80s stars in a league of their own

ALMOST three decades since releasing the ground-breaking Dare, The Human League are back on tour promoting a new album.

While many of today’s disposable pop acts come and go with alarming rapidity the Sheffield-based electronic new wave act have been a model of longevity.

Singer Susan Sulley spoke to Mercury reporter Miles Jermy this week ahead of the band’s appearance at the University of East Anglia next month. The Norwich date, on November 29, will start the Night People tour, named after the first single from The Human League’s forthcoming album Credo.

Susan was famously recruited to the band with friend Joanne Catherall after being spotted in a Sheffield nightclub by lead vocalist Philip Oakey back in 1980. She said: “The recording went very well and we are really happy with results. It is a Human League album with Joanne, Phil and myself, so it is going have our sound.

“The sound is very contemporary and uses the latest technology – we are not going back or being old fashioned.

“We love playing live, it is what we are good at and I’m really looking forward to the tour.

“It’s always good at the UEA, we’ve played there on almost all our recent tours.

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“The thing about playing a university is there are a lot of younger people coming to see us, where at other venues there might be an older crowd.”

Just months after joining The Human League Susan was propelled into pop stardom as the band enjoyed a string of hits culminating in the release of the multi-platinum selling album Dare and number one single Don’t You Want Me.

“It was a bit of a surprise, everything took off so quickly. I did not expect us to be so successful not just in this country, but all over the world,” said Susan.

“There were lots of things that go with success in the music business we were not interested in like fame and celebrity. I did not enjoy being in the band as much then as I do now. You are not going to see us in Heat or Hello magazines. We are not pretty young things living scandalous lives.”

While several other 80s bands re-formed to ride the revival of interest in the decade’s music The Human League have continued to record and tour throughout the last 30 years.

Reflecting on the massive changes in the music scene during that time Susan said: “When we started there were loads of record labels and we signed a deal to make 12 albums.

“I loved David Bowie, Japan and Roxy Music. They had glamour, were slightly on the edge of things and would never have got through the first round of X Factor.

“I have seen groups that have re-formed and when they go on stage it is obvious they are just doing it for the money. It you come to a Human League concert you will see we love what we do.”

Now signed with the Wall of Sound label, Credo, the band’s 10th album, will be released in the spring.

l Tickets for the UEA gig are available on 01603 508050 or online at www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk.