Get To Know: Chiiild and the DNA of experimental soul


Yonatan Ayal discusses performing his new album in the wake of his Lollapalooza afterparty show at Soho House Chicago

By Abigail Hirsch   Photography by Jesse Lirola

Singer Yonatan ‘xSDTRK’ Ayal and guitarist/ producer Pierre-Luc Rioux of Chiiild have gained recognition as an up-and-coming band for their fresh blend of R&B and experimental soul sounds. The Montreal-based duo got their start only four years ago, but Chiiild is already widely known for their genre-bending tracks and honest lyrics.

Having just released their debut album Hope For Sale, the Canadian musicians just set out on their inaugural tour, the Apocalyptic Optimistic Tour, starting with Lollapalooza in Chicago. Chiiild cites the next chapter of life as inspiration for the 11-track project.

Below, Ayal discusses the start, creation and performance of Chiiild’s latest release. 

You just released your debut album, Hope For Sale – how does it feel to have it out in the world?
‘I feel a sense of finality. It’s funny how listening to an album you’ve heard a million times while working sounds completely different once it’s released.’

Where do you start with creating an album? 
‘The first step in approaching it is experimenting with different influences and seeing where it all lands. I’d rather go too far and reel it in than stop short.’

Your tour started with Lollapalooza – what excites you most about performing again?
‘I forgot how fulfilling it was playing music with a group. There’s magic in it. Aside from that, getting instant feedback from a crowd appreciating this thing you created alone with your intimate thoughts is pretty tight.’ 

How do you want your audience to feel listening to your music?
‘I want them to let go and sink into the wall of sound. The music is dense with a lot to discover. Live in it, don’t just watch from the sidelines.’

What’s next for Chiiild?
‘More live shows. More new music. Better new music. I spend every day trying to outdo the last. I can’t stop. We’re just getting started.’

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