Hannah Martin: the hidden secrets of the LA music scene

Music has always been a massive source of inspiration for jewellery designer Hannah Martin. After graduating from Central Saint Martins and then cutting her teeth in Paris at Cartier, she set up her eponymous own line in London in 2006 for which she has created hundreds of high-end pieces, many of them imbued with the sensibility of rock’n’roll. Her collection A New Act of Rebellion features classic punk motifs such as gold safety pins and luxurious bolts, and was launched with a video featuring Jehnny Beth of post-punk band Savages. We talked to Hannah about a particular source of inspiration for her – the alternative Los Angeles music scene – and the best places to experience it.


One of the joyous things about LA is that the historic venues haven’t shut down, like so many of them have in London. I love going to see a gig, knowing that, say, The Doors played on the same stage. Of the old venues, the Troubadour is my favourite. It has got rock’n’roll history in the walls. I went to a Yeah Yeah Yeahs gig there. It’s a great place to watch a band like them, as it’s dark and dirty but not dingy. American crowds get a bit of a bad rep for not really getting involved but I’ve never been to a gig at the Troubadour that hasn’t had an amazing atmosphere. They pack the crowds in, which I know some people don’t like, but I love it. 


Troubador, Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood

The Greek Theatre 

The Greek Theatre is obviously a super-famous venue but it’s a completely amazing place to see live music. It’s up in Griffith Park, in the hills overlooking the city. The venue is an amphitheatre and the seats are all outside, which weather-wise isn’t a problem most of the time in LA. I’ve seen Morrissey play there and the experience of being there is pretty magical; when the sun goes down you can see the sky full of stars. It’s a very LA kind of place that makes you feel like you’re in a film.


The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles


Zebulon is a really cool little venue in Glendale. It’s small, dark, always packed and has a great sound system. The last time I was there was to see Sextile, who I think are one of the best bands playing at the minute. They play punk and electronica all mixed into one, and the energy level of their live shows is off the charts. Zebulon is great at booking acts that really blow the roof off.


Fletcher Dr, Los Angeles

Sunset Marquis hotel

The Sunset Marquis isn’t a gig venue, obviously, but it’s still a key part of the LA music scene. Every big band stays there when they’re in town. You sit down by the pool and look over your shoulder and there’s Robert Plant two loungers down. The hotel has got its own recording studio and there’s a snug bar called Bar 1200, which has an amazing jukebox. You’ll probably find half of the Red Hot Chili Peppers sitting at the bar. I go in there on my own and always end up chatting to someone, who’ll turn out to be the manager of Green Day or whatever. It’s one of those places where crazy shit happens in a really good way. 


Alta Loma Rd, West Hollywood

Buy Hannah’s jewellery at hannahmartinlondon.com, or visit her studio at 74a Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5QA

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