Interview with guitarist
Kaj Gornitzka, Twisted Into Form (March 22nd 2007)

Hi, first off I just want to congratulate you on your new album. To new fans could you please fill us in on the history behind it all?
Kaj Gornitzka: Thanks a lot! Let’s see:
Twisted into Form basically started out as a musical playground for Erik Aadland and myself; somewhere around the year 2000 we both found ourselves without bands (he had just left Lunaris, and I had quit Spiral Architect a couple of years before), and since we had known each other since the late eighties, we began talking about the possibility of joining our musical forces. Initially it was mostly a social thing; we’d get together once a week or so, talk about music and – maybe – test some new ideas on each other. Our respective styles are pretty distinct, but we soon found that we worked well together and that each of us complemented the other’s input in interesting ways. Finally we came to a point where we had enough material that we wanted to play in an actual band environment, and we asked David Husvik if he would be interested in doing the drums. We knew his skills from Extol, which is still his main band, and I think he took it as a challenge, a way to broaden his musical horizons even further. But the truth is that we didn’t think about Twisted into Form as being much other than a place for us to vent our creativity now and then. We had no concrete plans to record, play live or anything else, it was more for our personal pleasure. This is, by the way, why it seems that it took forever to make this record... Of course, once we finally decided to go ahead and record what we had, which happened some time in 2003, things went very quickly. We booked the studio for the drum tracks and started working like mad to have things ready in time. I also got in touch with Leif Knashaug at this point, asking him if he would like to do the vocals – which he to my immense relief agreed to. I’ve known Leif for 20 years and worked with him on several occasions, including the 1995 Spiral Architect demo, where he contributed his talent as a session vocalist, and since I really love his voice, he was the first and only choice for me. And there you have it, I guess.

How has “Then Comes Affliction to Awaken the Dreamer” been received by the media?
Kaj Gornitzka:
So far almost all the reviews have been incredibly positive, at least the ones I have seen, and we are extremely happy with the reception! And it’s not only the reviews, we are getting a lot of very positive feedback from people as well, which is just as gratifying – and even more so when it comes from people who are not normally into metal at all.

I know artists don’t like to put a label on their music - but a spaceship from outer space has just landed in your backyard, and is demanding an answer - so how would you describe your music to an alien from another galaxy?
Kaj Gornitzka: Technical, progressive metal for the open minded, maybe? We incorporate a lot of different styles into our music, but our foundation is metal. Other than that, people can call it what they want – I don’t put much faith in music labels anyway. Listen to it and make up your own mind, then call it whatever you like. And alien or not, if he/she managed to get here, he/she can probably make up his/her own mind about such matters! 

If your music was an emotion, which one would it be?
Kaj Gornitzka: You would probably get three completely different answers from the other guys in the band on this, but since I’m the one doing all the talking today, I would have to go for... this isn’t easy, you know... but maybe “melancholy” would be my choice. If you consider that an emotion and not a mental state, of course... If not, it would have to be “sadness”.

Who and what inspires you when you write a song? Walk us through the creation of a song?
Kaj Gornitzka: The purely musical inspiration tends to come from all the bands and artist that inspire or have inspired me one way or the other, and since I’m fairly open when it comes to genres and styles, I pick up little bits and pieces from an array of different places. I listen to metal, of course, and I love bands like Death, Cynic, Psychotic Waltz, old Metallica, Fates Warning, Alice in Chains etc., but I also listen to pop bands like a-Ha, Kent, The Cardigans, Kate Bush and so on, and I really enjoy a lot of so-called “world music”. I’ve listened to a lot of flamenco and the more Latin inspired jazz/fusion of Al Di Meola, for instance, and I’ve picked up a lot of harmonizing ideas from Eastern European choir music, Andean music and African tribal music, to name just a few. 

