Nymphs & Thugs are thrilled to announce that we’re working with our first-ever Irish poet. Stephen James Smith is highly-acclaimed on both sides of the water, and we’ve teamed up with Reckless Records in Ireland to co-release his debut album ‘See No Evil‘.

The album will be released digitally on 1 April, with the single ‘I’ve Had Lovers’ released on 11 March. There’ll also be a vinyl release later in the year – provisionally planned for autumn 2022. Stephen’s album release is being supported by a tour of the UK & Ireland over the coming months.

The 9 track album was recorded during lockdown in County Wexford, after Stephen found himself moving down from Dublin during the pandemic. This presented the opportunity to work with Gavin Glass in Orphan Recording Studios. Stephen was awarded the Music Industry Stimulus Package under the Recording Stimulus fund to help with the making of the album, which is produced and composed by Gareth Quinn Redmond.

Stephen James Smith UK & Ireland tour dates

This album is a culmination of years of work and a chance meeting. I was never really sure what ‘sound’ I wanted to have underscore my poetry. I’ve so many influences from trad, folk and hip-hop – and then I met Gareth, and instantly we had a bond and he ‘got’ what I was trying to do. I’m a bit more restrained in my performance than I ordinarily would be on this album, but Gareth’s music helps to bring the emotional intensity I would aim for as a solo performer. So, the opportunity to collaborate on a longer-form project like this was just brilliant. I learned so much and I’m happy with what we created. In some ways I care how this is received – what we’ve done means a lot to me – but in others, I couldn’t care less. We did what we set out to do and now it’s up to the album to find its way in the world.

Stephen James Smith

We’re really excited to add Stephen to our roster of artists and expand our work into Ireland and Northern Ireland over the next few years as a result.

Our new project is our most ambitious to date and underlines our core aim when it comes to social and political issues. The ‘Disarm Hate x Poetry’ project has seen us commission 16 of the world’s leading LGBTQ poets to respond to the ‘Disarm Hate‘ documentary. The resulting album will be released digitally on 12 June, which marks five years since the Orlando massacre.

The poems will be interspersed with interview excerpts from the documentary, which feature on Ralph Stevens’ soundtrack album. We’ve worked in partnership with Rugged Entertainment in LA to create this as an official response to the documentary and are immensely proud and honoured to have been given this opportunity.

The album, entitled ‘We Will Keep On‘, will also be released on 2LP gatefold vinyl later in the summer. Both the vinyl and digital release are available to pre-order here. And thanks to some funding from Arts Council England, we’re able to split the profits between Contigo Fund in Florida and Stonewall UK. It’s vital to us that as much of this project as possible goes back into the LGBTQ community.

Our 16 poets are: Afshan D’souza LodhiAndrés Nicolás OrdoricaAndrew McMillanAntonia Jade KingBuddy WakefieldDean AttaElla OtomewoEmanuel XavierJoelle TaylorKay Ulanday BarrettKeith Jarrettlisa luxxOli SpleenOllie O’NeillPatrizia Longhitano, and Reece Lyons.

The ‘Disarm Hate x Poetry’ project

We’ll be hosting some free virtual workshops with poets featured on the album. The first two are linked to a call-out for audio submissions, and the second two will be linked to a call-out for written submissions. For now, you can read more about the project in my latest The State of The Arts column.

The Orlando massacre sent shockwaves through the LGBTQ community. We wanted this album to represent a cross-section of that community and to hopefully provide a valuable contribution to the dialogue. It’s a major landmark for LGBTQ people around the globe and we’re overwhelmed by our poets’ final pieces.

A huge thank you to everybody that’s helped to make this a reality. Stay tuned for more…