while I just kind of had a “fuck it” moment and decided now is as good a time as any. Typically one would look to follow up a release with some live shows, but since that doesn’t look like it’s going to be possible anytime soon I figured I may as well just start releasing music. There’s more to come for sure.

Does using a moniker like Kaio Mars give you the artistic freedom to separate Aidin Sadeghi the person from Kaio Mars the artist?

Kaio Mars: Absolutely. I feel like ‘Aidin’ comes with a lot of baggage and history. ‘Kaio’ was just born – he is no one, and can be whatever I want him to be. As someone who is in their head a lot, it seemed like a good tool to combat that.

I'd love for you to share a little more about your own immigrant experience if you're willing?

Kaio Mars: My parents fled post-revolutionary Iran and landed in Germany, where I was born. I lived there until I was about 10/11 years old when we ended up winning the green card lottery, which is insane. We were all itching to leave Germany. I grew up in a really conservative, which is a polite word for racist, town, so when the opportunity presented itself, we got the hell out of there. Unfortunately, less than a year after coming to the States, 9/11 happened which kind of made us have to relive everything we were trying to leave behind in Germany. But it is what it is. I think people are waking up more and more to the challenges of BIPOC, immigrants, and other minorities, so I feel hopeful for the future.

What has your experience been like maneuvering through the music industry? Did you find you faced unique barriers to entry or moving up?

Kaio Mars: I was a brown kid with a ‘weird name’ so yes I personally felt it for sure. I wish I could say it’s unique but we all know now that it isn’t. That was part of what kind of pushed me away from music, but now we live in a world where artists don’t need the music industry as much as they need artists. People have become a lot more self-sufficient and don’t need the services a label provides as much as they used to. I recorded this song in my bedroom in my undies and didn’t need to drop a massive amount of money on recording. I feel more hopeful and free now about making music than I ever have.

What most excites you about the music you're making now, and the place you're in artistically?

Kaio Mars: I’m excited by the unknown. I love that I have no idea what the music I will make will sound like. I’m a new artist. There are no expectations on me and I’m not putting any limitations on what I will do. I also don’t care about fitting into any specific genre. It’s more about the subject matter for me and ultimately how my music makes me feel.

What do you hope people take away from hearing “All I Need”?

Kaio Mars: Hopefully someone out there will hear my song or read this interview and be inspired to start their own venture, be it artistic or something else entirely.

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All I Need - Kaio Mars

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📸 © Alex Shahmiri

 


Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com