The Tipping Point Dolby Atmos Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal

Tears for Fears interview: “The Tipping Point Dolby Atmos mix is fantastic. I was blissing out!”

“I think if we had made this album 30 years ago, we would have called ourselves geniuses,” says Tears for Fears’ Roland Orzabal. ”It’s what we’ve been trying to do for years, getting it wrong, selling millions of records in the process….”

Orzabal is sitting alongside bandmate Curt Smith in Dolby Europe’s Soho screening room, having just listened to the band’s 7th album, The Tipping Point, in Dolby Atmos. The Tipping Point Dolby Atmos mix, by multichannel maestro Steven Wilson, is immense;  the record’s anthemic, driving rhythms sounding dense and immersive, its lighter moments emotive.

“I was blissing out,” admits Smith. “It’s fantastic. This is the second time I’ve listened to the Dolby Atmos mix, and it sounds even better here than it did in Capitol Studios, Los Angeles. Perhaps it’s space? There is literally more space here (in the theatre) than when you’re sitting in a mix room, I guess it gives you far more separation. There were so many little bits that I love…” 

The Dolby Atmos mix appears on a Blu-ray Audio edition, released through UK website, in partnership with Concord Records. The disc features both Atmos and 5.1 surround sound mixes of the album. The pressing is limited to 2,000 copies.

The Dolby Atmos edition is also available to Tidal HiFi Plus subscribers.

“When we were kids, we were obsessed with sound,” Orzabal tells Audio Media International. “Obsessed with those records that made you ask: ‘how the hell did they do that?’ We used to say, when we were kids, that when you put on the record, there would be something for the cans freaks on the 17th Listen. The good thing about listening to Dolby Atmos is you don’t have to listen to an album multiple times to get all the ear candy going on.”

Curt Smith talks about The Tipping Point Dolby Atmos edition

The changing technology landscape

It’s clear that the landscape has changed since the band’s last studio album release in 2004, Everybody Loves A Happy Ending, both in terms of recording techniques and music distribution. 

“Everyone that has a MacBook, now has GarageBand,” says Orzabal, “The landscape may have changed, but I think it sort of works in the favour of mature acts. I think it’s more a question of taste than discretion nowadays. ”

“It really encourages you to be more creative, because everyone has the same sounds on their laptop,” adds Smith.

“When we started making this album, seven years ago, there was an absolute obsession with ‘the single’, the one track that’s going to get you back in the limelight, because ‘well, kids don’t buy albums.’ We tried that for many years and didn’t get very far, apart from ending up with a surplus of ‘the single.’ In the end, we completely gave up, we went the other way.”

Adds Orzabal: “Yeah, the landscape has changed – the question is whether you adapt, whether you embrace the changes. I think that the one thing we noticed that we weren’t willing to change was the fact that we do love albums, we grew up with albums, to have this journey. I feel this album certainly has a journey, it has a story from start to finish, it has those high and low points…” 

The sound of The Tipping Point

One intriguing aspect of The Tipping Point is just how contemporary it sounds – but was this accidental or did the band go out of their way to find and introduce new audio elements?

“Maybe it’s the fact that we were beaten over the head for a couple of years trying to sound more contemporary?” says Orzabal  “I don’t really know. It’s a strange mix, this album, of contemporary sounds and some sounds that reminds me of prog rock, which is quite strange because it’s not in a bizarre time signature or anything like that.”

Orzabal concludes: “I’ll tell you what it is: when Trevor Horn produced Yes, there was that blend, that meeting of ’80s meets ’70s, the sonics of ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’, that’s what this (album) kind of reminds me of.” 

“If anything we intended to ignore trying to sound modern, and ended up doing it anyway,” says Smith. “It was more a reaction against being asked, or told, that we should sound more modern. it wasn’t necessarily intentional. Our intention was to sound like us.”