Welcome to Nymphs & Thugs

We are an independent spoken word record label established in 2015. Based in Leeds, our aim is to provide vital and accessible spoken word content at the heart of the UK’s thriving scene.

Nymphs & Thugs merchandise

As well as digital albums, we’ve released CDs, vinyl, zines, t-shirts, pin badges, tote bags and limited edition prints. We also produce national spoken word tours and ‘LIVEwire’ events around the UK.

Our Twitter feed provides news and content from around the globe. And our Instagram feed features poetry excerpts from around the globe as well as weekly 30-minute Insta sessions with guest poets.

The Nymphs & Thugs journey so far…

Nymphs & Thugs was formed in spring 2015 by Matt Abbott, after a meeting in Manchester with indie music label Heist Or Hit Records. N&T was initially formed as an imprint on Heist Or Hit.

The label became public in the autumn of 2015, with a double release for Louise Fazackerley. Her ‘Bird St.‘ and ‘Love Is A Battlefield‘ albums are now available as part of a 2CD ‘Council House Poetry‘ album. These were followed by Matt Abbott’s ‘Skint & Demoralised’ album.

Nymphs & Thugs | Toria Garbutt ‘Makeover’

2016 saw Toria Garbutt‘s debut album ‘Hot Plastic Moon‘ released after a successful crowd-funding campaign.

Salena Godden‘s ‘LIVEwire‘ followed in spring 2017 and was shortlisted for the prestigious Ted Hughes Award. The album came out on 2LP gatefold vinyl, CD and zine, and was supported by a DIY UK tour.

Nymphs & Thugs | Salena Godden ‘That’s All We Had, Dad’

A fifth artist was signed in spring 2018, with the co-release of ‘Experience Essential‘ by Kevin P. Gilday & The Glasgow Cross, in partnership with Iffy Folk Records. The album is available on vinyl and CD.

Autumn saw Matt Abbott release the studio album of his ‘Two Little Ducks‘ show after a 22-date UK theatre tour, and Salena Godden release a ‘Live at Byline Festival EP‘.

Nymphs & Thugs | Luke Wright ‘The Lay-bys and Bypasses’

2019 saw us sign a sixth artist to our label, with poetry powerhouse Luke Wright releasing his ‘Twenty‘ album on 2LP gatefold vinyl and download, to mark two decades of performing poetry on stage.

In the summer, we announced our biggest series of ‘LIVEwire’ events to date. These included regional dates in Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and Colchester, plus a Leeds residency and a return to Byline Festival.

Nymphs & Thugs ‘LIVEwire’ Manchester highlights

In April 2020, we celebrated our fifth birthday. With the UK on lockdown, we hosted an online gig which saw all of our artists share a bill for the first time. This inspired a series of weekly Insta sessions – in total we hosted 50 of these from May 2020 to July 2021.

These 50 guests included poets in Palestine, Pakistan, Nigeria, Sweden, and Germany, as well as all over the UK. We also released Salena Godden’s ‘The Lockdown EP‘ in May, with 100% of the profits being donated to NHS Charities Together.

Nymphs & Thugs | 50 Insta sessions
Our 50 Insta sessions from May 2020 – July 2021

In November 2020, we released a single called ‘Birds‘ in collaboration with Tongue Fu. The track features Salena Godden, Vanessa Kisuule and Hollie McNish, and all profits are being donated to Black Minds Matter UK. This continued our label’s core aim of supporting social and political causes through our content and releases, and we were delighted to be able to partner with BMM UK on this release.

Nymphs & Thugs | Birds single release
Nymphs & Thugs x Tongue Fu ‘Birds’ | 13 November 2020

In December, we announced our ‘LIVEwire x Lockdown‘ project which saw four new artists signed to Nymphs & Thugs: Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, Saili Katebe, Kirsty Taylor and Sean Mahoney.

The culmination of this was four tracks which were released as singles on Friday 11 December (available to purchase here). You can watch the online première event on YouTube here.

In 2021, we’re delivering the ‘Disarm Hate x Poetry‘ project. This has seen us commission 16 of the world’s leading LGBTQ poets to write a response to Rugged Entertainment’s 2020 documentary ‘Disarm Hate’. The resulting album was released on 12 June, marking the five-year anniversary of the Orlando massacre.

The ‘Disarm Hate x Poetry’ project