In Their Thousands - Win fires band’s ambition

“Music has no restrictions, it’s free and it’s fluid and it has no borders”

“Music has no restrictions, it’s free and it’s fluid and it has no borders”

Melodies and lyrics can cultivate and change the way a generation thinks during recessive times and this school of thinking is one which “In their Thousands” are certainly a part of.

The group have emerged as winners of the Guinness Arthur’s Day – Play On The Day competition 2012 and are heading into 2013 with fire and ambition.

The quartet is made up of brothers Declan and Aidan McClafferty from Downings, cousin Ruairi Friel from Fanad and Liam Kelly from Rathmullan. “It was a really tough call for the judges,” Niall Stokes, Editor of Hot Press said, “but In Their Thousands were absolutely brilliant. The feeling among the judges was that this is a band with huge international potential. They are superb musicians making a truly original and epic noise.”

Speaking from his home yesterday afternoon, Declan McClafferty said the recent win has further focused the band’s intentions and ambition and they hope to have their next EP finished in the very near future followed by another EP next year. Their first two EPs “In their thousands” and “Cellar” have been very well received and have amassed and increased an extremely loyal fan base.

“The first EP was called “In their thousands” and that was launched in Rathmullan House in February,” Declan said.

“We wanted to do something different with our second EP which was called “Cellars” which represented a type of underground movement. We were not sure what to do for this launch but we knew we wanted to inspire thought. So, we decided to sell tickets to people and ask them to get on a bus from Letterkenny.

“I suppose what we were trying to do was to show people that music doesn’t have to be enjoyed in a venue. It can be enjoyed anywhere, it isn’t conventional. Music has no restrictions, it’s free and it’s fluid and it has no borders so we set about achieving the same thing with the location for the second launch,” he said.

The group found a shed in Fanad and began to peel back the layers. They stripped it bare, down to the bricks and the mortar and than hung a big black heavy stage curtain along the inside walls.

“We got hold of a shed in Fanad and we gutted it. We had a bonfire and people brought their own drink and everyone enjoyed the night. There was absolutely no hassle. The bus left Letterkenny at 8pm and returned to Letterkenny by 12. We went to the green room in Voodoo then and we enjoyed an after party there. We were happy with it, if you put the effort in you can achieve what you want,” he said.

In its infancy the band would have been well known on the music circuit. Like many other aspiring musicians the band did cover versions of the greats, such as, Rory Gallagher and Thin Lizzy in the beginning. It then metamorphosed into heavier rock. As time passed, the band evolved once again to become what it is today. The sound is now created by themselves with soft influences from mellower music that incites thought.

From an early age, 25-year-old Declan knew that he wanted to spend his life working with music, The McClafferty household was one of music and song as Declan strummed on his guitar and brother Aidan played his drums.

“We all know each other so well. You can nearly second guess what they are going to say when you come up with something. We have all been around each other so long that you know what to expect on their part and they know what to expect on your part. All of this helps the music and keeps the sound tight,” he said.

Unlike many other bands on the circuit “In their thousands” think outside the box. When they consider what kind of sound and lyrics they are going to produce they all come up with their own ideas which may stem from the abstract to deep political ideology.

“Songwriting is one of the only places that you can get away with the freedom to speak. You have to consider people like Woodie Guthrie and Bob Dylan, political movements and music are intertwined and we appreciate that,” he said.

Band members are accomplished in their areas of study with Aidan having a Masters in Engineering and Contract Management and Ruairi is in the midst of securing a Masters in Geopolitical Science from University College Dublin (UCD).

“Ruairi came up with the name of the band. We received a call from Belfast. The guy on the other side was interested in us because he knew we wrote our own music. Just when I was about to go he said ‘hang on a minute. What are you called?.’ I said ‘Hang on, I will have to call you back,” Declan said.

All the band members disappeared with a sheet of white paper and a pen and began to think. When they all came together a little while later, Ruairi had the name “In their Thousands” penned on top of his sheet of paper and everyone liked it and agreed that the three words would title their band.

The band members agree on most things. When it comes to writing lyrics and music their easy-going natures ease and oil the tensions that grinds other bands to a halt.

“You go away and you have your own idea. When we all come to the table, we all thrash it out. There is never any particular plan or rhyme or reason for why things work and why other things don’t work. But we all share the same singular, collective thought that things have to be done and we just sit down and get it done. You have a complete blank canvas and there is no right or wrong,” he said.

This summer the band is hoping to hit the festival scene. “Around a year ago we nailed our colours to the mast. We had been gigging since our teens and had been penning things for quite a while so we decided to just go for it. The plan for the year was to have four EPs out. The thought process behind the four EPs was that once something was done we would have to move onto the next step and start again so at all times there was a focus and an end goal,” he said.

Each of the four EPs has an individual cover that when put together with the other three compromises a full piece of art. The idea is almost a mirror of the band itself which is made up of four individual members which make up the quartet that is “In their Thousands.”

Fans can expect another launch after Christmas and next summer. Next winter will see band members penning more wonderful songs which will make up a much anticipated album in Donegal.

And if you’re in or around Letterkenny over Christmas, you can catch the band play An Grianan Theatre on Thursday night, December 27th.

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Live editorial team any time. To contact Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press, email To contact Donegal Post, email To contact Inish Times, email

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