Vaults, the band behind this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert, have spoken to NME about how it all came about.
Despite a David Bowie cover being tipped as a favourite, the 2016 festive advertising campaign sees the upcoming trio covering ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’ by Randy Crawford. Watch/listen beneath.
The annual ad and track have become somewhat of a festive institution in the UK, with the likes of Lily Allen providing the soundtrack in the past. Last year saw Norwegian rising star Aurora cover Oasis’ ‘Half The World Away’ – before Liam Gallagher slammed brother Noel as ‘a sell out’ for allowing the track to be used.
Speaking in interview with NME, the London band explained: “[John Lewis] got in touch with us, they thought Blythe’s [singer] vocals would suit the direction they were going in. We met the arranger Chris Hill and worked with him closely before going into Abbey Road to record it. We got to work with a huge orchestra and choir and hang out in the Beatles room – the whole day was amazing… John Lewis chose the track but Blythe was a big fan of the original Randy Crawford version, she knew it backwards so it made for an easy recording session.”
“Given the style of the track it’s quite hard to put your own sound on it, it’s full on orchestral film score so we didn’t get the moog out for it! Chris the arranger was great incorporating our ideas into the version as we knocked ideas around a bit with him. We also had to stay true to the vibe of the track, there were 150 amazing musicians playing on it in a legendary room so you don’t want to mess with that as it captured something really magical, and Blythe sang along live with them which is quite rare these days. Our real stamp on it is Blythe’s interpretation of the song and her vocal performance. We love how it’s ended up, there is something magical about the epicness of it, especially when you were involved in the process of watching it evolve on the day with all those players.”
Asked if it’s a honour to be picked to soundtrack the advert, the band replied: “Absolutely, it’s obviously pretty unique in telly world, it’s a big talking point over Christmas and it was great to be a part of it. The privilege was really the recording experience, it was a big tick on the bucket list for all of us.”
On whether they are worried about being pigeonholed by the increased attention, they said: “Not particularly, I don’t think that’s massively been the case for Aurora. I think if you have a chance to reach a bigger fan base you can’t complain about what gives you that chance. We’re genuinely proud of the track so if that brings people to us who go on to discover the rest of our material it’s all good.”
Listen to the track in full below: