Bruce Soord is a multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and frontman for the internationally-renowned experimental rock outfit The Pineapple Thief, a musical project he started way back in 1999. Though considered a cult act at first, The Pineapple Thief’s fan base gradually grew through the mid-2000s. The band signed with Snapper Music/KScope in 2007, where they remain today, later recruiting veteran drummer Gavin Harrison for 2016’s breakthrough album Your Wilderness.

Soord’s musical output and profile has grown substantially over the last decade. He’s become a well-known figure in the world of immersive audio, having recently helmed the recent Dolby Atmos mixes of Katatonia’s Sky Void Of Stars, Haken’s Fauna, Jethro Tull’s RökFlöte, and Big Big Train’s upcoming The Likes Of Us. In 2023 alone, he oversaw a variety of projects including How Did We Find Our Way–a massive box set documenting The Pineapple Thief’s earliest recordings–and his third studio album, Luminescence, which he supported with a short tour of intimate European venues this past October. A limited-edition CD/DVD release, Caught In The Hum, captures one of those shows.

On February 9, The Pineapple Thief released It Leads To This–their hotly-anticipated latest studio outing. Containing eight new songs recorded between September 2020 and July 2023, the album is every bit as cinematic and bombastic as fans have come to expect from the band. Just as the band was concluding rehearsals for their upcoming European tour, I had the chance to briefly chat with Bruce about the making of the new record, future immersive projects, and what’s next for The Pineapple Thief.

I assume you’re currently in the middle of rehearsals for TPT’s upcoming European tour, which starts at the end of February. 

Yeah, we rehearsed a few weeks ago. Since then, we’ve kind of been going through all the new songs and deciding what we want to play. I’ve also got so many other projects going on in the background, including mixing. We’re rehearsing again next week, then there’s a week off before we leave for the tour.

Pineapple Thief It Leads To This Dolby Atmos

Will you be playing all eight new songs from It Leads To This?

We’ve rehearsed all the songs, but we can’t decide which ones we want to drop. The whole thing is only 40 minutes though, so we might be able to get away with doing all of it. If we end up playing for 90-100 minutes, there’s plenty of time for a good mix of back-catalog and the new stuff.

Will there be any surprise older songs in the setlist?

We’re doing “Alone At Sea” from Magnolia (2014), which we didn’t play on the last tour. I’m actually remixing that record later this year, because it really suffers from circa-2014 “loudness war” dynamic compression.

That’s great news! The louder passages in that record, like the big chorus to “Simple As That,” have always sounded pretty harsh at high volume. 

Yeah, I listened back to it recently and was pretty surprised. It’ll be interesting to hear an alternative stereo presentation that’s more in the vein of recent TPT albums.

Pineapple Thief Magnolia 5.1 Atmos

I may have mentioned this last we spoke, but it would be awesome if you played “Remember Us” live. Even a condensed version, just the first three minutes or so, would be cool to hear.

Haha, yeah. Maybe I should do that for my next solo tour? When we used to do it years ago, it would cut before the extended brass interlude section and go straight to the final chorus and solo. So it ended up being around 6 minutes instead of 20. [laughs]

I think the problem with a lot of the early stuff is the drum patterns are pretty basic, since it was all sample-based. It would be interesting to hear if Gavin could come up with something more complex that still fits the song.

Yeah, there’s too many back beats. “Remember Us” was written in 2003, and the technology in those days was quite rudimentary compared to now. 

Do you think that one of the upcoming European tour shows might be recorded and filmed for a Blu-Ray release?

There probably won’t be cameras, which is a shame as we’re playing some big venues in London, Amsterdam, and Paris. That said, we do record the audio from every show–we have a 32-channel mixer backstage that capture everything. So there could definitely be an audio-only release, like I just did with the solo tour. I’ll speak to the label about it, because we haven’t done one of those in a while.

Once the limited Caught In The Hum CD/DVD set sells out, do you think we might be able to do a 5.1 FLAC release through IAA?

