Interview: Isaiah "Ikey" Owens

Ikey Owens played keyboards in The Mars Volta from its inception in 2001 to his departure in 2009. For years, he and I were crammed right next to each other, sharing a small space on stage with our pedalboards and gear. Whenever we were on tour, I knew I could count on Ikey to explore cities with me, check out great restaurants, and enjoy the scenery of places we’d never been before. I have so much respect for Ikey, and it was a great pleasure to have had him take part in an interview with Pedals And Effects.

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At the time, Free Moral Agents had a new record out called Chaine Infinie.  I was lucky to get a sneak peak of the EP at the time of this video interview, and was blown away by evolution of the band over the years. They really are a unique group, creating interesting soundscapes often driven by the use of pedals to manipulate entire mixes!

When I arrived at The Compound Recording Studios in Long Beach, Dennis Owens, the bassist for Free Moral Agents, had some really cool pedals on a table. He showed me how he would run an entire song mix through a Mark Bass’ synthesizer pedal or a Source Audio’s Envelope Filter.  It was a clean, musical approach that gave the tracks a beautiful uplift.

Happy birthday to my homie, Ikey Owens!

-Juan