DJ Sofa King Evil and DJ Lillie Smalls met cute in an AOL chatroom in the late ’90s and discovered they had a mutual love of music. But it would take them more than a decade to meet in real life for their first date. Since then, they’ve gotten married and become DJs. Together, they host “Meet the Evils” every month at MJQ Concourse in Virginia-Highland. Let’s meet them and also take a listen to their special In the Mix playlist – Outkast, Gucci Mane, Omeretta the Great, Prince, and Rage Against the Machine! – created just for Intown.
How did you two meet and what’s it like being a husband-and-wife DJ duo?
DJ Lillie Smalls: We met as teenagers in a “Bored ATLiens” chat room on AOL in 1999. We had so much in common, we loved talking about music and telling each other jokes. Over the years, we kept in touch through Asian Avenue, Friendster, Xanga, MySpace, and Facebook. We didn’t actually meet up until 2011 when we went on our first date. Our first date lasted a whole day: we ate lunch at Figo on Edgewood, watched a movie at Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema, and then walked around Piedmont Park quoting our favorite DMX lyrics.
DJ Sofa King Evil: Being a husband-wife duo has been interesting. It definitely has its benefits, we share music, club intel, and gear. We cover each other’s gigs and we also pass gigs to each other. What I like about our dynamic as a team is we feed off each other’s energy, but we also keep each other in check. If I’m messing up, she’s going to check me, I know it’s not personal and it goes both ways. To balance things out we try to do very normal stuff together, like going to Target or the grocery store or Olive Garden.
Your monthly duo spot – Meet the Evils – at MJQ has become a monthly must for the club scene in Atlanta. How did that come about and how do you keep it fresh?
DJ Lillie Smalls: We started DJing together at clubs as something cute for Valentine’s Day. When MJQ opened back up after the pandemic, they asked us both to play that first Saturday. We needed to brand the night and we went with Meet the Evils, taking DJ Sofa King Evil’s last name. We also took it to another level by reenacting our favorite movie and TV posters. To keep the night fresh, we play off of crowd reaction, so no Saturday night is ever the same. Keeping up with trends is a full time job. While we try to stay on top of new music, we also try to think about what is considered a classic or nostalgia for new generations. We like to use classic songs or familiar songs to frame or introduce new music.
DJ Sofa King Evil, you’ve been in the business for many years as a DJ, announcer, and instructor. How did you get your start and what keeps you motivated?
I got my start DJing in high school. One of my school friends was a DJ and we just hung out, helped him carry gear to gigs and pass out flyers in the parking lot. After high school, I attended Clayton State where I helped build their Internet Radio Station. This led me to a gig as a public address announcer for the University’s basketball teams. I never thought I would ever be an instructor, but when Scratch Academy opened up in Atlanta, they reached out to me to join the team. I couldn’t pass up the chance to learn from the DJs I idolized and grew up listening to on the radio, and to also have the privilege to teach the next generation of DJs with them. Passion for music keeps me motivated. I love what I do and who I do it for – that is what keeps me going.
4. DJ Lillie Smalls, you’ve got a graduate degree in management and finance. What do those skills bring to your business and your work as a DJ?
I think what made me a great business analyst also helped me be successful with our DJ business. As a business analyst, I would take a lot of time to understand the requirements and the process before scoping out a project – DJing is no different. Before every gig, I like to understand what the audience would want to hear and if there are any events to build towards. I also think I read a DJ crowd in the same way I would read a room in the office, knowing when to and how to present issues in a meeting. I DJ by sensing what the crowd wants to hear and understanding their energy before introducing songs into a space.
When you’re not spinning, where do you both like to hang out to listen to music?
DJ Sofa King Evil: We were homebodies before the pandemic, we’re even more homebodies now! While Twitch, Zoom, and other live streaming platforms make it more convenient to check out what other DJs are playing around the world, we always try to find time to support our friends locally. If they’re throwing a party somewhere or throwing down in the kitchen, we will pull up. You can’t really get away from music in the city. We are lucky to be in a city where the music is great everywhere you go – from Philips Arena to the hair salon, real ATLiens know what sounds good. Gotta love Atlanta.
Be sure to follow #MeetTheEvils on social and check out their website at www.tedmc.co.