Yeah, I’ll have to check with the label. KScope gave me permission to do the limited edition kind of as a self-release, but it’s sold really well via Burning Shed. It basically paid the wages for the tour.

Bruce Soord Caught In The Hum 5.1

It’s odd that your solo albums have only been released on DVD in 5.1–usually as part of a deluxe edition–whereas The Pineapple Thief albums are out on standalone Blu-Rays.

It’s a cost issue unfortunately, because of the licensing to Sony.

Luminescence was definitely one of my favorite albums of 2023. The production and overall sound quality are really immaculate. I thought the use of a real string section was especially cool and added to the emotional impact. What gave you the idea to incorporate the strings?

Thank you! KScope gave me an advance to do the solo album that wasn’t particularly big, but it was enough to cover my time. I’d basically finished the record, and one of my twin boys suggested adding the strings. He was so right, the strings added a lot and it just wouldn’t have been the same if I’d used samples.

So I got in touch with Andrew Skeet, who worked on All The Wars and Magnolia, and we did it at RAK Studios. It was a top studio and I had six of the best players for the day, with Andrew arranging and conducting. It basically gobbled up the entire advance, but it was definitely worth it.

In past albums, like 2019’s All This Will Be Yours, you would typically use a mellotron sound in place of real strings. So is there an alternative, shelved mix of Luminescence from before you decided to add the strings?

Yes, there is a mix that doesn’t have any strings. Like you said, during those passages I’d use a mellotron or some other keyboard sound. It might be fun to release that one day as an alternative mix.

Bruce Soord Luminescence 5.1 Atmos IAA MKV FLAC

One thing that’s become a trademark with your music is the inclusion of a ‘bonus album’ in both stereo and surround. These are usually acoustic reinterpretations of the same songs, though Versions Of The Truth flipped the script a bit by incorporating Gavin’s electronic percussion for the ‘alt’ mixes. In the case of Luminescence, the bonus album is an entirely unique collection of songs entitled Our Ship Sails At Dusk.

Ever since we did the Eight Days bonus disc for Variations On A Dream (2003), it’s become a standard for all TPT releases. I usually put it together at the very end of the process, so it’s a completely different mindset. There’s no time to mess around, you have to just get it done and sometimes it comes out really refreshing. 

When I was writing Luminescence, I didn’t really know what the endgame would be. When it got to the point where I was compiling the record, I found a bunch of songs on my computer that were almost finished. Instead of letting them fester away on the hard drive forever, I ended up mixing them for the deluxe edition. So yeah, that’s probably the biggest bonus album I’ve done so far–it basically is another studio album altogether.

A less generous artist might have held onto that material and saved it for the next album. [laughs]

Haha, yeah. I’m probably going to start working on my next solo record soon, which will probably be completely different tonally again. I should be able to use the downtime on tour to start working on that.

Has there been any discussion of releasing Our Ship Sails At Dusk separately? It would be cool if you did an Atmos mix of it.

Yeah, I could definitely do a digital-only release. For now, there is a 5.1 mix of it on the DVD in the deluxe edition.

Bruce Soord Luminescence 5.1 DVD

The three-and-a-half year gap between Versions Of The Truth (September 2020) and It Leads To This (February 2024) is longer than usual for The Pineapple Thief, though there have been several releases in-between such as 2022’s Give It Back and the 1999-2006 box set. What can you share about the songwriting and recording process? How would you rank this new record in TPT’s vast canon?

We started in the middle of lockdown. “Put It Right” was the first track we did, and then we had a really good remote session where three or four more songs started to develop. Since it was still lockdown, Gavin and I would be constantly sharing files between our home studios. When Gavin went off to do the Porcupine Tree reunion tour, I shifted focus to my solo record. 

Then, at the beginning of 2023, Gavin invited me to his studio for an in-person writing session. I was a bit nervous, because we’d never actually written that way in The Pineapple Thief. It worked out in the end though–”Rubicon” and “Every Trace Of Us” came from those sessions.

It’s such a different experience, because you’re expected to come up with something right on the spot. Normally, he’d send me a rhythm track and I’d spend a few days on my own trying to work something out over it. It was really intense and required a completely different mindset, but I’m really proud of the eight new songs. I’m really looking forward to playing them live with the band. 

