Better Luck In The Next Life

Better Luck In The Next Life

Chiiild’s synth-heavy psychedelic soul is equally well-suited for both body-to-body intimacy and transportive out-of-body experiences—a woozy sound that hovers somewhere between Frank Ocean and Pink Floyd. As the project’s brain trust, Yonatan Ayal, says, that fusion comes naturally: The LA-via-Montreal singer-songwriter has spent his entire life trying to reconcile contradictory impulses and identities. “I was a skater kid, but I’m also an Ethiopian kid,” Ayal tells Apple Music. “I’d be listening to LINKIN PARK but then also obsess over The Underdogs’ production and bridges in Omarion songs. These were things that just didn’t fit into my friends’ idea of what was acceptable. And so, I would pick that part of me that fits in this room, and then that part of me that fits in the other room. But this record was about just being all of those things.” On Chiiild’s second album, Better Luck in the Next Life, Ayal’s palette of eclectic influences features increasingly unpredictable shades and shapes. But it’s a record whose forays into tie-dyed R&B (“Bon Voyage”), bedroom-bound indie rock (“Good for Now”), stoner-jazz meditations (“Surfing the Silver Linings”), and karaoke-ready pop duets (“I Hope I Packed a Parachute”) are all united by a chill vibe and an insatiable desire for inner-space exploration. “This record was about getting to know me better,” Ayal professes. “It’s representative of my journey getting to this point and all of the missteps and all of the doubts that crossed my mind along the way.” Here’s his track-by-track road map to finding himself. “Better Luck in the Next Life” “With this album, I wanted to make something that felt like a superhero’s theme—to start the album off with a lot of confidence. A lot of times, there’s one song on the album that represents the beginning of the live show. For the last album [2021’s Hope for Sale], ‘Wasting Time’ is what I used to open my shows, but it was like the third-last song on the album. But with this record, I was like, ‘Let’s treat this like a show. Let’s just open up with a bang—here’s our theme song.’ This is like the opening credits.” “Bon Voyage” “‘Bon Voyage’ is like this fantasyland. You’re dreaming about what the future is going to potentially look like. You’re thinking, ‘Everybody’s out here [in LA] pretending to be creative, and they’re all kind of doing the same thing, and I’m here, in my hotel room, just dreaming up how I’m going to take over this place!’ Like, you’re in La La Land for the first time, and you still haven’t realized what’s going to happen to you later in the story. But for that moment, you feel like you’re on top of the world, and nobody can touch you.” “Antidote” “This is about being enamored by a person and saying, ‘You lift the weight from me. You go wherever the wind goes. You’re living such an open and optimistic experience, and I just want a piece of that because I’m here to follow the light, and you are the light. So, are you the solution to everything or not?’ There’s this dilemma that you face when you meet somebody and have a new relationship, whether it be intimate or not: Are you going to save me from the struggle, whether it be emotionally or physically?” “Good for Now” (feat. Lucky Daye) “Lucky and I are friends—we’ve worked on more than just [their hit 2022 duet] ‘Compassion.’ I was like, ‘Let’s get back in the studio and make something together and try to bring you into my world.’ It was a one-day thing: We got into the studio with [producer] D’Mile, we started messing around with some things, and I recorded his vocal that day. Lucky’s an incredible writer. We were all jamming—the only thing I came in with was the chorus.” “Hell and High Water” (feat. Alina Baraz & Caitlyn Scarlett) “This song originally started when I was in London working on ‘Count Me Out’ [from 2020’s Synthetic Soul]. I had met with Caitlyn, and I was just like, ‘Let’s write the wildest thing with no framework—let’s just do something that’s completely open.’ And then we wrote ‘Hell and High Water,’ and I just kind of sat on it for a while. Time passed, and then Synthetic Soul came out, and then Hope for Sale came out, and then, finally, it felt like I grew into a place where this song made sense. I recorded my parts and then reached out to Alina. So much of the time, when you have a songwriter contribute to a record, they kind of get cut out, so I thought it would be really cool to just have all of our voices in there together.” “Surfing the Silver Linings” “Clearly, this is a song about escapism. It’s basically saying, ‘Hey, look, I’m going through something—but I’m over here in this blissful state, so don’t get in the way. Don’t try to talk me out of this. I’m here—just leave me alone.’ We all do it. We all have a vice. I think it’s important to have a vice—it’s essential to happiness and life.” “I Hope I Packed a Parachute” (feat. Charlotte Cardin) “I met Charlotte at the Junos last year. We had been fans of each other. She had come to my show at the [Montreal] Jazz Fest, at which we continued to talk and vibed for a bit, and then we talked about doing a song together. I had this track that I was working on that I sent to her, and then she recorded her parts in Paris. That’s how that song was born. I hope it becomes a karaoke classic!” “Mile-End” “I’m a big fan of having instrumental tracks. Like with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon—I found it so cool that they had those, and so this is kind of like my version of that. The production is such a big part of the art form, so why not just let it breathe?” “Into the Deep End” “To me, ‘Into the Deep End’ was trying to pay homage to songs like [Hope for Sale’s] ‘Weightless’ and trying to continue that lineage on this album, so that the two felt connected.” “(Running Out Of) Hallelujahs” “‘(Running Out Of) Hallelujahs’ represents all the promises that people make you when you’re new and fresh. You’re being told, ‘Oh, yeah, you have this thing coming and that thing coming—I have your best intentions at heart!’ But then you see the other side of things. When I first got to LA, there were people that I had met and deals that I had done that still kind of linger with me. So, ‘(Running Out Of) Hallelujahs’ is my way of saying, ‘I’m literally living on a prayer’—no pun intended. I can’t feed myself with this. There’s only so many nights of rice and beans and only so much line of credit that you can have. So, I’m saying, ‘Yo, man, I need something to work here. I can’t keep this going.’ In some ways, I was making peace with becoming a barista.” “Hiding in Plain Sight” “You have to be the light to attract more light, and sometimes you just don’t feel like it, and you’re not comfortable in your situation. But the only way out is to be the light, in the sense that you’re optimistic and in good spirits all the time because no one has the patience to burden your anxieties and stresses. At the end of the track, there’s a vocal by Mereba where it’s almost like a conversation with yourself, where you’re like, ‘Oh, man, I just realized that I need to let go of all of this negativity. I’ve been through a lot, and I still have more that I can go through. I’m still strong. I’m still good.’” “You Get Me (A Final Word)” “The final track is just a conversation between me and the listener. It’s basically a status update. I feel like I’ve communicated honestly, where sometimes I wonder if this whole career is meant for me. But then also, this is me. This is who I am, this is my story, and hopefully, I’ll have better luck on the other side of this record.”

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