For the second year in a row, John Lewis have used their much-hyped Christmas advert to showcase little-known talent.
While in past years, established artists like Ellie Goulding, Paloma Faith and Tom Odell have all had their music used to accompany the annual festive visual, this time around, the ad features a cover of the jazz track ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’ by the London-based electronic trio Vaults.
If past years are anything to go by, the group’s song will be totally inescapable from the moment it debuts until pretty much New Year’s Day, so we thought we’d see what we could unearth about the group.
Here’s what we found, condensed into our useful 9 Facts In 90 Seconds guide…
1. As with all good ideas, Vaults was conceived down the pub
Barney Freeman and Ben Vella were already working on music together when they spotted Blythe Pepino singing in a pub in Islington, and decided in that moment that they were going to have to invite her to join their group.
They eventually settled on the name Vaults, according to Blythe, because it “relates to the idea of a hidden place full of human fears and desires, stories and secrets”. And there was us thinking they were just a fan of oft-overlooked gameshows from the early 2000s.
2. They scored a viral hit without a record label
Vaults first rose to prominence - as is often the case in the modern era of releasing music - online, when they uploaded their song ‘Cry No More’ onto Soundcloud. They managed to accrue 100,000 plays in the space of just a week, proving in the process that you shouldn’t underestimate the power of word of mouth (or, at the very least, word of emailing your mate saying “this song is really good”).
3. You’ve heard one of their songs without even realising it
Vaults’ song ‘One More Night’ featured on the soundtrack to ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’, meaning that, whether you’re willing to own up to or not, you’ve heard at least one of their tracks.
4. Vaults are keen on giving their fans ‘surprises’ when they perform live
Ben told Vevo Dscvr earlier this year: “At our show at Village Underground, we had two dancers that came up the back, behind the audience, and performed a dance piece… that about half the crowd saw and half didn’t.”
5. The band aren’t afraid to get honest and real with their fans
The group haven’t spoken too much to the press, but in one of their most notable interviews, lead singer Blythe spoke candidly about the polyamorous relationship she has with her boyfriend, Tom.
In addition to their relationship with each other, Blythe has a girlfriend, as does Tom, while the two also date another couple.
She tells The Independent: “I kept having relationships where there was not enough trust or communication, so [the polyamory] kind of was born out of a need to start having relationships that were totally fearless or aware of one’s fears.”
6. Blythe is also keen to use her voice to raise awareness of issues that matter to her
In fact, she even blogged on HuffPost UK about the controversial Protein World tube adverts that had us all talking last year.
She wrote at the time: “This issue was absolutely everyone’s concern and it will continue to be.
“I predict that protecting our need for space away from the pressures of consumer culture will become more and more prescient in what is an increasingly cramped and competitive modern world.”
7. Vaults have come through some dark times as a group
The group were forced to take some time out when band member Ben was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Fortunately, he’s now doing much better, and has been given the “all-clear” by doctors.
8. Blythe certainly paid her dues before making it as a singer
When she was still a member of another group, Pepino, Blythe recalled her time as a “tequila girl”: “It was awful. I had to dress up. I had to try and become one of those orange women and I just ended up looking Eastern European.
9. They have an unusual connection with Dame Barbara Windsor
Vaults have been known to use an aluphone when performing ‘Cry No More’ live, with Ben telling Hunger TV: “It’s about two metres long and is covered in aluminium bells that look like breasts so we nicknamed it Babs, although there is disagreement in the band as to whether Babs is short for Barbarella or Barbara Windsor – both work.”