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Exclusive interview with Matt O'Donnell of Tarmac Adam

Exclusive interview with Matt O'Donnell of Tarmac Adam
Exclusive interview with Matt O'Donnell of Tarmac Adam

Tarmac Adam is the creation of Melbourne, Australia-based songwriter Matt O’Donnell and multi-instrumentalist Steve Paix. Later, Rueben Alexander signed up to play drums, and the group was completed with the arrival of Crowded House bass player, Nick Seymour. The band formed in 2001 and released their first album, Handheld Torch, in 2003. Their new album, The History Effect, was released in the U.S. today. In a recent interview with vocalist Matt O’Donnell, he talked about his start in music, Tarmac Adam and the new album.

O’Donnell found his passion for music at a young age. “It started with the trumpet, then the piano, then guitar. The first band I fronted was Wasted Daze...I was hooked. I had a band in the early ‘90s called Quarter Acre Dream playing a really healthy Melbourne indie music circuit. In the mid ‘90s I struck out on the path of the solo troubadour playing shows primarily across Northern Europe. There was one tour to the US at the time,” he said. His earliest musical influences include XTC and The Smiths, from England; The Reels, The Sports and The Church from Australia; and, U.S. bands REM and Tears for Fears. All of these influences can be heard today in the music of Tarmac Adam.

It’s been almost ten years since Tarmac Adam released their last album. As for the long time in between albums, O’Donnell explained, “Life gets busy. The guys in the Tarmac Adam project were working on other projects as well as tending to the joys and challenges of raising families. Also, we had put so much into the production of our first album Handheld Torch that we could never settle for following it up with material that didn’t give us that magic feeling. So our muse did re-introduce herself, she just took her time.” The new album, The History Effect, is something that the band is very proud of. In fact, they feel as if the album has benefited from their life experiences over the last ten years.

The first single, “Bygones,” has received critical acclaim from both critics and fans alike. It’s one of O’Donnell’s favorite tracks off the album. It was hard for him to name his favorite songs, but he did say, “Every song had moments of elation for us when we were putting them together. We love the drive and abandon of “Chalk on Slate,” the cruisy feel of “You as Me,” the groove of “Giving It Back,” and the harmonies of “Bygones.”

The History Effect is sure to please pop and rock fans all over the world. For those who haven’t heard the music of Tarmac Adam, O’Donnell said, “The melodies, lyrics and grooves have a strong pop sensibility but there is definitely an indie edge to the sound. The History Effect has a layered palette that rewards a range of listening contexts. You can play it in the car and enjoy the drive, or put on headphones and immerse yourself in the more ambient and symphonic elements. It’s a big sound.”

Undoubtedly, there will be many more great things to come from Tarmac Adam, including a tour. In the meantime, you can hear the album in its entirety by joining the full CD listening party over at Spinner.

Tarmac Adam is: Matt O’Donnell, Steve Paix, Reuben Alexander and Nick Seymour.

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