Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Emese Arvai-Illes, aka Emke is mostly known for her alto vocals in Black Nail Cabaret, a synth noir duo from Hungary, for those who are familiar with the dark electronic music scene. She also contributed to several projects: in 2013 she worked together with German mastermind Daniel Myer on 6 songs for Architect’s album Mine, and this year she collaborated with the Hungarian cyber-industrial act Planetdamage on his song Angst.

Emke's first solo EP, Breakaway was a self-released in 2012, on which she worked together with Krisztian Arvai, her partner in life and BNC. This time however she worked on the songs only by herself, and the new solo material has been released by UK label Two Gods on Bandcamp on 13th of December 2017. The EP Two will be available on all online platforms, such as Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon etc from end of January, along with the new music video for the song Mambo, which has been released on 26th of January.

About the video: I obviously have my own interpretation of the relationship between the visuals and the lyrics, but this time I would rather not share it and leave it for everybody to form their own opinion. I would just say that behind the behind the whole beast/witch symbolism there is a massive sad reality. This is a very personal one, mainly because it’s absolutely DIY again, like in the old days, when we were handling everything ourselves. I like its rawness and imperfections. We were shooting for several days at several different locations in the Hungarian Gerecse Mountains, above our hometown.

About the EP: “Last time I said I will not make another solo EP, but 5 years is a long time. When we make an album with BNC, we can hear after 1-2 years, what and how we would do differently, that there is room for improvement, not to mention there is always a massive amount of inspiration on the way. Now I feel that my previous solo EP is light years away!  In fact, everything significant that happened to me musically in my life, mostly happened since 2012. BNC released 3 albums, I got to work with great people, we were touring a lot, and so forth. I wrote a few songs in the last 1-2 years which somehow do not fit to a Black Nail Cabaret album, and I don’t like to keep anything in the drawer. I like to break the classic pop structure, put a drop into a song 10 times even, change dynamics in the middle, change my  vocal tone within a verse and so on. I thought to myself, that if it is not BNC, I can basically do whatever I want, without any compromises, and that was thrilling to think about!  I used plenty of samples, mainly from my own voice. For example, the song Symbols was created on one afternoon after playing with tongue-snares and elevator-door slams and I reversed the whole song in the middle which created a wonderful ending for the symbol-search. I also asked Tamas Szamveber, who played some guitars on the first BNC album, to add some atmospheric chords to the song Pretty Boy. I was very pleased with the outcome, he instantly got into the mood and it was all pure and simple. My partner in crime at the mixing desk was Krisztian Arvai obviously, he mixed and mastered the whole EP. To this day I suck at mixing, and even though there are a few basic things I can already do on my own, I cannot do panning for example, as I can’t hear the stereo, given that I’m half deaf since birth.

We also shot a video with Krisztian’s help for one of the songs and it will be released in January. A screenshot from this video has become the base of the cover artwork, typography and design was finalized by Josef Stapel, the creator of previous BNC designs.”

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