It’s so interesting to me that you’re more used to working remotely and slowly building these songs up in isolation, because the conventional wisdom is that a lot of the ‘magic’ and energy in the best rock music comes from the spontaneity and in-person interaction between musicians. I guess that’s kind of an old way of thinking now, especially post-pandemic.

You bring up an interesting point, because I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a major record deal. They’d probably set you up in a residential studio for six weeks, and in that timeframe you have to write, record, mix and come up with at least two hit singles. I imagine the pressure would really be on, because you’re billing by the hour and there’s a hard stop at the end. 

That’s just not how it’s ever worked for The Pineapple Thief, but the experience of working within those constraints would be interesting. With the technology we have today, you can continue to refine your music indefinitely. The only reason we stopped working on It Leads To This was because the record label had a deadline and the tour was booked, and that was after more than three years. [laughs]

TPT Nothing But The Truth 5.1 Atmos

Have you ever gotten together in a big live room and just spontaneously jammed together? I imagine that might produce interesting results.

We kind of did that for Nothing But The Truth (2021), but the songs were already written. There was definitely a newfound energy in those recordings that we hadn’t experienced previously. So for the next record, we toyed with the idea of recording a demo and then replaying that together from scratch. It would certainly be more time-consuming and expensive, but might produce a different kind of chemistry than anything we’ve done prior.

I’m not surprised that “Put It Right” was the first song written for the new record, because it sounds most reminiscent of the style found on Versions Of The Truth. The other songs are definitely different and surprisingly heavier at times. 

Yeah, it’s got that sub-bass and a kind of trip-hop electronic quality. After that, the album definitely rocks a bit harder. 

One thing that inspired me a lot during the making of this record was my six-string Baritone guitar. We talked a bit about Haken before–they’ve got eight-string guitars that go way down low, but that’s prog-metal. There aren’t many people going for that old-school ‘70s rock sound, like Black Sabbath, which is what I really wanted to capture. That’s where “The Frost” came from–you have that low guitar playing the main riff, and the rest of the album kind of fed off that same vibe.

Another interesting aspect of the new record for me is that there isn’t really a longform ‘prog epic’ with extended jamming. Each of the past records had a 10+ minute centerpiece track, like “The Final Thing On My Mind” from Your Wilderness or “White Mist” on Dissolution. Is it purely coincidence, or were you deliberately trying to be more concise?

The last song of the album, “To Forget,” almost became like that. When we play it live, there is an extended outro. The rest of the band didn’t really grow up with progressive rock like I did, so we jointly decided not to do that for the studio version.

It wasn’t really a conscious thing, but I did notice that when compiling the songs. We’ll probably get some comments, but I think the record sounds really well-balanced.

We’ve always kind of fit in this odd place in the rock world, because the mainstream rock world basically ignores us and the prog-rock community are like “where’s the long song?” So it’s a bit risky because of who our core demographic is, but it really didn’t need it this time around.

TPT Dissolution 5.1 FLAC IAA

My favorite part of that song is that bridge section between the instrumental jam and the big ending, starting where you sing “you fall into this odd escape…” I love the cadence of the vocal melody, there’s a haunting beauty to it and the lyrics are really poetic. 

Thank you!

We talked a bit about Gavin’s use of the nord drum on the Versions Of The Truth bonus album. I noticed some of those electronic percussion sounds are present in the new material as well, mostly notably “All That’s Left” and the title track.

It’s funny, because those ‘80s-era digital percussion sounds used to be really unfashionable. There was a lot of great music in the ‘80s, but it was also the birth of manufactured pop and all that kind of stuff. In the last few years, something seems to have changed and now a lot of bands are incorporating those sounds. So we made a conscious decision to bring more of that stuff in after doing the Versions bonus, and it worked out really well. It adds a unique spin to the usual TPT sound. 

The new bonus album, Y Aqui Estamos, is just absolutely bonkers. It’s hard to describe exactly what this sounds like–nord drum percussion with crazy Spanish acoustic guitar counterpoint layered on top? I’m curious how that came together.

