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Meet Customer Service

Halifax punk band talks touring, writing music and inspiration

Pink and yellow neon arcade lights flash, reflecting off instruments and faces as Halifax band Customer Service takes to the stage for sound check.

Not usually a music venue, the basement of The Pint Public House is quiet on Saturday, Oct. 21, with the occasional chatter and animated sound effect. 

Matt Cheverie and Max Hayden, members of Customer Service, run on the spot, shaking out their hands and stretching their necks. Their hair is cut into long mullets, and they wear chain necklaces. 

After sound check, they have changed out of their T-shirts into vests. Hayden sports a bright purple fur vest that looks like something out of a ‘70s movie. 

When the band starts playing, the seemingly empty room springs to life. Patrons abandon their corner tables and take to the dance floor, headbanging to the thundering music.

The band, which is composed of both current and former Dalhousie students, went on tour in Ontario and Quebec over the summer and played at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, a venue where bands like The Rolling Stones and The Strokes have played.

“It was cool because so many bands have played there, we were surprised we got to play there,” says Cheverie.

Owen Harris, the band’s drummer, says they send out emails to multiple venues in a city they want to play in and hope they get a response back.

“We just try to push what we’re able to do at all times,” says Cheverie. 

How the band came to be

The band with its current members formed in 2021, with Owen Harris on drums, Nick Adams playing bass, Max Hayden on guitar and Matt Cheverie playing guitar and singing. 

Harris, Hayden and Adams have been writing music since high school. The three knew each other well as Harris and Adams are cousins and Adams was Harris’ neighbour.

They found Cheverie through Facebook Marketplace. 

“We said, ‘Here’s all our songs that we wrote at 16 years old,’” jokes Harris.

“They were like, ‘We have lyrics and chords but we don’t really have melodies. Can you try to sing them,’” Cheverie adds.  “I’m thinking, like, I’m not a singer, but I was having a really good time so I was like ‘Yeah I can sing,’ because I just wanted to hangout.”

The band says they draw inspiration from Halifax’s music scene in the ‘90s.

“We probably romanticize it, but Halifax was a huge hub, the ‘Seattle of Canada,’ so we’re all really into all the bands that came out of that,” says Cheverie. 

A dedicated fanbase

The crowd at the Customer Service show is made up of young adults, who dance and sing along with the band. Customer Service’s cover of Phoebe Bridgers’s song “Kyoto” is met with enthusiastic cheers from the crowd.

The band has cultivated a following of young fans. Despite not having music out on streaming platforms at the time of the show, many people in the audience sing along to the original songs. 

“I think Customer Service is really nice because of how fresh it is in the scene,” says audience member Will Lint.  “Especially in the maritime music scene, having young bands play and get traction. I think it’s really good.” 

Lint has been to three Customer Service shows and tries to attend one every time he comes to Halifax. 

“Regardless of if you’re a really big fan of the band, or you really know their songs. Or even if you’re into music at all. If you go to a Customer Service show, you can have a really good time with their friends,” says Lint. 

“I came here to Halifax three years ago and I’ve seen a lot of people, but Customer Service is the best band I’ve seen in Halifax,” says Dante Costa, another attendee of the show at The Pint. 

Working together

The four musicians all live together and say they work in a way that is a collaborative group effort. 

“Everyone writes together, everyone has input,” says Harris. “Someone will have an initial idea and everyone will just start expanding on it.” 

All members bring in lyrics or riffs that they have been working on and together they make it into something more complete

“It’s a very sink or float kind of way,” says Hayden. “If it doesn’t work we’re aware of it and we just drop it. But when we get something that clicks, it’s a feeling we all notice.” 

“You look around and everyone’s smiling,” says Harris. On Feb. 23, Customer Service released their debut EP, Live More Forever.

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