4OTF’s Matt Brandes Bounces Back From Cancer to Put on Still Kickin’ Benefit Show [INTERVIEW]

“I just wanted to turn it into a positive any way I could and I thought this was a good way to do it”

4onthefloor 04042018 web 12
4onthefloor 04042018 web 12

Last updated on January 22nd, 2019 at 07:15 am

This Monday, I had the pleasure of chatting with 4onthefloor’s Matt Brandes about his cancer diagnosis back in February, his speedy and fortunate recovery, the many people in his life that continue to be a source of support, and the reason he and his band were inspired to put on a benefit show at the Uptown VFW this Friday for non-profit Still Kickin’.

For those of you who are not familiar, Still Kickin’ is an organization that helps support individuals and families that find themselves in a “what do we do now” kind of situation. Every month they select a “Still Kickin Hero,” share their story of struggle and strength, give them all the proceeds they rake in from selling merch, and also give them all funds raised from a variety of donation-based events held both in the Twin Cities area and around the country.

Fortunately, Matty made it through. After surgery and a blast of chemo last month, he is officially cancer free! However, he was still looking to turn his situation into an even more positive one. So, he hit up Still Kickin’ to see if he could help put on a fundraising event–alongside his bands 4OTF and Sabby White–to raise money for someone who needs it.

That event is this Friday at VFW! All proceeds from ticket and t-shirt sales go to Still Kickin’ and $1 of every Fulton beer sold that night is also donated. Take a look at my chat with Matty below to learn more about his personal story and make sure to snag a ticket to Friday’s show here.

Interview with Matt Brandes from 4onthefloor:

MIM“Hey Matt! How are you doing?”

Matt: “Hey! Not too bad, pretty normal Monday.”

MIM“Haha, yeah. Just getting my act together. So, you guys were coming in from Fargo, back to Minnesota?”

Matt: “Yeah we played in Fargo Friday, at the Aquarium. We actually had our Saturday show canceled and rescheduled. It was a golf event, and the golf course wasn’t in great shape. So, pretty easy weekend as far as music goes. Spent a nice Sunday at home with no travels.”

MIM“Oh, good! You and your family, you are from Minnesota? What area?”

Matt: “Yeah, originally South Minneapolis and then we moved just outside St. Paul in Mendota Heights. Yup, born and bred in the Twin Cities. Never really left.”

MIM“Nice. Love it. It’s great you were able to recuperate over the weekend and see your family. That’s great!”

Matty and his girlfriend Courtney. Photo courtesy of Matt Brandes.

Matt: “Yeah! And actually, when I was in Fargo, my girlfriend and her entire family is up there so it was a lot of spending half my time at the show and then also with her very, very large family. They all came out for the show. So, I was kinda doing double duty on that. I think I fulfilled all my boyfriend duties, haha.”

MIM“Well, thank you for taking the time to chat with me about your upcoming event!”

Matt: “Yeah! Absolutely.”

MIM“And, I actually covered 4onthefloor’s last show… that was April 4th? Yeah! The Turf Club show.”

4onthefloor rocking out at the Turf Club April 4th. Photo by Kathleen Ambre.

Matt: “Oh yeah! The Turf Club, yeah that was a blast.”

MIM“So much fun!”

Matt: “Oh good! Glad you had a good time. What did you think of the Vandoliers?”

MIM“I thought they were great! I had never heard of them before! They were so gracious on stage and they were just having so much fun up there, you could tell. They seem like a good crew.”

Matt: “Yeah they’re good dudes. That was a good run, and sonically it worked for us to play with a country band for a little bit.”

MIM“Yeah! Definitely. And, they’re from Texas?”

4onthefloor rocking out at the Turf Club April 4th. Photo by Kathleen Ambre.

Matt: “Yup! From Dallas, Fort Worth. It’s funny, we’d be on the road and they’d keep telling us they don’t want to be a ‘Texas band.’ But, then they’d be dropping Texas references and wearing cowboy hats and collared, Texas shirts everywhere they go. And I was like, ‘Alright, you can do one thing and say another, I guess. Haha, but it’s part of your identity whether you like it or not.'”

MIM“Haha, oh yeah. They were dressed to the nines, very southern. I noticed that right off the bat.”

Matt: “Yeah, haha.”

MIM“Well, I’d love to ask you more about how you got connected with Still Kickin’. What prompted that partnership for your upcoming show?”

Matt: “Yeah, well I guess the start of the story would be… back in February I was diagnosed with testicular cancer and it was kind of an interesting time. I went to the doctor the morning we were going to leave to go record for like a week down in Iowa. And, the doctor was basically like, ‘Um, you’re leaving right now? You need to come back in the second you’re back in town.’ So, I kind of had a feeling something was up. Ultimately, for me, I was extremely fortunate. I caught it very, very early, successful surgery, it didn’t spread anywhere between surgery and one blast of chemo–which I did after tour. 4onthefloor, we were on tour all of March. So, I was able to wait until the day after that April 4th show to do my chemo. And that was about it for me, as far as treatment goes. Now I’m cancer free and no more doctor’s appointments, for at least six months or so.”

MIM“Wow, that’s amazing.”

“This is my goofy mug last week during what I hope is the only chemotherapy treatment of my life. Between catching the cancer fairly early, having good health insurance, successful surgery, and AMAZING support from my girlfriend, family, bandmates, friends, and coworkers, I’m in good shape. I’m going to be okay.” -Photo courtesy of Matt Brandes.