Outside of the music itself, inspiration can come from anywhere, I guess, but for me it is often a feeling or an atmosphere more than a concrete object or thing. In many ways I think music is a state of mind, or maybe rather a mirror of whatever state of mind you are in at any given moment, and so your life, or the way you perceive your surroundings, is what ultimately inspire the musical output. 

The way we normally write our music is a fifty/fifty split between Erik and myself, with input from both of us in all songs. David comes in to help us with the arrangements. Now, when we first entered the studio, this is how we had done everything, but because we were incredibly fortunate and had almost unlimited time in the studio, we could expand on all our basic ideas and song structures, and we spent hours and hours just playing around with the endless possibilities we had at our disposal. This kept the recording interesting for us, too, and I think the album clearly benefited from this.

Which subjects do your lyrics refer to, and who writes them? And what inspires you when you write your lyrics?
Kaj Gornitzka: I will usually write most of the lyrics and all the vocal arrangements – with some very welcome help from Erik on the lyrics when I’m stuck. We never sat down to decide on a theme or anything like that, but in retrospect I see that there is a thread running through the whole album. In general the lyrics tend to focus on questions of an existential nature, intertwined with a rather overwhelming feeling of hopelessness. With this comes a sense of sadness for everything lost in the world... The world – and I’m speaking universally here, not necessarily personally or even individually – is not a particularly happy place these days, and I think that the lyrics are a reflection of this simple fact. Whether the topic is relationships (individual or cultural), politics, the state of the planet, employment or one’s personal feelings, the overall tendency is that human beings are not very nice to each other or their surroundings, and since most of the things we, as a species, are doing brings destruction to everyone and everything around us, the human condition does not seem to have the possibility of a very happy ending. Bleak prospects, yes, but personally I do not see too many promising lights in the tunnel. Most of the time it’s too little too late, it seems. This will inevitably affect how I write, and the lyrics end up being somewhat gloomy, I suspect. How they are later interpreted by others is up to them, of course, but I do hope that what we have written can at least be food for thought among those who listen to the album.

Who has produced and mixed the album? Are you pleased with the result?
Kaj Gornitzka: The album was produced and recorded by the band in cooperation with Asgeir Mickelson, the owner of MultiMono Studio (and the drummer of Spiral Architect, Borknagar and about 1.000 other bands), and it was mixed by Neil Kernon, who has been involved in just about everything for the last 30 years or so – Queensr˙che, Nevermore, Cannibal Corpse, Nile, Red Harvest, and Spiral Architect to name just a few. He did an amazing job with “Then Comes Affliction...” and we are extremely pleased with the final result. We wanted the album to have an organic feel to it, far away from most of today’s heavily produced metal bands, and I think Neil brought out the absolute best in our music.

Who has done the artwork? And how important do you feel it is to have a great cover?
Kaj Gornitzka: The cover is designed by a Swedish guy called Samuel Durling, who is a friend of David. We did go a few rounds with him before we were completely satisfied, but we are truly happy with the final result – he did a marvellous job with it. Actually, we were pretty nervous for awhile, because the company that Sensory uses to print their things had never done this kind of job before – printing four colours first, then a fifth (bronze) on top of the dried first print – and they wouldn’t give us any guarantees at all, so we basically had to say “go ahead, if it turns out a complete mess it’s our problem, not yours.” We could have been stuck with a few thousand useless – and pretty damn expensive – covers, but luckily it turned out great, just as it was supposed to. 

I do feel that an interesting and exciting CD cover is of great importance; I can still remember all the hours I spent looking at album covers and booklets when I was younger, reading them from end to end, looking for details and cool stuff that might be hidden somewhere (I guess I still do that if the cover is interesting enough), and that’s the feeling I want other people to have when they see our cover as well. I know both Erik and David are much more into minimalism, but personally I’m very happy that we ended up with a little more on “Then Comes Affliction to Awaken the Dreamer”. As I said, we went back and forth with the designer a lot to get to where we wanted, and I think he managed to find that difficult balance where the cover kind of mirrors what the band sounds like, both musically and thematically. Anyway, I hope people will like it as much as we do.

