Peek inside the new studio Holly Hansen's building in a Minnesota country church


Holly Hansen in 2018.
Holly Hansen in 2018. (via Zoo Animal on Facebook)

Holly Hansen is a musical artist known for her work as Zoo Animal and, until lockdown, her t.e.e. live series at the 331 Club. She connected with Jay Gabler on Instagram live to talk about what she's been doing and experiencing in recent months.

"I'm actually in a former country church in Sebeka, Minnesota," Hansen explained. "My wife and I bought this a long time ago for very cheap and we're trying to rehab it so I can turn it into a place for people to record."

Hansen's also been running a (finished) studio called Salon, where she's been using her skills as a mix engineer with bands including Underviolet and Nat Harvie. "The work I'm doing is resonating with me," she said. "It's life-changing, actually."

She's also just released a new split cassette of house music — her duo Pat and Terry (with Zack Warpinski) on one side, Nat Harvie and Brent Penny (with a guest appearance from Alan Sparhawk) on the other — but Hansen hasn't been pursuing any live performances in recent months. "I would say I'm on the conservative side of COVID protocol," she said.

Even when shows do happen, typically outdoors this fall, venues can't operate at their typical capacity. "I'm scared," said Hansen regarding venues' dire financial situations. "I'm scared for what we're going to lose — especially some of the littler venues that, I feel like, really foster the true community aspect of music."

Hansen said she's also helped mix two songs released as part of a project called the Art of the Revolution, spearheaded by Taylor Seaberg: a series of "backyard concerts in response to the murder of George Floyd" that's now leading to videos and an album. Many of the artists involved, she said, "are voices that we don't hear very often, that aren't being elevated."

Watch the full interview below, and stay posted for more information on the new northwest Minnesota studio. "My wife and I just love working on houses and fixing stuff, and this is such a fun way to do it. If we break something, we're the only people it's going to bother!"

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