Sometimes the greatest gifts can change our lives. A craft or tool handed down from a former generation can bring out our innate abilities and modify the course of our lives. Adam Morford, creator/artist behind Morfbeats artistic percussive sound sculptures, visited his grandfather one winter a few years ago when a welder his grandfather used most of his life to craft was handed down. Adam, a man of great family values and heritage, embraced the gift.
“When it all started I wanted to make an instrument, not a cowbell or something typical. I wanted to essentially put all the sounds that weren’t available to me, in one instrument. Just the sounds that I liked, reminiscent of sounds used in movies, the darker scarier sounds.” ~Adam Morford
He was sketching one night and had an epiphany. He realized he should embrace himself and make something faithful to his origin and not just design what the world wanted him to. He is the creator, and this is his great invention. It didn’t have to look like anything that existed in the world. He allowed himself the freedom to be his own man and part from the preconceptions of the world. He made a bell the next day twice as large as anything he had ever made. That was the moment the walls came down, and it just happened, the signature instrument, the Marvin. It was June 23, 2016, Morfbeats became a reality.
Since then he and his brother manufacture handcrafted original percussive instruments in Adam’s garage. They have a small stock and are trying to stay ahead of the need. Original Marvin’s are always made to order due to the size and scale of work it takes to produce. Morfbeats has made eight original sized Marvin’s. These are 24×24.He has made over 100 micro Marvin’s and over 100 mini Marvin’s in that time. These are the more portable version for traveling musicians. Adam just released his newest design in the Morfbeats family, the Tongue Head.
Billy Martin, writer of Wandering, percussion at Medeski, Martin, & Wood was an early adopter. After Adam, conceived Marvin he was aching to collaborate and produce even more artistic rhythm creations. He reached out to Billy on a whim and Billy was immediately intrigued. They spent some creative sessions together, and a forever friendship was made. Billy is one of Adam’s heroes.
Adam read Wandering after receiving it as a gift for Christmas around the same time as he got the welder. It forever altered his mindset about creativity and his abilities. Everything in the book resonated with Adam. The book was so influential to him. It made him leave shore and push to find himself. He is able to create instruments that cannot be bought at a store or replicated by anyone. He realized there are no rules to instruments you can use anything that makes a good sound.
This summer Billy invited Adam to present at his Camp Rhythm Sound and Magic in upstate NY. This is a creative camp for the most well-known percussionist in the World. Billy asked Adam to join and tell his story about being a sound sculpture and the process on how to build sound. There is a performance element, workshops, and ensembles. They learn new things and create music together. Adam has not felt a sense of community in Colorado and rather connected from the percussive innovators. Morford was always so inspired by Billy’s artistry, and now Morford’s hero is inspired equally by the things he does. He realized at that point, maybe he is doing something pretty cool and pretty special.
“When you do things with the right intentions, anything can happen.” ~Adam Morford
As the instruments refined, he gained the confidence and the ability to see that they could change the world of sound. Morfbeats has been quite simple in approaching the market. Most of the word is spread in a grassroots style. He made an Instagram for his mom to see what he was making and be proud of him. This sparked interest from people seeking something new and unique in percussion. Matt Maccon of Bon Iver followed him on Instagram. Adam admired the group and all they have produced. The two met and innovated new techniques in experimentation and sound.
Morford says there is no box these things are in, there is no limit to the capability of sound. Morfbeats has created new avenues for Adam to express himself. To be his own unique self, he had to create something no one else had yet something he had craved for. Adam is making waves of sound in the industry just by creating percussive devices that he needs as a musician. People agree, and they want to have a one-of-a-kind sounding instrument that bends the norms of percussion. Percussionists are craving originality in music and a personally tailored instrument.
Morford went from being the kid on the street looking up to these drummers, to them buying his creations and becoming their peer. Adam has revived the craft and re-envisioned it. In one year, he has met so many of his heroes. There are still hundreds more of people he would love to work with. He will continue to innovate and collaborate and change the way percussion sounds in modern day music.
Adam plays percussion in the band Tallgrass with his brother, and another half of Morfbeats, Austin Morford and bandmate Matt Skinner.
Visit Morfbeats to see the collection or make a purchase.