Whenever DJ Akshen steps behind a pair of record decks, he tends to become a tempest of motion befitting his moniker. Such is the case on a recent morning in his Arcadia home, where the veteran turntablist is busy painting a small side room with a slew of scratching over the orchestral heroism of the theme to 1978's Superman.
As his mix slides into the pounding thrum of drum 'n' bass and then a remix of Pharoahe Monch's signature track, "Simon Says," Akshen's hands are a blur over two Technics SL-1210 turntables, a Rane controller, and his MacBook Pro as he adjusts levels, changes pitches, and cues up clips. Every so often, he either frantically wipes his hands onto his black shorts to deal with any sweat disrupting his flow or throws his arms in the air as if he were hyping a crowd.
At this particular moment, Akshen is performing for an audience of one. But on Thursday night, he'll serve up this same 15-minute mix in front of packed houses during the national finals of the Red Bull Thre3Style.