We’ve tried all these different concepts for the bonus mixes over the years–orchestral versions, acoustic versions, the electronic thing, etc. So what was left to do? We didn’t have much time, because of the deadline. Gavin did all the percussion like on Versions, but then he brought in a friend who’s a Spanish flamenco guitarist to play on it. I ended up redoing some of the vocals, because the vibe is so different. I think people will be quite surprised when they put that disc on. [laughs]

TPT How Did We Find Our Way Blu-Ray 5.1 Atmos

I really can’t say enough good things about the How Did We Find Our Way box set. With so many subpar deluxe editions out there today, the amount of effort put into this one really shows–not just in terms of the audio, but also the liner notes and value for the listener. Because of all the work involved, I imagine it’ll be quite some time until we see the next set?

Thank you! I doubt it will take as long, because now I know what I'm doing. A lot of that first box was really about recreating my computer setup as it was in the early-2000s. I had to set up a virtual machine with Windows ‘98 installed, which was very strange. I’ve got snapshots of what my studio was like over the years, through all the different versions of Windows, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to recall most of the sessions.

All The Wars (2012) will probably be the most challenging of the bunch, because we recorded that in a different studio. I’m planning to start work on this as soon as I’m back from the European tour, so hopefully it can be finished by the end of this year.

I’m really excited to hear how the mixes turn out, because that second era has a lot of what’s probably the most aggressive music The Pineapple Thief ever made. 

Now that I look back on it, you’re probably right. I remember the way I used to play when we toured during the time. I was jumping all around the stage like a madman, and I’d really whack my guitar. So it’ll be interesting to revisit all those songs with fresh ears.

We talked a bit about “Alone At Sea” before, but “Nothing At Best” is another one that stands out to me as particularly hard-rocking.

That's the one that we won't be doing on this tour, because we've ended our sets with “Nothing At Best” for the last few years. I’m excited to finish with “Alone At Sea” instead–that riff really does get the crowd going. It’s probably about as close to that head-banging mosh pit kind of thing as we’ve ever gotten.

Pineapple Thief What We Have Sown 5.1 Atmos

The second box set will presumably cover the early KScope years, from 2008’s Tightly Unwound up through when Gavin joined in 2016. What do you remember best about this phase of The Pineapple Thief? Did moving from Cyclops to KScope really change things for the band?

It actually starts with What We Have Sown (2007), the final record on Cyclops. I had one more record on the contract with them, so I put this together pretty quickly. It’s almost like one of the ‘bonus’ discs we were talking about earlier, but it’s got a crazy 27-minute song on it.

After that, we signed with KScope and did Tightly Unwound. That was the last record where I basically played all the instruments. The drums were pretty much all programmed like on the early albums, though the technology had improved to the point where you could get a really solid drum sound.

Being on KScope definitely helped raise our profile and Someone Here Is Missing was a big moment, mostly because Storm Thorgerson did the cover art. It was amazing to meet him, especially since he passed away not long after.

TPT Someone Here Is Missing 5.1 Atmos

Similar to 10 Stories Down from the last box set, All The Wars was quite a difficult record to make. That was the first time I actually tracked live drums, which was a challenge after being so used to working with samples on the grid.

I have a lot of fond memories from Magnolia. Songwriting-wise, it’s one of my favorite records we did. Like we talked about before, I’m really looking forward to hearing it without so much dynamic compression. 

I agree that Magnolia is kind of a hidden gem in the catalog. The songwriting and melodies are just as good as on later works, though I’ve always thought that the drumming is kind of simplistic–especially compared to what Gavin would bring to the table on Your Wilderness.

Dan Osborne played the drums on that record, and he also produced it. He was a good player, but his drumming style was definitely more straight-ahead pop rock. Had he not joined, we might’ve called it a day because we didn’t have a drummer.

So you guys didn’t become full-time musicians until after Gavin joined in 2016?

