mike stock interview 2015

celebrating 25 years since 'Everybody knows'

so mike, What was your first impression of Sonia the first time you met her?

I thought she was lovely, pretty, bubbly, excitable!

You had a number of other singers on your label at that time, how was Sonia different to the others?

Just to be clear, Sonia was on the Chrysalis label. We had other artists of course working with SAW, Sonia was a vocalist more than anything. Other artists were in Soaps or were recognisable characters in other ways. Sonia came to us purely as an unknown singer. That was quite unusual.

How did you know what song to write for her for her first single?

I only ever work in this way: I like to know who the song is for and I factor in as many suitable ingredients as possible and with all of those constraints in my head I sit at a piano, normally, and diddle around until something goes ‘ping’ and a song emerges. It comes from the heart and eventually out of my fingers!

Were you surprised to the reaction of 'You'll never stop me loving you?’
After I have finished writing the song I am excited. But after I have finished making the record I can’t hear it anymore. It is then that I have to trust my first thought. If I liked it when I wrote it, I keep faith with that! If it becomes a hit I feel vindicated because writing the kind of POP we did often brings stern critics out of the wood work. Sonia’s first single was unstoppable, and yes, I was not expecting number 1. That was a great surprise.

Did you ever consider any other SAW penned tracks for the first single? Or other album tracks?
No, this was written especially for Sonia and the backing track, basic instruments and rhythm track were recorded about 5 minutes before she arrived to sing it!

Can you clear up a long standing rumour about the track 'Can't forget you' ... was this track ever meant or recorded for Kylie in any way? Did Kylie ever record it?
'Can’t Forget You' was written for Sonia. Kylie never sang it.

The album 'everybody knows' is seen by many pwl/saw lovers as one of the best albums to come out of the hit factory, looking back now, would you have ever chosen any other tracks for the album?
Of course SAW did not write and produce the whole album. All songs were chosen on the basis of suitability. All singles, actually produced by SAW apart from End Of The World were written by us. Harding and Curnow wrote some as you know. We were very busy at the time and I don’t think there would have been much chance to sift through lots of song ideas. Matt Aitken and I would just have got on with the job as efficiently as possible.

How long was the process for recording the album?
It was not completed in one unbroken series of sessions. We were forever juggling our time and our artists. However, we did not hang about! These days computers have slowed things down. Back then we could turn around an album in a few weeks.

Were there any other Sonia tracks recorded at PWL that were left in the PWL vaults?
I have songs which I wrote with Sonia in mind, sitting in my vaults. But let me clear up this PWL thing. Sonia was a Chrysalis artist. The studios were called The Vineyard. PWL had signed her originally, but that was the only involvement! A mistake a lot of people make is to confuse SAW with PWL.So if there were songs they would not be in the PWL vaults. They are, in fact, in mine!

What was your most memorable session in the studio with Sonia?
I liked the ‘End Of The World’ session. Firstly it was an established song. So I was not feeling the pressure one gets in working your own compositions. That gave me the chance for the first time, to relax, sit back and just listen to her sing live on the mic. She has a lovely voice! I remember every session I’ve ever done with every artist. I especially remember this one.

Were you disappointed only getting the chance to record one album with Sonia?
Yes. Times changed. People move on. Looking back I would have been happy to do more work. But at the time it did not happen. But who knows in the future?

Was their ever any plan to do a second album with Sonia before she left PWL, if so had any tracks been planned? Or singles made in the pipe line?
(If so can you tell us which songs she could have recorded?)

There were no plans at the time that involved me. I have about 120 unused songs. Some were written with Sonia in mind. Some of these were later sung by other artists. But I think it would be indiscreet to reveal too much about that!

What was your favourite Sonia album/single track and why?
I do think ‘You’ll Never Stop Me Loving You’ is my favourite, only because it was the first song we did and a number 1. I would mention ‘Listen To Your Heart’ as well.

Did you follow her career after she left SAW/PWL? What did you think of her music after she had left the hit factory?
I was aware of some of the work she did after leaving SAW. (There’s that PWL thing again.)

Sonia fans would love a new Mike stock and Sonia Track? Would you consider this in the future?.
Yes, I have secretly been making plans! Sonia is a great singer. So its no problem thinking about this realistically. There has to be a great deal of thought as to what we could do together. But I may just have a cunning plan. However, Sonia would need to agree to it first!

If you were to recorded with Sonia now, what direction would you take her?
I think a kind of 80s revival record would work on a nostalgic basis. But also some modern style ballads would work. She’s a singer so whatever I could throw at her she would cope with.

Anything else that you would like to add or if you have any photos from that time we loved to add them, but no worries if not
I think I would like Sonia to know that the world was turning upside in late 1990s and into 1991 Matt Aitken was leaving, Pete Waterman and I were slowly falling apart. She got caught up in the cross fire and I think she was side lined by events way too soon. That’s all!

*** a personal message from neil & michael***
thank you so much to mike stock for this great interview, we appreciate that you could spare us some time to share with us your thoughts about the girl everybody knows and loves... and I'm sure all of you sonia fans are just as excited as we are for any possible future colaborations between mike and sonia. Here's to a future with endless possibilities xx

to connect with mike stock check out his facebook page, website or twitter @mikestockmusic. sonia is also on twitter now @SoniaevansSonia

Photos of sonia during her time with Stock Aitken Waterman.