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Hello, My Name Is Susan

| August 31, 2011

Q&A with Human League’s Susan Ann Sulley

IE: What’s been going on during the decade between Human League albums?
Susan Ann Sulley
: The last album, Secrets, didn’t do so well because the record company [Papillon] went bankrupt when it came out, and we had to pick ourselves up from that. We’ve done a lot of live work all over the world, including three trips to America in the last 10 years. About three years ago, Philip [Oakey, frontman] said he was writing again, which was for his own pleasure at first, but a record label in the U.K. [Wall Of Sound] came to us and said they wanted to work with us, so we put out the material as the new album, Credo.

IE: What styles and sounds were you going for on the new tunes?
: It’s just a Human League album, isn’t it? We can’t be anything we’re not, and couldn’t sound like Coldplay or Rihanna even if we tried. There’s always synths, drum machines, melodies, and choruses with the three of us doing vocals in whatever way we choose to do them.

IE: How did MTV play a role in the band’s rise to fame?
: I think it was very important, especially in America. You can’t get to all the places you need to be and MTV allowed us to make a video that everybody from America to Japan to Australia could see and know what we looked and sounded like.

IE: Did you ever think there would be a day when they’d stop playing music?
: No! That’s really odd isn’t it? If you want to watch a video now, there’s always YouTube. But I’m a bit old fashioned and liked MTV because you could always turn to them to watch videos. It’s quite sad.

IE: Any fashion regrets when you see those old clips?
: No, because that was the fashion! When you wore those clothes they were fashionable and you looked great. Now they’re not cool, but I can deal with that. I see pictures and go, “Oh my God, did we really wear that?” Obviously I would never wear anything like that again, and as a 40-something year old lady, I wear something that’s more suitable – but I don’t regret it.

IE: Why do you think the band’s attracted such a large gay following?
: We love coming to Chicago because there’s a big gay contingent there. Although there aren’t any gay people in the group, we try to put on a big of show with costume changes and run around with lots of mad dancing. We have female and male members and I think they like the campiness that comes from the group.

The Human League appear Saturday, September 17th at Guinness Oyster Fest (Damen & Roscoe) in Chicago. Q&A by Andy Argyrakis.

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