I left my civilian day job in 2015, right before we met Gavin. Your Wilderness came out at just the right time for us. I wouldn’t even say I’m a full-time musician now, because it’s mainly mixing work that pays the bills.

Will there be a lot of bonus material in the second box set? I know there were acoustic versions of some songs from Tightly Unwound and Magnolia. It would be great to hear surround mixes of those tracks.

Like the first box, it’ll have absolutely everything I can find from that time period. Someone Here Is Missing (2010) had a companion EP, as did Tightly Unwound. There was also a digital-only track called “Open Water” that’s really good. Why didn’t I put this on an album? So I’m really going to go digging, and–like we were talking about before–I think it’ll be slightly easier to put together because we’re not going so far back in time. The first set went all the way back to 1999, so opening those sessions was really challenging.

In the liner notes, I think it was mentioned that the multitrack recordings for those early Cyclops albums were on rewritable CDs?

I took those CDs out for the first time in years and they’d developed an odd yellow color [laughs]. Amazingly, I was able to pull all the data off them without issue. The other fortunate thing was that I’d had the foresight to back up all the sampler data to a format that’s still supported by Cubase, even though I was using a hardware EMU unit at the time. So I could basically re-create the EMU sampler in digital form, which was great because I didn’t print any of those sounds. Of course, at the time I had no idea I’d need any of this stuff again.

Variations On A Dream TPT 5.1 Atmos

Not many albums from that early-2000s era have been remixed in 5.1 or Atmos, probably because of the difficulty opening the old sessions. Who would have guessed that the old analog recordings from the ‘70s and ‘80s would prove easier to recover today?

My experience with recording and mixing has been almost entirely with digital, so I don’t really have any nostalgia for the old days of analog. When I was in a band called Vulgar Unicorn in the mid-90s, they still had tape machines in the studio.

I’ve yet to do a remix from an analog source, though that may change soon. There were some discussions with Ian [Anderson] about maybe working on some of the older Jethro Tull albums, though I’m not entirely sure what’s going on with that project as yet.

I was going to ask if there have been any discussions about you doing Atmos mixes of the older Tull albums. The box set of 1982’s The Broadsword & The Beast with Steven Wilson’s 5.1 mix came out a few months ago, so it’d be great to see similar deluxe editions of Under Wraps (1984) or Crest Of A Knave (1987) in the future with you doing the 5.1 or Atmos mixes.

There are a few more albums that I know Ian wants to remix, but things seem to move pretty slow in the major label world when it comes to these older reissues. Hopefully something will happen later this year.

TPT Your Wilderness 5.1 FLAC

Looking beyond the second box set, are you planning to do Atmos mixes of the first three albums with Gavin? 

Yes, definitely. Those will be easy to do compared to the older stuff. In fact, I already did Atmos mixes of a few songs from Versions Of The Truth to pair with the music videos on the Nothing But The Truth Blu-Ray.

Any chance you’d also be willing to do Atmos mixes of the first two solo records, 2015’s Bruce Soord and 2019’s All This Will Be Yours

I’d love to. Those would be easy to do as well. Maybe one day we'll do a solo box set or some kind of retrospective package where they can all go on one Blu-Ray. The first album was never released in physical format, only 5.1 FLAC. It was such a low-key release.

I think the download was hosted on Burning Shed for a limited time back in 2015, then it became impossible to get for quite a few years. I’m so glad we were able to rescue the 5.1 mix when KScope partnered with IAA in 2021, it’s a great album and the surround mix is still excellent even compared to your more-recent work.

Yeah, I saw some nice comments about it. A fan had messaged me about how much they liked the 5.1 of that first record. It was great to revisit those songs for my solo tour a few months back–we closed the set with “The Odds,” which is such a fun piece.

Another older album that I’ve always thought would sound amazing in surround is Wisdom Of Crowds (2013), your one-off collaboration with Katatonia’s Jonas Renkse. Do you think KScope might be willing to do a reissue of this album with an Atmos Blu-Ray or 5.1 DVD?

Yes! We recorded that way back in 2012, I think? It would be great to do an anniversary edition. I’ve been speaking to Jonas about doing another record for ages, so maybe when that happens we can reissue the old one with a surround mix. It’s definitely a unique-sounding record.

Wisdom Of Crowds Soord Renkse

Last year, you contributed 5.1 and Dolby Atmos mixes to the deluxe edition of Jethro Tull’s new RökFlöte album. How did you come to be involved in that project? 

Ian Anderson’s son James sought me out, because he was looking for someone equipped to mix in Dolby Atmos. Ian actually came to see me in-person at my studio to listen back to some test Atmos mixes from The Zealot Gene. He really liked what I did and gave me free reign over this new record. 

In addition to the 5.1 and Atmos, I also did an alternative stereo mix. The album actually wasn’t all that layered–it basically sounds like a band playing together in the same room with some flute and keyboard overdubs. To make it sound good in surround, I had to be a bit creative with spreading things out and changing the balances in some places.

Considering that it was mixed from stems, I thought you did a great job with the Atmos version of Katatonia’s Sky Void Of Stars. I’m glad we were able to work with Napalm to get that out as a download, because the limited-edition box set with the Blu-Ray was going for crazy money online.

Yeah, that’s great news. I was really pleased with how the Atmos mix came out. It would have been nice to separate things out a bit more and get more control over the reverbs, but you have to make do with what’s there. There are a lot of interesting space-y synth bits on that album, so you could get away with adding some movement.

Katatonia Sky Void Of Stars 5.1 FLAC Atmos MKV Download IAA

Another exciting upcoming release you did the Atmos mix for is Big Big Train’s The Likes Of Us. How did you get the invitation to work on that album?

Similar to Jethro Tull, they sought me out because there just aren’t that many people set up for Atmos in the UK. Rob Aubrey, who normally does the stereo and 5.1 mixes for BBT, wasn’t set up for Atmos and didn’t even have time to do the 5.1. So they approached me and I was really excited to work on it, because the arrangement is so lush–there’s brass, violins, tons of vocals, etc. 

Since you only have 120 objects to work with in Atmos, it was a challenge to fit everything in. I had to be really creative in terms of the grouping. Greg [Spawton] came down to listen in my studio and he loved it. That record really was made for surround sound.

Fortunately, most of your Atmos mixes have been released on Blu-Ray. As of now, I think the only streaming-exclusive title is Haken’s Fauna–which is a bit of a shame, as that one came out really well.

I know. I asked them about this and the issue was the band’s target demographic. It’s a younger audience, so there’s less interest in physical products.

I always wonder how many people are set up to stream in Atmos to some kind of speaker setup or a soundbar, as opposed to headphones.

Haken Fauna Dolby Atmos Bruce Soord

Apple has reported that a fairly-large percentage of their users are listening in spatial audio, but I suspect most of those people are headphone listeners that may not even realize it’s been activated.

Yeah, that’s the thing. The first single from the Big Big Train album came out a few weeks ago, and the band were really unhappy with how it sounded on Apple Music. 

I had mixed it so the drums are kind of situated all around you, between the side and front speakers and a bit high up so it really feels like you’re sitting at the kit. It sounds great on speakers, but the Apple binaural rendering made the drums sound quite loud. So you kind of just have to juggle the speaker mix with the binaural. It would be much easier if there were two deliverables, one for speakers and the other for headphones.

Fortunately, we were able to get them back into a studio to hear the original ADMs and they loved it. So I think the Blu-Ray is definitely the best way to hear that album.

One thing that’s great about the ADM masters is that you can monitor the Dolby version of binaural out of the renderer, which sounds better to me than Apple’s spatial audio.

I checked the binaural when I was mixing it, but unfortunately Cubase doesn’t let you export MP4 files. So I’m not exactly sure what’s happening when you play an MP4 on your phone, in terms of the binaural processing–but the two-track binaural WAV that I print from the session usually sounds great.

