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Adam Brand and Matt Cornell Open Up About Male Toxicity, Mateship & Mental Health

18 April 2023 | 2:12 pm | Mallory Arbour

"If someone is in need, you rally the troops and you do whatever you need to do to get them through their difficult times.”

(Image: Supplied)

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In the latest episode ‘Wearing Your Heart On Your Sleeve’ of The Man That Can Project Podcast, Adam Brand and Matt Cornell discuss the importance of mental health, male toxicity and the inspiration behind their collaborative single, Our Church.

“Before Our Church was a song, it was our weekly catch up with a couple of my close brothers during covid,” recalls Brand. Both being ‘foodies’ who frequently share their culinary skills with social media fans, it was only natural to host the catch ups at cafés all over QLDs Gold Coast.

“We found it was helping us deal with the mental anguish of our industry being on its knees, the work and money we had lost. In particular, I was really struggling,” adds Cornell. “But I found solace in my mates, in our little catch up every week. I’m not a religious man, but I decided to call it Church."

Written with Gavin Carfoot, Linc Phelps, Brook Chivell and Jake Whittaker, Our Church was never intended to be a song about mental health but has become somewhat of an anthem for those who are struggling as well as a call to action.

Brand tells host Lachlan Stuart, “The song is about friends and brothers supporting each other, loving each other. If someone is in need, you rally the troops and you do whatever you need to do to get them through their difficult times.”

Cornell adds, “It was never like, ‘let's write a song about mental health.' We were just expressing ourselves. When I sent Adam the song, he rang me straight away and said, ‘we have to release it, because the song was about us, our journey, the last couple of years.”

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He continues, “It's funny how mental health has been brought up. I've always been very open if I've been struggling and I definitely will reach out to friends, but the last couple of years, I have not tried to hide the fact or mask that I was doing okay because it wasn't and for me it's just it's probably just who I am anyway. I've always been pretty open, and we're worn my heart of my sleeve, but I find comfort in actually being open.”

Cornell joined Brand’s band fourteen years ago. They’ve seen each other through heartbreak, loss, at rock bottom through to their greatest highs and more. This, Cornell says, solidified their friendship, which is something he doesn’t take for granted.

“Adam and I are really close friends, so, in the past, if I open up or say anything, I can guarantee and count on Adam to be really honest to the point where if he thinks that I'm not taking the right path, he'll say that to me and I'd say the same thing to him,” Cornell admits. “I like when you have that relationship with friends where there's no bullsh*t. Say what's on your mind, say how you're feeling.”

The duo then raises concerns over male stereotypes and toxicity, namely the dangerous societal standards set for men and masculine-indefinitely people that affect mental health.

“For whatever reason,” Cornell says. “The way evolution and the way things have happened with men, once upon a time that whole machos stigma which is still very much there but I do feel like the paradigm is shifting that men are starting to talk more, they're starting to open up more and I think sometimes it takes people in the public eye to say, ‘it's okay if you're struggling.’ It’s okay. Let people know what's going on because we know worst case scenario what happens when both men and women feel like they've got no other answer.”

“Our relationship is open. We can talk about anything but the reason why we could talk about anything is because we know we're not going to get the door slammed in our face. I know he's not going to ridicule me for it or he's not going to go you're an idiot,” Brand adds. 

“Maybe, as men, were guilty a bit of that in the past making fun of your mate if he shows a bit of weakness [or] more vulnerability. It's part of our culture, especially Aussie males, that have a go and rib each other," he continues. “When you feel like you mate who you're going to open up to will take it the right way and will support you through it, we will open up more and that's what's beginning to happen.”

They both note the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people.

Brand says, “I would say that's a rule for life in general no matter what you're doing. I surround myself with the amazing human beings and it blesses me, and it keeps me motivated, inspired and being able to do what we do.”

To hear about that, their work-life balance (with special appearance from Brand’s eldest daughter Pepper), long careers, the arts, what they have coming up and more, you can watch the full interview below or listen via your favourite podcast platform.

Keep up to date with everything Adam Brand and follow him on Facebook here.
Keep up to date with everything Matt Cornell and follow him on Facebook here.