Do you have any touring plans?
Kaj Gornitzka: Unfortunately no touring is planned for now, due to our somewhat tricky rehearsal situation (I live in Portugal for the time being, while the others are still in Norway). If we are to go on tour, or indeed play concerts at all, we want it to be a great show, and to do that we would have to rehearse and plan everything to the best of our abilities. Since this is not possible at the moment, we’d rather just focus on writing more material and follow up on everything that goes on with our current release – like this interview! 

Let’s speculate – you have been granted a free slot on a tour of your own choice – who would be your ideal touring partners?
Kaj Gornitzka: Well, since touring with Death unfortunately is no longer possible and the same goes for Psychotic Waltz, maybe we could tag along with Fates Warning for awhile – and if Gojira joined us for a month or two I really wouldn’t mind either. It would be cool to go on tour with Metallica, though, just for old times’ sake...

How do you feel about the co-operation with your label?
Kaj Gornitzka: We are pretty satisfied with our label, actually, but since I had already worked with Ken Golden (the owner of the Laser’s Edge/Sensory label) before – on Spiral Architect’s “A Sceptic’s Universe” – I knew that he is in this for the music and therefore wants to do the best he can to promote it. Sensory is a small label, of course, with limited resources, and this will obviously limit the impact of any promotional effort, but I still think it is a very good label for our type of music. It’s far better to work with people who are truly into the music and do it for idealistic reasons, rather than getting a crap contract on a big label who couldn’t care less about what you do. There’s not much money in this music any way you look at it, but it is still nice if the label isn’t the only part involved getting paid in the end, and I know from the Spiral album that Ken is a fair man when it comes to paying his bands – if there’s ever any money to be paid out, of course – hehe...

The internet is a very important source for many metal fans – how do you use the internet and how important is it for you and other bands?
Kaj Gornitzka: As any self-respecting band we do have our own website at, and it seemed pretty impossible to avoid making a MySpace page as well – so we opened one at There seems to be more traffic on MySpace than on the website itself, and even if I personally prefer our website, there is no denying that MySpace has been an important factor as far as spreading our name to the metal community – and to people outside the community as well. For good or bad I think the net has become essential to almost every band on the planet, at least if your goal is to reach outside your own circle of friends and acquaintances. Of course, this is a double edged sword, and as an artist I do find it hard to cope with all the downloads – I did a search the day after we released the album, and there it was in its entirety, ready for BitTorrent downloads for anyone to get... Not particularly cool when you’ve spent five years making the damn thing, but then again, I don’t know if it all evens itself out in the end. Hopefully the people who hear the album and like it will go out and buy it in the end. Although I don’t really believe that to be true, unfortunately... Anyway, there is no way around the internet for today’s bands, and if you do it well, you can give your band an extra dimension through a good website.

And how do you feel about the metal scene in general at the moment?
Kaj Gornitzka: I have to admit that I’ve been a bit slow in keeping track of what’s going on the last couple of years, and I never much cared for the nu-metal stuff, but there’s definitely a lot of interesting bands emerging. I’ve never been a huge fan of black metal per se, but I think a lot of the things born from the black metal scene are becoming very exciting, even taking their music into the progressive spheres. Also, browsing through the immensity of bands that are flourishing on MySpace, there is the occasional gem hidden in the multitude, which is very promising for almost all genres. I also think it’s pretty cool that bands like Mastodon and Opeth are doing so well – they are both, despite the many obvious differences, really progressive bands. I’d have to say I’m quite pleased with the metal scene, actually; there will always be at least ten completely uninteresting bands for each brilliant one, but since so much is being released these days, chances are that there are more of the greats ones too, isn’t it?

