Zoo Animal frontwoman Holly Hansen has had quite the last eight years, but now feels it’s time to close the Zoo Animal chapter of her life. This Saturday, Dec. 12, Zoo Animal will play their final performance: at the Amsterdam Bar & Hall’s 4th Anniversary party, alongside Bruise Violet and Swimsuit Area. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. doors) and tickets are $8.
“Zoo Animal was a vision I had in my early 20s, and I’m just about to turn 30,” Hansen says. “That was a purposeful time, but I need to move on from that.”
Over the last eight years, Zoo Animal have put out three full-length albums and have taken many different forms, with the only consistent aspect being Hansen herself. Though Zoo Animal have been playing live shows with the same lineup for the last three years, Hansen says putting out an album with that lineup “just never came together” due to time constraints.
“I feel like I’m looking at a house I built and it’s very satisfying” said Hansen. “All of the relationships I’ve built over the last eight years are completely invaluable. I just feel like I have an amazing group of people in my life that I can look to for inspiration, and I wouldn’t have that without playing in Zoo Animal for all those years.”
While the ending of Zoo Animal is bittersweet, Hansen says she is looking forward to having more time to hone her craft and become a better player and songwriter. Now that she’s cut out all of the day jobs where she can’t leave work at the door, she has the time she’s wanted to focus more on her music. “It’s like I’ve got my playground back that I had when I was 19 in my mom’s basement.”
Hansen’s also excited to have more musical freedom now that she can move somewhere different with her songwriting. Lately, she’s been listening to more classical and jazz music, dabbling in electronic, and learning more about music theory.
“I’ve been using the same set of words for so long — and I mean that in a musical sense — that a lot of what I want to do is just study and listen a lot, and I want to absorb more information […] so that the next thing I make, it feels like not only did I say something, but I said it really well.”
Hansen says “it seems very fitting” for Zoo Animal to be playing their final show at the Amsterdam, since she’s worked with the venue’s owners — Jon and Jarret Oulman — for a long time. One of her first sound engineering jobs was at their 331 Club, and when they opened the Amsterdam, she was on her hands and knees cleaning carpet glue off of the concrete floors.
“The music world ebbs and flows and when something ends, you know something else is going to happen,” says Hansen. “Something’s always rolling into something new, and I think it’s kind of perfect that it’s a farewell and an anniversary show.”
For more on the history of Zoo Animal, see band member Matt Latterell’s detailed reminisces on Facebook.
Mackenzie Martin is a podcast enthusiast and senior at Macalester College, where she majors in media & cultural studies.