I’m working in Pro-Tools, so the Dolby Renderer is actually a separate application that runs in the background. It’s a little annoying to have to pay for more software, but it’s handy since you can use it as a media player to monitor other people’s ADMs. You can also export to MP4 using the standalone renderer. To check mixes in spatial audio, I’ll put the MP4s in a Google Drive folder and listen on my iPhone out to a pair of AirPods Max. The MP4 files seem to automatically trigger the spatial audio indicator on the phone.

Interesting. So the processing is happening inside the phone? I really need to figure out how to generate the MP4s. The internal renderer in Cubase is great though, because you can create a fixed binaural WAV file with the Dolby encoding baked in.

Big Big Train Likes Of Us Dolby Atmos

The way you mix in Atmos is fascinating and different from almost everyone else I’ve worked with. You mix almost exclusively with objects and really make use of the entire space, with elements positioned not just entirely above or below but also in-between the top and bottom speakers.

The approach of working only with objects came from Steve Genewick at Capitol Studios. I did use the bed a bit with Big Big Train, just because there weren’t enough objects to cover all the tracks. Otherwise, it just had the LFE.

In terms of placement, for me it’s really about using your ear in tandem with the spatial panner to create this big blanket of sound. I’ve never really thought about whether a given instrument should go all the way to the top or only partially. It’s great especially with vocals–you can really make it sound like the singer is standing in front of you. Then when I toggle to 5.1 monitoring on the Dolby Renderer, it’s like “where did all the sound go?” I think the leap from 5.1 to Atmos is almost as big as going from stereo to 5.1.

With the newer Pineapple Thief records, Gavin does his own drum mix and sends you a stereo track. When you pan that out towards the sides and a bit higher up, it sounds massive even though it’s really just stereo.

Yeah, for sure. There was one track where I asked him to split the ambient mics out, but it actually didn’t sound as good as when it’s all together in the same space. It totally feels like you’re sitting in Gavin’s drum stall.

Bruce Soord Dolby Atmos

In addition to bigger acts like Katatonia and Jethro Tull, you still do a lot of mixing for unsigned bands. Can you tease any exciting upcoming projects? Has it been difficult to get indie artists to take the plunge for 5.1/Atmos?

In the past, unsigned bands I’ve worked with have been interested in 5.1. There was the Fire Garden self-titled album, They Seem Like Owls' Strangers, and a few others that got released on DVD.

Right now, I’m working with a French band called Moonshine Blast. It’s really good stuff, catchy songs. I’m doing an Atmos mix for them, but explaining how to play an Atmos file is a lot more difficult than with 5.1. All I can give them are the ADMs, which are basically useless unless you can get them into a consumer-playable format. You’re the only person I know who can take an ADM and convert it to TrueHD, so I always point these guys towards your site.

Well, I appreciate it. Thank you for supporting what we're doing! I’m really glad we were able to collaborate on releasing the Luminescence Atmos mix as a TrueHD/MKV download. It sounds considerably better than the Apple Music stream, and fans seem to be responding really positively to it.

Oh, that’s excellent. We’re still kind of in the early days for Atmos downloads and devices that can handle that format, but I’m really excited about the possibilities.

Bruce Soord Dolby Atmos

KScope has been great to work with in terms of making their 5.1/Atmos catalog available as downloads on our site. I’m hopeful we’ll eventually reissue more of the older 5.1 mixes you’ve done for other labels, like Riverside’s Love Fear & The Time Machine or Opeth’s Deliverance.

Yeah. With InsideOut, I imagine their connection to Sony must complicate things. I’ve done a lot for them over the years, like the Riverside you mentioned and also a Tim Bowness record. The Opeth Damnation/Deliverance box set was either Roadrunner or Music For Nations, the latter of which is also Sony.

Any chance you’ll be touring the US again? 

Yeah, we were planning on coming back to North America in November. I don't know if it's happening yet because of costs, but if we do I'll be sure to let you know where we're playing.

Read our full review of It Leads To This!

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Jonathan is an audio engineering enthusiast from New York with a passion for immersive audio, having amassed a formidable collection of multichannel optical discs and quadraphonic vinyl. He earned his undergraduate degree in Television-Radio from Ithaca College and Master's degree in Audio Technology from American University.