The Dublin Post-Rock Fixture Geo Postal Discuss Their Formation

Sonny Campbell hails from the great county of Galway, but whilst growing up there, he found that the nu-metal interest of his youth didn’t exactly endear him to what was happening there. “When I lived in Galway, I was never particularly connected to the music scene, outside of going to the Róisín [Dubh] or going to the Arts Festival,” Sonny tells Post-Burnout.

While he admits there was a lot of great stuff going on there that he wasn’t savvy to then, Sonny’s disconnect from the Galway music scene encumbered his desire to become a musician. After he graduated from NUIG, he moved to London for a year and a half to do his Master’s. Upon its completion, Sonny then moved to Melbourne for two years.

Despite loving Australia, Sonny got homesick and didn’t wish to continue living so far from home. “With the job I was working on, I went back to the office in London,” he says. “After a couple of months, I wasn’t enjoying it there, anymore. So, at that point, I wanted to move back, a bit closer to home, but, you know, after growing up and going to college in Galway, it just got smaller and smaller and smaller, so Dublin was a nice, bigger, proper city, but still close enough to home that I could just hop on a train or drive down to Galway in a couple of hours.”

At this point in his life, Sonny had grown past his days of Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Deftones. At NUIG, he got into electronic music, such as Jon Hopkins and Four Tet, and, when he moved to Australia, a friend introduced him to post-rock, which he felt was a nice combination of the ambience and dynamics of electronica with the traditional instrumentation of guitar, bass and drums.

Now trapped in his gaff in Dublin during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sonny sought mental refuge through music. “I think like a lot of people trapped in the house, I had an instrument there and just started playing,” he says. “I have played music since I was, maybe, thirteen/fourteen. I mean, younger than that; I took piano lessons as a kid, [Laughs] as so many people did, but it went by the wayside!

“But, thirteen/fourteen is when I started playing bass, and I played bass most of my life, but over COVID then, because I was sort of trapped in there on my own, I thought, ‘Oh, I’ll pick up the guitar.’ I had picked it up a couple of times down through the years, so I wasn’t really starting from scratch – I knew the basic chords and things like that – but I was just like, ‘If I’m going to be here on my own, I might as well pick up this instrument that I can accompany myself more and I don’t need to be part of a band.’”

For the first time, Sonny found for the first time that he had actually stuck with the guitar for a prolonged period, and inspiration kept flowing. With his love for instrumentations, particularly post-rock and electronica, Sonny began experimenting with his guitar and effects on Ableton, until he suddenly found himself with a songbook of post-rock tunes.

Proud of what he had created and wanting to show the world, Sonny began attending open mic nights, like Smithfield Creatives and The Flo Show at Workman’s. At this time, Sonny was performing with just himself and a laptop, but he wanted to play with a drummer and bassist. At one of the Smithfield Creative nights, Sonny heard a person adding an impromptu drumbeat to his tracks.

Harry Phox (left) and Sonny Campbell (right)
Photo by Julie O’Brien. Courtesy of Geo Postal

The attendee was Harry Phox, who introduced himself after the show and told Sonny that if he ever needed a drummer to let him know. “There’s not a lot of that style of music that’s being played around Dublin,” says Harry when asked what initially attracted him to Sonny’s music. “I used to go to those open mics a lot. […] But I found that […] as a drummer, especially, and as someone who doesn’t really write a lot of my own songs, it’s all about joining bands, and then when I saw Sonny play, I was like, ‘That’s probably the closest to something that I actually listen to.’”

The two bonded over acts like Explosions in the Sky, Overhead The Albatross, And So I Watch You From Afar, and God Is an Astronaut, among others. With a shared understanding of what they wanted to do, they just needed to give it a name. “Up until that point, I was just performing under my own name,” says Sonny. “The name, Geo Postal, it started with, ‘The Geological Postal Service’  [Laughs] was what we were originally going to go with! A nice post-rock pun! But it was just a mouthful to say, and if someone was like, ‘Oh, what’s your band’s name?!’ and you say, ‘The Geological Postal Service,’ they just look at you and their eyes glaze over, and you’re like, ‘OK. Maybe not.’”

After spending 2023 honing their live shows and dynamic, in March, the band dropped their first single, “Planet Express,” which gave audiences an acclimatising introduction to the project. “I don’t think in any art form, people really think about in what context it’s going to be listened to,” says Harry on selecting the track as their first single. “In the creative process, you really have to let go of all expectations to make something that has substance to it, you know? […] A finished song is like an encapsulation of all of this background work, and inspiration, and practice, and jamming that proceeded it.”

For Sonny and Harry, it’s the love of the genre, wanting to see it expand, and live opportunities that are driving a lot of their decisions. “One of the things that we’re trying to do is get a regular post-rock night going in Dublin,” says Sonny. “There’s a couple of bands that we’ve played with or seen around that we want to start doing a regular gig with, to help encourage that and find that fanbase. Because post-rock fans are pretty dedicated when there’s something on; they’ll show up.”

The first of these nights will take place this Saturday at Sin É , with Geo Postal, silverglass, and Dazgak!  Of this gig, Sonny says, “I’m hoping that can be the first, like, post-/prog/math rock night that we’re going to put on that’s specifically dedicated to that, and have that become a regular thing, to start rebuilding that scene and connecting with the community and other bands who are doing that sound. Because, exactly as Harry said, it’s hard to find.”

Harry agrees and adds, “Yeah, the scene needs a revamp, because it was a lot more prominent, I don’t know how many years ago, we’ll say ten. […] So, there was loads of great bands, like even Dave from the Albatross was telling us; mentioning a few that we haven’t heard of, because you don’t know what kind of directions they go in.” Although Harry does concede to a somewhat selfish desire with this direction. He says, “There is a bit of an indulgence to doing these gigs, that you’re kind of doing it to watch the bands, as well!” Sonny adds to this, saying, “I’m a big post-rock fan, so I just want to see more and I want to find more of these bands. If you build it, they will come!”

Geo Postal’s second single, “Steady The Hand,” will be released tomorrow. The band will perform at “White Noise: A Night of Irish Post/Prog/Math Rock” this Saturday at Sin É. Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite. You can keep up with the band here.

Tune into POSTBURNOUT.COM Interviews… tonight at 21:00 (IST) to hear our full interview where we go into further depth about everything discussed in this article, as well as the band’s upcoming festival date, the band as musical improv, the fluidity of the project, and much more. Available on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Amazon Music Podcasts.

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