There are certain non-metal bands that just have that darkness that still attracts those in the metal world and Depeche Mode often tops that list. During the pandemic, metal producer-songwriter Libra sought to pay homage to the recently minted Rock and Roll Hall of Famers by covering one of their songs and inviting other Depeche Mode loving metallers to take part. The result is an epic, orchestral sounding take on the track “It Doesn’t Matter Two.”
As can be seen in the video, the pandemic didn’t dampen the passion to take part as this cover turned into a global collaboration with musicians chipping in from around the world. In addition to Libra, who sings and plays drums on the cover, this collective features My Dying Bride’s Shaun MacGowan and vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe, Apocalyptica’s Eicca Toppinen, vocalist Anneke Van Giersbergen, Paradise Lost’s Aaron Aedy, Moonspell’s Don Aires Pereira, Type O Negative and Silvertomb’s Kenny Hickey, Athanasia and former Five Finger Death Punch member Caleb Bingham and Within Temptation’s Ruud Jolie.
“Since I was a kid, Depeche Mode has been one of the biggest influences of my musical development,” Libra explains. “So I chose, and completely re-arranged, one of my favorite songs, called ‘It Doesn’t Matter Two’ from the album Black Celebration. I only invited artists who I respect, admire and even some of my personal heroes. I honestly felt I would be really lucky if only one of them agreed to be part of this project. So you can imagine how I felt when, one by one, almost everyone I invited replied saying yes (most of them without even knowing who I was), simply after hearing the demo I sent.”
Anneke van Giersbergen said of the experience, “Working with this group of amazing musicians on a song by one of my favorite bands has been truly amazing, especially in times like these.”
Apocalyptica’s Eicca Toppinen added, “I immediately got very excited about this project when Libra contacted me. During this lockdown it felt so nice to get connected with cool artists around the world. All musicians are in the same situation during these weird times, no matter where you live. The original song is great and I loved Libra’s arrangement and the passionate way of working on this project. The song turned out great and it is wonderful how the video shows the way we were able to be together even with the distance. Music has power!”
Athanasia’s Caleb Bingham recalled, “When Libra sent it to me, I was impressed by his ability to take a classic Depeche Mode song and completely reinvent it into something all his own. Now, with all of this top tier talent on top of what was already a killer song, I think we’ve created a monster!”
My Dying Bride’s Aaron Stainthorpe chipped in, “Believe it or not but I was actually a member of the Depeche Mode Fan Club way back when Violator was released. I adored the band and was the only person wearing a Depeche Mode sweatshirt in the notorious rock bar The Frog & Toad in Bradford. My Dying Bride also used a piece of music by DM as an intro to their gigs on one of their tours but my age won’t allow me to recall which piece. When Libra asked me if I’d be interested in taking part in this project, a ‘yes’ was inevitable and I thoroughly enjoyed my little moment when, just for a short time, I was actually in Depeche Mode.”
Paradise Lost’s Aaron Aedy too expressed his fandom, stating, “The prospect of doing a Depeche Mode cover (a band I’ve loved since buying the ‘People Are People’ single, aged 14) purely for the joy of making music, seemed like the perfect distraction during a time of seemingly mostly bad news. I agreed, then upon hearing the bare bones version, was pleasantly surprised how good it was, even at that very early stage.”
The track was produced, arranged and mixed by Libra at 13Eighteen Studio in Hollywood and mastered by the legendary engineer Ted Jensen (Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, David Bowie, Madonna), at Sterling Sound Studios in New York.
“The whole experience of having such talented artists trusting my vision was a wake up call, and the final result of this collaboration was a testament to the fact that I did the right thing when I decided to make music again,” stated Libra.
All the artists involved have agreed that proceeds will be donated on their behalf to the International Association for Suicide Prevention. If you like what you hear, this stellar version of Depeche Mode’s “It Doesn’t Matter Two” can be found via the platform of your choosing here.
Libra + Friends, “It Doesn’t Matter Two” (Depeche Mode Lockdown Cover)