Philip: Yeah. Some songs along the way were just meaningless; accidentally meaningless pop. I think when you go for a meaningless song that can be brilliant. Our song “Fascination”, honestly isn’t about anything, but I hope it’s pushed into the territory of something Yes or Procol Harem would do where it’s deliberately really about the music so you just make the words just fit it. There are other songs that just ended up for being pop for the sake of pop and I just get through them somehow.
Rocker: Care to mention song titles?
Philip: I don’t think I should! (Laughs)
Rocker: Are there any you really enjoy playing?
Philip: I’m really enjoying the new ones. Perhaps because it’s such a challenge to go out in front of people who are fans of our old catalog and start they out with a new song when they wanted us to do “Don’t You Want Me?” It means we have to work hard.
Rocker: The image of the band always has a futuristic and robotic feel. Does that come out of your love of science fiction?
Philip: I accidentally am a fan of sci-fi. I try to pretend that I’m not now because I don’t think it particularly impressed people. I was going to say impresses girls but I’ve had the same girlfriend for twelve years now and I’m not really trying to impress girls anymore! (Laughs) But I do still go back to references like J.G. Ballard and I really love Philip K Dick. I’m still waiting for the next great Philip K. Dick movie. I’m going to try and write a short story quite soon, which I’ve not done since I was thirteen, because I’ve got a science fiction idea strongly in my head.
Rocker: When you play on a bill with other 1980’s artists is there a feeling of competition or camaraderie?
Philip: I think we can all be a little bit stand-offish. I’m not very good at social stuff. I’m socially awkward, which means I’m a bit scared that people in other bands might not like me. You have to play three or four dates before you’ll find me sitting around having a chat. I admire all those bands; the bands that have stuck around. We were all trying to do the same thing. It was hard for all of us. If they’ve done it, that’s great. We played a couple of dates recently with Level 42. We thought because they were rivals in the 80’s that we should be a bit stand-offish, but we went out and watched them and they were great. I can’t get them out of my head! Then we chatted and I can’t quite believe how nice they were, especially Mark King.
Rocker: How do you feel about your songs being used in commercials?
Philip: That’s good. We’re all trying to earn money. We’re part of the capitalist system – which is possibly the best way that has been thought of yet. So that’s okay. They had a humorous advert in England using a guy with a regional accent doing “Don’t You Want Me?” and I was a little offended by that. But then I thought that the song has been around since 1981, and if people haven’t already worked out what they thought of the song, it’s not going to change with an advert. They either love it or they don’t love it by now. So that’s good. It keeps the band in people minds, and keeps the band going.
Rocker: What do you do with your time away from Human League?
Philip: The band is tremendously time consuming because we’re doing the records ourselves now and planning for the tour. We take the touring seriously. If we’re any good at all touring, it’s all based on rehearsal. Maybe Susan is a natural, but of the three front people she’s the only one in the band who is. We rehearse very hard and try to think hard about the shows and costuming. My idea would be to make it a way more theatrical show.
Rocker: You have that especially with the multimedia presentation.
Philip: I wish it was more. I don’t particularly like watching rock groups just play. To me, if you go and see someone it should be a show. I keep arguing with our manager to push the length of the set down. He thinks we should be doing an hour and a half, but I’m with The Ramones. I think about 45 minutes is okay. In the absence of that, I would like to have a scenario for each song that would at least keep the audience from being bored. They’ve paid money for tickets so we should at least try to entertain them. I mean, the people out there who bought tickets, they are the most important people. They keep the band alive.