www.novationmusic.com 15th February 2005

The Human League

The Human League was formed in Sheffield in 1977, at that time calling themselves The Future. Since then they have had numerous track and album successes, along with ongoing changes to the band lineup, and a steady supply of distinctive, unique and well-received music.

Their debut single ‘Being Boiled’, released on Indie label Fast Records, was voted NME’s single of the week in the summer of 1978. This ultimately helped them get a tie-in with Virgin Records, which raised their profile considerably within the music media. Having appeared on Top Of The Pops and built up a considerable fan base already, they reached new heights in May of 1980 when the album ‘Travelogue’ reached number 14 in the charts. Their sixth album ‘Crash’ was produced by the legendary R&B duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and spawned the massive U.S. number 1 single ’Human’, reaching number 8 in Britain.

More recent triumphs (after the band had left Virgin and signed to Warner Brothers) include the single ’Tell Me When’, which entered the British charts at number 6 in January 1995 and the U.S. charts at number 8 a few weeks later. Additionally, the release of another top 20 single ‘One Man In My Heart‘ geared the band up for extensive tours of Britain and the U.S.

2001 saw the release of the group’s ninth album ‘Secrets’ and the single ‘All I Ever Wanted’, along with another change of record label. The band have spent the last three years touring in territories such as Australia, South America, Europe and the U.S. as well as visits to such far off markets as South Africa and Asia. They have established themselves as a touring outfit embarking on regular U.K. tours, which culminated in the release of a live DVD in October 2004.


The Human League’s relationship with Novation started back in 1995 when the band purchased a couple of Bass Stations, recommended by some other artists. The Bass Stations quickly became incorporated into the band’s vast armoury of vintage analogue and contemporary digital synths at their private studio in Sheffield. They were used extensively in the writing and recording of the demos at that time and ultimately became a permanent fixture in the rack of synth modules for the band’s live set up. In 1995/96 they were responsible for the majority of bass sounds used live on several tours in the U.K. and the U.S.A. because they had such a rich and usable analogue sound.

In 1998, the introduction of the polyphonic and multi-timbral Supernova 1 again brought Novation to the notice of the band and two were promptly purchased from one of the first batches released. Immediately they were incorporated into the studio’s recording set-up and fast became a favourite of the band and visiting programmers. The sound of their filters and especially their “Oberheim SEM like” Hi Pass And Band Pass selections, were great for poly-rhythmic sequence parts, a favourite of The Human League. The Supernovas can be heard all over the band’s 2001 “Secrets” album and the subsequent remixed tracks.

When it was time to tour again in 1999 the two Supernovas were used to replace the Oberheim Expanders, Oberheim OBM-Xs and Roland MKS 70s. They more than complemented the live synth set up and even on the last UK tour during November and December of 2004 were praised by fans enquiring after the source of certain dynamic sounds used in the set. The addition of expansion boards bringing each of them up to 44 voices and keeping up with the system updates, have ensured that Novation have met with all their recording and performance needs.