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Black Nail Cabaret is a pop noir duo, from Hungary. Formed in 2008, the group consists of Emese 'Emke' Arvai-Illes (vocals) and Krisztian Arvai (keyboards). The band, which was formed in Budapest, but was later based in London for several years, originally started with Sophie Tarr (keyboards) who left the band in 2016 to pursue her own music project.

They described their style as visual synthpop or synth noir, with experimental tones in some of the songs.

Emke and Sophie had started to perform as dancers together at the biggest local industrial/cyber party series called Kollektíva, and in 2005 they’ve formed a small theatre group called Art Macabre with 7 members, for bringing the horror genre to life on stage. They’ve performed on dark/goth events, and had two succesful self-organized shows in the Merlin Theatre, Budapest. That’s where the idea of a theatrical musical project came from.

Sophie used to play the piano since her childhood, Emke is singing and writing poems, some of them were published in a hungarian teen magazine in the end of 90’s. After buying her first keyboard for learning, Emke started to write songs, her hungarian poems turned into english lyrics. Sophie composed melodies on their Bösendorfer piano, and Emke did the vocals.

The name Black Nail Cabaret came from their everyday tool in the gothic subculture: the black nail polish. Cabaret means they don’t take it so serious.

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