In 10 Tracks, we link up with the movers and shakers of Hong Kong’s nightlife scene to learn a bit about their background, their inspirations and their ten perfect tracks to kick off the weekend. This week, we talk to Cassio’s music director and 1/2 of Blaq Theory, Alex Nude.
Alexandros Karageorgiou was 17 when he DJ’ed his first party. Playing house music to an empty room, the first-time jitters quickly dissipated as a crowd began to pack the dance floor. The rest was history. Under his stage name Alex Nude, he’s held residencies in Mykonos at venues like Scorpios and Moni, spun on stages from Sydney to London to Belgrade alongside artists like Peggy Gou and Nina Kraviz, produced his own music, and since 2019, has put down roots here in Hong Kong, serving as music director for Cassio, the recently renovated nightlife hotspot inside LKF Tower.
Nude describes his sound as a mix of deep, melodic, tech and afro house, with references to classic disco tracks.
“I usually start my sets deep and hypnotic and then progress to uplifting and groovy; I also like to incorporate world music such as Latin rhythms, Moroccan percussions and Arabic vocals,” says Nude. “I try to explore the vast worlds of grooves and melodies creating an energetic, profound and refreshing sound. I hope to reach dance floors around the world to inspire and tease the imagination — taking listeners from warm Aegean islands to cold Nordic winters; from the thickest tropical jungles to the soul of urban heartbeats.”
With a new project on the way with his partner Anegronos under the name Blaq Theory, Lifestyle Asia caught up with Nude to get the skinny on how Michael Jackson inspired him, binaural beats and of course — his ten tracks to take us into the weekend.
10 Tracks: Alex Nude
What sparked your interest in music? Did you play any instruments or sing growing up?
I remember loving music from a young age. Growing up in Serres, I was a huge Michael Jackson fan, and would listen to my father’s disco records at home. In the early 90s at age twelve, I remember taking a liking to bands like The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy — that marked the beginning of my journey in the electronic music genre. Of all the instruments, I was most attracted to the sound of the percussion, which led me to start learning the goblet drum.
In 1995, my father ended up getting a 50% stake in our city’s only electronic music venue as payment for a debt. I got to know the owner, who showed me the ropes around the sound system. From age thirteen I saw how an electronic music venue like that operated and was amazed by the scene. My father allowed me to take home the spare turntables and a professional mixer from the club, which I used to practice with vinyl records. That’s how I developed and refined my taste in music.
Do you remember the first party you ever DJ’ed? How did it go?
How could I forget? I was seventeen years old at the time, always hanging out at the record shop. I ended up becoming friends with a university student named Kostas Tsoumanis who was also always at the place checking records. He happened to be a DJ, who became a friend and mentor for many years. When he was invited to become resident DJ at a new electronic music club in our city, he asked me to do the warmup for him. I started playing house music at midnight to an empty venue, nervous as hell. The venue filled up from 1am, and when I saw that people were dancing and enjoying my set, the feeling was indescribable.
What was your best DJ gig? What was the worst?
On my second year DJ’ing I was playing at an after-party venue. I remember coming in with 90 records, prepared to play for seven hours, tops. I started at midnight, and the party started picking up at 3am. Fast forward to 7am and nobody wanted to stop dancing. Enter every DJ’s worst nightmare: running out of records to play! I had to recycle records from 7am to 10am and was all in this paranoia that people were judging me for that, but thankfully nobody seemed to care!
One of my best gigs was closing the season at Scorpios Mykonos in the summer of 2016. I played back to back with Valeron to a crowd of 2,000 people against that epic backdrop of sunset over the Aegean Sea. We were celebrating a very successful summer for the island, and the crowd was a mix of locals and loyal clients who flew in for one last weekend that year. Everyone was giving their all in a bittersweet moment to conclude five beautiful months together.
Global music is a big part of your sound, how did you develop that appreciation?
In 2001, a friend shared a vinyl record with me called Release by Afro Celt Sound System, with a remix by Masters At Work. That was my introduction to the genre we now call Afro House. I loved the percussions and started collecting more music in this genre. One thing led to another and I found myself expanding my library to music from different parts of the world.
The rise of the internet also revolutionized the way I consumed music. I went from heavily investing in vinyl records, which were heavy and took up a lot of space, to downloading music online… including world music I wouldn’t typically find in my local record store. Working in Mykonos also exposed me to more global influences as I was meeting artists coming to the island from all over.
When was the last time you travelled?
August 2021. I went home to Greece for the first time after two years of living in Hong Kong. I was missing my mom’s milopita (apple pie)!
Without travel, where do you look for inspiration?
Two years in, I’d say I’m relatively new to Hong Kong and am very much still in the process of discovering the city. It’s my first time living in Asia, and I’ve barely even scratched the surface of this culture, or should I say these cultures? There’s so much history and inspiration on every corner that feels fresh to someone who’s been living in Europe for more than thirty-five years! I love the concept of the staycation which was something I never heard about before coming here — exploring different destinations within your own city has been an exciting and eye-opening experience.
What’s your creative process?
It depends what the situation calls for. Right now as resident DJ at Cassio I’m playing three nights per week, which demands a more structured routine. I love waking up early in the morning, doing my workout, smoothie and coffee — exactly in that order [laughs]. I spend an average of three hours per day checking new music, there’s just so much out there, and I like to update myself on what’s going on in the industry. The artists and labels in my network regularly send me tracks they’re about to release, and this is what I mainly draw from.
For festivals and special events, I take into consideration the theme of the occasion, who I’m playing for, crowd size, where I’m playing, what time I play… there are so many factors that can influence a specific performance. I also enjoy translating this creativity in my style and dress, and I’m not gonna lie I have help on this front!
What makes or breaks a DJ set?
How well you know your music. You have to have complete mastery of your library and know it inside out like a map in your mind. When you’re in the middle of playing your set, it’s like you get thrown into a sand storm of distraction: people, alcohol, emotions, lights, dancing… And if you want to take your listeners with you on that incredible journey, you have to be able to do it with your eyes closed and get them through that chaos of moving parts. You have to be strong in those fundamentals before you can take off and fly.
Any music guilty pleasures?
I’m afraid I only listen to binaural beats outside of work!
For you as a DJ, how does the redesigned Cassio compare to the old? Has it changed the vibe at all?
Yes of course, the new design essentially puts music at the heart of the club, which reflects the ethos of the brand itself.
What are you working on next?
There’s definitely a lot on my plate. Cassio brought me to Hong Kong to help shape both the venue and city as a leading electronic music destination. I’m working with the brand to bring in the best global talent the likes of Guy Gerber and Bedouin, as well as grow local talent from the pool we have here. I also make sure to keep the Hong Kong-Greece connection alive and strong because there are so many concepts from Mykonos we could adapt to the burgeoning Asian market and vice versa. I really look forward to building more synergy there when the borders reopen. Finally, I’m excited about the music project I’m working on with my partner Anegronos under the name Blaq Theory. We’re doing a few remixes at the moment, plus some of our own tracks we’re about to release soon. Stay tuned!