Alex Nude, on Hong Kong’s music scene and opening space for more artistic talent

Lights flash across dancers pushing damp hair from their eyes as a sheen of sweat forms across their moving torsos, encapsulated by sweet music. This is Alex Nude.

Tiny spectral lanterns glint over the ceiling of the nightclub. Deep green and lavished gold art deco-style panels line the walls. The air is thick but refreshing, the scent of sweet perfume and pheromones emanating from partygoers. Hair is let down. Sleeves are rolled up. Glasses clink. Guards are dropped as the space between strangers closes, lips moving centimeters from one another’s curious ears. The essence of the crowd is intoxicating.

A DJ works tactfully on his turntable. An exotic tune with melodic arrangements and a deep bass pumps through the speakers. A female voice cuts through the tunes, singing a solo in a language unknown to many. The DJ oscillates to the music, setting a precedent of passion and animation for his audience to model. He is a conductor to an orchestra of strangers united by the night and the rhythm he has conjured. Hearts flutter on the dance floor. Arms raise to the escalation of the beat. Today, the DJ is transporting the partygoers out of Hong Kong and across to the Aegean Sea. Lights flash across dancers pushing damp hair from their eyes as a sheen of sweat forms across their moving torsos, encapsulated by sweet music. This is Alex Nude.

Raw beginnings

Alex Nude Hong Kong
Source: Alex Nude

Alex Karageorgiou’s discovery of mixing came from an unexpected turn of family business events. After his father unexpectedly inherited shares of a nightclub, the teenage Karageorgiou himself acquired the spare mixers and turntables. With an already budding interest in electronic music, experimenting with new tunes and collecting vinyl, young Karageorgiou would be able to start getting to know the art form. 

“I ended up meeting a really nice person at the record shop,” he reminisces. “He was showing me what to listen to, what to get … at some point, he knew my collection, and he said, ‘Why don't you work with me, do the warmups at this new club venue that opened?’” And just like that, during Christmas of 1999, Karageorgiou was playing in front of crowds. 

Karageorgiou’s family never opposed his budding success. “I had a lot of freedom, and they gave me a lot of trust,” he explains, of his dynamics with his parents growing up. “The venue that I started playing in was very underground at the time. Of course, a lot of drugs were there, but I had no idea; I was super young.” With a background in athletics, specifically high jumping, Karageorgiou knew to take care of his health. He never had much interest in involving himself with drinking or smoking, so a strong trust was built between him and his father. No questions were asked, and so Karageorgiou carried himself as he was expected to. 

As the months rolled by, his popularity grew, and larger gigs started showing up – so did his need for a stage name. When asked where his stage name came from, he cracks a cheeky smile. “I won some bets when I was really young that included me being naked,” he laughs. “Like, go on the balcony and say ‘hi’ to the neighbors, stuff like this … And I was winning those bets. They knew I was going to do it!” So when the gig managers asked Karageorgiou for his stage name, a close friend of his didn't give him a choice. It had to be Alex Nude. 

Passion for the beat

Alex Nude Hong Kong
Source: Alex Nude

At the core of Nude’s style is House music – the type of music, as he explains, that plays at club venues. “It used to be called ‘four-to-the-floor,’ because it’s like, four beats and repeat, and repeat,” he describes the dance rhythm pattern that was popularized during the 1970s disco era. But now things have changed with electronic music. DJs mix with a variety of elements ranging from vocals that are melodic but linguistically incomprehensible to hypnotic tracks that mesmerize listeners. For Nude, he describes his current sounds to be heavily inspired by African beats, Anatolian rhythms and percussion-heavy sounds.

When asked what he loves the most about DJing, Nude has many reasons. “First of all, I like music, and I really like digging into music. It’s a daily thing that I do for many years,” he reflects. But it’s more than that. For him, it’s a sort of meditation. For a moment, reality stops, and he is fully engulfed in the creation of his music. “It’s healthy for your mind and keeps you sane,” he says. “So [it] creates a happiness at that moment and somehow you feel better to deal with whatever comes after.” 

