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|Associated acts||Crowded House|
The band was formed in 2001 by singer-songwriter Matt O'Donnell and also included Sean McVitty (guitar) and Steve Paix (keyboards).
The band released an album in 2003, Handheld Torch, recorded in Melbourne and Dublin and produced by Seymour. The album was self-funded by O'Donnell after approaches to record companies by Seymour for a recording deal were rebuffed.
O'Donnell explained the band developed from a solo recording project he had begun planning about 2000. "I always had one foot in music," he said. "During my years as an occupational therapist, I'd take time off each year and go overseas, primarily to Germany, as a solo acoustic act, sometimes with a band. I've played in bands for 15, 16 years, on and off."
He said he had written a batch of songs and began working with McVitty on demos for about six months. "Sean knew Paul (Hester) through the neighbourhood connections at Elwood. Paul played on a couple of tracks we worked up and it started to take some shape. Nick (Seymour) was in town over a summer going to see a Big Day Out. Paul contacted Nick and it went from there. We were all on it part time for the first 18 months and for the last 12 months it has been a full-time process."
Hester died in March 2005 and, in 2007, Seymour returned to Crowded House after the band was reunited for an album and tour.
In June 2007, Tarmac Adam announced it was "back jogging on the main arterial as they prepare for the next stage of the journey. It's been a while but the break has been fruitful". The band's website said Handheld Torch would be repackaged, adding unreleased tracks from the early sessions with Seymour and Hester and ambient instrumental re-mixes. In February 2008 the website featured a new song, 'You As Me' and noted that "Tarmac Adam music is being made".
The years from 2003 had brought a wealth of new life experiences that enabled O’Donnell and Paix to begin crafting a new set of songs that in 2013 would make up the album 'The History Effect'.
O'Donnell drew much of his lyric inspiration for ‘The History Effect’ from, oddly enough, one day in the year: "We'd just had the annual family Christmas gathering, and for me it just opened out into all these themes – getting older, acknowledgement, aspiration, regret, acceptance." 
Nick Seymour recognised the allure of the new material and flew to Melbourne to start recording the album in 2012 after working on demos from his home in Ireland. Reuben Alexander (drums) and Josh Barber (percussion) completed the new incarnation of the Tarmac Adam rhythm section. Recording was completed in Melbourne, Australia by April, 2012. The album was then mixed in by Rob Feaster at Quad Studios Nashville, and mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound in New York. The History Effect was released in January 2013, marking the ten-year anniversary of the release of Tarmac Adam’s first album.
The endless road vista of the album's cover reflects this ten-year journey, and the name of the band, as O’Donnell explains: "Tarmac Adam is our play on the original name for tarmac. But also that sense of 'Adam' – the first man, the Everyman – on life's journey, a journey we all travel. Just like the rear vision mirror on the cover, where we are and where we’re headed is defined by where we’ve been. That’s The History Effect."
Following the release of The History Effect, O’Donnell, Paix and Barber toured the US as a three-piece, to promote the new material with an itinerary that included a national TV appearance, various radio interviews and live performances.
Tarmac Adam also produced video clips for the songs "You As Me", "Giving It Back" and "Chalk On Slate" in 2013.
- Handheld Torch (Onesize Records, 2003)
- The History Effect (2013)