New Delhi Artist Hellish is the Shapeshifting Pop Artist You Need to Hear
The singer-composer recently wrapped up her four-track EP ‘Lilith’s Daughter,’ which features dark-pop that’s a nod to Billie Eilish and emo rock and bass music
When New Delhi-based singer and composer Astha began singing after watching the 2012 animated movie Barbie: The Princess & the Popstar, she admits it was a “silly attempt” to copy Keira, the pop-singer protagonist. “I was just a huge Barbie fan and I’d do everything she would, that’s how I discovered my talent and interest in this field,” the artist says.
That was when she was 11 years old. At 18, she’s now known as Hellish and began releasing murky pop music and guest-appeared on a few bass music producers’ projects since 2020. She unpacked a studio kit her mother had bought her and began with covers, soon building a rapport with beatsmiths like Chennai-based Jessenth Ebenezer aka Someone Else and others on the Internet.
The remote collaborations led to bass and trap singles like “Never Hopeless” and “Countless Things,” made by Someone Else and Bangladeshi producer Immense. A lot of these connections happened via introductions on Instagram, including with Sumer, who produced Hellish’s rock single “Albatross,” released in June. It completes her concept EP Lilith’s Daughter, which started with songs like “Kira or Misa?” – inspired by animated series Death Note and featuring woozy, mad carnival fair kind of production from Smरn – and dug into goth/pop-rock on “Lilith’s Daughter,” with aid from producers Help aka Anmol Singh Kalsi and A.M.Z. aka Anurag Mozumdar (the latter also co-produced “Albatross”). There’s also an industrial/pop party song, “Y2K Medusa,” also produced by Sumer, which channels anger at the “sad reality” that women face, from victim-blaming to policing their appearances.
All in all, it places Hellish as an artist who’s not going to be pinned down to a particular sonic style. She namechecks everyone from Grimes to Billie Eilish and Halsey when asked about influences. “Currently I really want to try hyper-pop and glitch-pop; I’ve been listening to Yeule and Alice Glass a lot these days and I definitely want to try their style,” she adds.
With Lilith’s Daughter, Hellish also found a way to make a “motion against societal norms and pressures on the youth, especially females.” Thematically, she’s drawing from Biblical and mythological texts, but understands that listeners can also draw their own interpretations from it. “It definitely focuses on the evils of society, yet at the same time, it’s something you can play in the car and vibe to. Everyone has their own interpretation,” she adds.
Hellish considers her earlier work as just that of an EDM vocalist and says she found her true identity as an artist with the release of this EP. “I wanted to give my girls something to dance to while also talking about how society makes rules about their bodies, and how they don’t have much of a say in their life choices,” the artist says.
There’s more music coming up in 2022 and Hellish says she’s also planning on experimenting with dream-pop and metal, in the vein of artists like Poppy. “I have already started writing new music and I can’t wait for the world to listen to it,” she adds.
Listen to ‘Lilith’s Daughter’ EP below.