For as many disheartening tales of love and art that are out there, there are just as many of triumph, but those stories are rarely heralded. We’d rather revel in the Yoko Onos than the happy, supportive relationships that exist, where they help each other grow. That’s where one Las Vegas couple comes in, setting the gold standard for what love and hip-hop can really be.
Producer and rapper Stephan Perren, better known as Trade Voorhees, has served as the metronome of the city for many of the last 15 years. Trade has released 21 projects of his own (both vocal and instrumental) and has had a hand in the work of countless other artists throughout the valley and beyond. His creative production takes on an identity of its own, mixing in horror aspects without plummeting into gimmick territory. But his role as the allegorical Kanye West of Las Vegas hasn’t gone to his head, which may be in part due to the grounding presence of his wife, Amy.
Amy, also known as Amy Voorhees, served as the executive producer for Trade’s latest project, Saturday IV, which dropped October 14. This fourth installment in his Saturday the 14th series shows newfound maturity weaved into his trademark horror-infused concepts. A great deal of that maturity can likely be credited to Amy, who not only executive produced the album but contributed two beats. And though she’s had more of an official presence on this project, she’s had an impact on him and his music for years.
The pair met in Amy’s hometown of Long Beach, California when a mutual friend introduced them. They kept contact through the preferred social media of the time: MySpace.
“Music was the connection,” Amy says with a smile.
Both grew up with a strong musical foundation. Almost immediately, Trade asked her opinion on production, sending her beats as he created them. She kept them stored on an old iPod, one that she still has. “I pull it out every now and then and say, ‘Hey, remember when you sent me this beat?’”
Trade grins. “It’s not the best, but [it’s] timepiece type stuff. It brings back memories of when we first met,” he says.
This past August the couple decided to transition Amy’s appreciation for music into active participation. Trade started showing her the beat making ropes on his MPC, documenting some of their sessions as a YouTube series called Amy Voorhees Makes Beats. She took to it instantly.
“Music has always been in my life. Now that I’m able to participate in it, it’s super cool,” Amy says.
Trade doesn’t seem at all concerned with the attention that Amy is receiving for her new craft. “It’s crazy the amount of people that are responding to the two beats on the album,” he says proudly. “She’s learning really quick! When I was starting I was nowhere as good as her.”
“I see a lot of my creativity come to light. He helps me get it out,” Amy says.
The support is reciprocal. As he assists in her newfound creative endeavors, she continues to help him in reaching new heights. Her influence is apparent in Saturday IV, not only through contributing production, but in Trade’s artistic growth.
“I encouraged him to do more life songs. Because he’s known for more horror stuff, I told him that he should do something that everyone could relate to,” she says.
This is most apparent in the heartful and emotional track, “Jason,” created for his close friend Jason Marshall who succumbed to Leukemia earlier this year. But the rest of the album has a similar vulnerability that hasn’t been as prevalent in his past projects, even if the stories aren’t personal.
“A lot of the songs on the album, as self-reflective as they are, aren’t about me,” he says. And although Amy has helped shape much of his growth, like any artist, he still finds inspiration in the retreat.
“I put myself in solitary confinement of the mind, and [it] allows me to get out where I can think of weird shit,” Trade says. “It’s like a different form of meditation; I let my mind run wild with ideas. Sometimes it’s experience, like with ‘Jason.’”
The couple, who celebrated their first wedding anniversary on October 30, were wed by the grim reaper at Viva Las Vegas chapel dressed as Frankenstein and the bride of Frankenstein. To celebrate their first year as a married couple, Trade bought Amy her very own MPC 1000, so they can create side by side. “I’m hands-on. I learn differently. I have to physically do it myself,” Amy says.
They both enjoy playing with the macabre, but they each epitomize a different side of the spectrum: Trade taking the dark while Amy embodies the light. Their balance as a couple is exactly why they motivate each other creatively. Like any good harmony, they each found their octave and they stick to it.
“We’re best friends. This is my road dog right here,” Trade says, beaming.