Which song do you consider to be the best one on the album?
Kaj Gornitzka: I really don’t know, it’s almost impossible for me to judge the songs on “Then Comes Affliction to Awaken the Dreamer” in any coherent way... For me it all depends on the mood I’m in at any given time, and I have favourite parts in all the songs – some because I like them musically, others because I know the way certain things were made, or how much I struggled to get them right. I can give you one example, though, to illustrate what I mean: I have a particular connection with “Erased” because of the way we wrote it, and consequently how it turned out. When we were recording the drums for the album, we asked David to lay down about three minutes worth of drums without any input from the rest of us, just improvising while the tape was running to see what happened. This was the basis for what would eventually become “Erased” and it was an enormous challenge to write the music on top of this very loosely improvised drum track several months later. It was really difficult to make it into one coherent piece of music, but still allowing the freshness and the “looseness” to lead it. I love the way it turned out, though! And there’s an extra bonus in there for me personally, since this is the only song in which I’m also singing more than just backing vocals – hehe!

Name an album, person or event that has had a huge influence on your life … and why?
Kaj Gornitzka: Just one of those, or one of each? Well, I’ll give you two out of three, I think: There are probably a hundred albums that have been decisive for me, at different stages of my life, but Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” is probably the one that musically has marked me the most – I basically learned to play by teaching myself every Hetfield riff ever made (well, up to and including “The Black Album”, that is...), so as a direct influence on the way that I play this is an extremely important album for me. 

The event that maybe defined me the most was a six months long journey through Latin America that started in California and ended in Chile, which I did about ten years ago. It was truly an amazing experience, and I still think travelling – if you do it with an open mind and heart, that is, and with a willingness to learn – is one of the most important things anyone can possibly do. It makes you grow as a person, and – most likely – you will see the world, and the way the world works, in a different way afterwards. Actually, I think a few months’ worth of travel – not going south to a beach a week in August, but real travel – should be obligatory for everyone. They should give it as a class in school.

Which kind of music do you listen to at home?
Kaj Gornitzka: I listen to a lot of different stuff, everything from metal via pop to flamenco – anything that has a certain quality to it and can convey an honest emotion of some sort. Lately I’ve been listening to Gojira’s “From Mars to Sirius”, which I think is a really cool album in every way, and I think “Armada” by Keep of Kalessin is quite the masterpiece, actually. As I said, I’m not all that into black metal normally, but the bands who do it well are often pretty interesting. Of the more progressive kind I think The Mars Volta is doing some very exciting things, and I recently discovered an incredible Italian duo of brothers called Citriniti – really wild stuff based on bass and drums. On the slightly lighter side I should mention Norwegian band Bel Canto (their old records are amazingly atmospheric) and Anja Garbarek (daughter of Norwegian jazz saxophone player Jan Garbarek), the Spanish flamenco guitarist Vicente Amigo, and Swedish rock band Kent. Throw in some Bulgarian choir music and I think we have it! Oh, and Kaki King; she’s a pretty amazing guitarist if you want something a bit different – and that’s what we all want, isn’t it?

Vinyl has had a small comeback lately – do you still prefer “the old sound” or are you a CD/DVD kind of guy?
Kaj Gornitzka: Well, for purely practical purposes I guess I am a CD/DVD kind of guy, but in many cases I do still prefer the sound of vinyl – it has more warmth to it. If it’s a good production, that is. Actually, I kind of miss my old records these days, because I left them in Norway when I moved here to Lisbon – sadly, they are a little too heavy to drag across the continent...

Last question - do you have any famous last words for our readers?
Kaj Gornitzka: After all this I’m not sure anyone will ever want to hear another word from me, but OK: Give “Then Comes Affliction to Awaken the Dreamer” a chance – perhaps it will take a little getting used to, but it might just grow on you. Also, check out our websites and let us know what you think!

Interviewed by Kenn.

Twisted Into Form - The Comes Affliction to Awaken the Dreamer

Album available on Sensory Records.

For more info on Twisted Into Form - click on the album cover.