“I really enjoy creating stories about mixing different tracks,” he says. “I think that DJing is also an art that you create an extra track in between the previous and the next one. Whilst you mix them … It's an extra two minutes for the audience. It's something coming, and it's just for that moment because it doesn't [previously] exist.” Nude plays with different aspects of the music, including acapella, in order to create something unique that the crowd would have never listened to before. The creative process entices the musically curious DJ to create for his audience.

Finally, it’s the connection with the crowd. “It makes you feel really good when you see people react on something that you choose … and you're happy and excited to show it,” he says with a glitter in his eye. Nude describes the moment when the whole room finds affinity with the music and each other – creating a collective belonging and coming together to the high vibrational sounds of his creative decision.

Coming to Cassio

Alex Nude Hong Kong
Source: Alex Nude

“They invited me,” Nude says simply. When the team of Gilbert Yeung, the mastermind behind some of Hong Kong’s more revered nightclubs, called Nude about opening a new clubbing venue, he knew that this was an opportunity that couldn't be missed. Meetings were set up, blueprints were shared, concepts were revealed, and Nude was on a plane heading toward Hong Kong which would be his home for the next three months.

Nude speaks endearingly about his experience working with Yeung and his team. The more time they spent together, the more he could understand what Yeung had in mind to create. But that didn't limit his own creativity, as he felt the freedom to voice his own opinions and experiences as well. And although they had their moments of disagreement, they finally reached an agreement. “I was working with venues like this, but it’s the first venue where I felt  like it was my venue. I really invested time and effort on this,” he says, expressing heartfelt gratitude for Yeung’s trust in him.

Although Nude’s time at Cassio was only meant to be for a few months, three years later, he found himself back at the venue. 

Balancing it out

Alex Nude Hong Kong
Source: Alex Nude

Nude sees himself as a morning person, so he admits that the constant late nights can get pretty exhausting. He admits that although he tries to limit his late nights to twice a week, as the music director, he helps out the venue as much as needed. “I think it’s important to deal with all this madness that you receive at night, to be healthy. I need a routine during that day … so that I can prepare myself to deal with that,” he explains. 

As an introvert, Nude finds importance in creating space and moments of peace for himself to recharge. Good sleep. Good rest. Healthy habits. All of that allows him to perform at his best. But it’s not only performance that he emphasizes. “It’s also taking care of the crowd that is there for you,” he says. And he admits that it was a learning process. “I wasn't doing it right for many years because I was only focusing on myself. I wasn't communicating well.” Things are different now, as he has learned that despite his naturally quieter nature, if he wants to stay in the music scene, being social isn't just advised but required. 

From yoga and pilates to breathing techniques and racket sports, Nude has dabbled in different ways to balance his lifestyle. “The more you take care of your body, the more you help your mind as well,” he says. “Then you can deal [with situations] with a better attitude.” 

The cry of love

Alex Nude Hong Kong
Source: Alex Nude

Cri d’Amour is a project that Nude is currently pouring his heart into. Alongside friends and colleagues, Coco, Yasmine and Ash, they set out to create a platform for the artistic community – a free space for artists to express themselves freely and showcase who they truly are and what they have to offer. The aim of this space, as Nude explains to us, is to allow young local artists who might otherwise not have the contacts or the connections to mingle and explore with other members of the artistic world. Two events have happened so far, and there are many more planned – both within Hong Kong and in other cities.

Not only is Cri d’Amour a platform, but it’s a way for Nude and his co-founders to give back. “See it from my side,” he says. “We have to give something back because somehow, people can say we are privileged here. They invited us … but I'm not from here. There are other people who are from here … but they don’t get the chance.” 

Cri d’Amour is a night filled with openness, freedom, exploration and vibes. Nude encourages all artists to venture into the events and just be themselves – to exist in the sensibility of their artistry. There are no rules that night, no dress code, no barriers – only messes, experiments and beautiful mistakes.