Matt: “I guess for me, I wanted to do something… throughout the whole process I was extremely fortunate you know from a medical standpoint, obviously, but also I am very fortunate to have good healthcare that my boss provides. I work a day job in property management. Along with that, my support network was just unbelievable between my girlfriend, my family, and my bandmates in particular. You know, I just always had someone there and a lot of emotional support every step of the way. So, when I was kind of culminating with everything, I thought about how much worse the situation could be. And, in honor of what I was going through and to find a way to turn it into a positive, I basically told Still Kickin’ my story. I said, ‘Hey, so I’m fortunate enough that I don’t need to do a fundraiser for myself, but I would love to raise money for you guys. So, you guys can give money to someone who does need it.'”

MIM“That’s awesome, man.”

Photo courtesy of Matt Brandes.

Matt: “So, they were willing to take that money. So, that was kind of the start of it. Obviously, everyone with 4onthefloor were willing to donate their time. And then, I also am going to be playing with the other band performing that night, Sabby White. That’s a band I’m also a part of, a soulful R&B cover band that’s basically comprised of all of my old college friends.”

MIM“Oh cool!”

Matt: “Yeah, we’ve been playing for about eight or nine years now. So, that will be the opening act and, of course, all my bandmates were happy to do that. So, that’s about it for the performances. So yeah, I just wanted to turn it into a positive any way I could and I thought this was a good way to do it.”

MIM“Yeah, it’s a great way! And Still Kickin’, I’ve gone to a few fundraisers of theirs before, they’re a great organization.”

“When Matty reached out to us about the concert and t-shirt idea, we were totally on board. When he said he wanted to donate all proceeds to Still Kickin? We were blown away. He’s taken a crappy situation and turned it into something meaningful, and we are so grateful for the support of him and his band.” –Still Kickin’

Matt: “Yeah, absolutely! Truthfully, I had never worked with any of them before and my involvement with their events has been pretty minimal. But, everyone I know who they associate with had good things to say and Gabe, our frontman, speaks very highly of them… I knew that partnering with them, the money would be going to the right people. And they’re local too, that’s important as well.”

MIM“Yeah, you’re turning a not-so-fun experience into a really positive one. That’s incredible.”

Matt: “Well, I’m doing the one thing I know I can do. And that’s just play music all night, haha. And, hopefully we’ll make some money along the way.”

MIM“Yeah! So, I saw April 10th you shared a photo of you going through your first round of chemo. So, you’ve been fairly open about this process, which is not an easy thing to do.”

4onthefloor rocking out at the Turf Club April 4th. Photo by Kathleen Ambre.

Matt: “Yeah, and I… truthfully, I consider myself a fairly private person. I don’t post much on social media. I’m happy to talk to people in person. But, I don’t think of myself as the ‘open book’ person. But, you know, that photo I posted, it was two months after I was diagnosed. I felt like I was on the homestretch of everything. So, I felt like it was the right time to bring it up. I didn’t want to leave too many open-ended questions. I wanted to say, ‘I’m okay, I’ve gotten through this. I want to make it more about the event and what we can do as a larger whole.'”

MIM“That’s great! Is there anything else you would like to raise awareness on, with Still Kickin’? I know that people had the opportunity to pre-order shirts.”

All proceeds from t-shirts purchased at the Uptown VFW show this Friday will support Still Kickin.’

Matt: “Yeah, the shirt order is actually done. We had to pull that, so all the shirts could actually be made prior to the event. So, we’ll have a handful of shirts on hand at the show. Eh, I think they go for probably $30 or so. So, hopefully, we’ll get rid of those. We also partnered with Fulton Brewery, so $1 of every Fulton beer bought at the show will go towards Still Kickin’ as well.”

MIM“Okay! I will pass that along! And, obviously, ticket proceeds go towards the organization.”

Matt: “Yup! 100{a43c2147d37bcf8b898f59ebaaf066dc60bd9fbfc7430ae40ed3f9adbaab469e} of ticket sales. I think it’s $15 pre-sale, which should be open till Thursday and then $20 at the door.”

MIM“Yeah! The Uptown VFW is right in my neighborhood, only a few minutes way.”

4onthefloor rocking out at the Turf Club April 4th. Photo by Kathleen Ambre.

Matt: “I’ve actually played at VFW with both of these bands before. So, we’re pretty familiar with the venue and it’s worked well for both of us. And, it should be pretty fun! We’re gonna do some crossover between the bands and try a few things… hopefully see if some of them work and which ones flop haha, it should be a lot of fun. It’s going to be a very loose atmosphere. I don’t want it to be a downer event at all, we’re just here to celebrate and raise some money.”

MIM“Yeah! To celebrate your success, you know you made it through the treatment. And, to raise awareness. Kind of a win-win.”

Matt: “Yeah, absolutely.”

MIM“Alright, if there’s anything else you would like to add, feel free. But, I want to thank you for sharing your personal story.”

4onthefloor rocking out at the Turf Club April 4th. Photo by Kathleen Ambre.

Matt: “Yeah I hope that for whatever reason people come out, whether they are coming to donate or just want to party and dance. All of that is on the table, we’re happy to take their donation anyway.”

MIM“Yeah well, 4onthefloor, you guys have such a fun, uplifting energy about you. So, I think just being in proximity to that, through all this, makes a difference.”

Matt: “Yeah it’s positive rock, we’re trying to send out a positive message through our music. Plus, we like to party and have fun.”

MIM“Looking forward to Friday! It’s going to be a lot of fun!”

Written by Kathleen Ambre

Photographer | Designer | Writer | Chronic Creator


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





DSC08184 2

Jessie Ware Plays An Intimate & Heartfelt Show On Her Return To The Varsity

Jorja Feature

Ama Lou and Jorja Smith Slay at a Sold Out Fine Line