We are 48 hours away from the start of Roadburn 2016. The pilgrimage has already started and we too are packing our stuff to catch tomorrow’s flight to be back in the heavy music’s greatest haven and womb by Thursday. That’s right: the best music festival is just around the corner – and these are not only our words, but Mathieu‘s. The man behind Syndrome and Amenra‘s guitarist has played the event numerous times and will do three performances this upcoming weekend: one with his solo project and two along his brothers in arms. The pilgrim speaks.

What moments do you remember the best from the first time that you played in Roadburn, back in 2007, sharing the day with bands like Neurosis, Om, Red or Sparowes?

For me the best moments. When I see again friends that I have met. During shows and tours of Amenra. For me, Roadburn Festival is the best festival there is. Just being there was for me already a highlight.

The 2009 edition was the second one to include Amenra in its lineup, with you performing again on the very same day of Neurosis, this time for “Beyond The Pale” – considered by many to be one of the festival’s most iconic moments. Was it important for you to have that chance? Did it mark the first opportunity that you had to really meet Neurosis?

Yes, of course for us, it was an important step. Being asked to play on “Beyond The Pale”, by the pioneers of the music genre that we play. We never thought this would happen with Amenra. Neurosis is still one of my favourite band. So, for me, it was a great honor to play there.

Now, for 2016, and after playing in 2013 as well with Syndrome, Amenra has two shows scheduled, including an acoustic presentation. Will they be your last shows for a while?

With Amenra we will play a show in Spain, Resurrection Fest, in July. We are busy writing new songs. Normally, we go into the studio later this year to record it. Around mid 2017, we will start doing shows again. With Syndrome I’ll do more performances. In January, I recorded my new album in DE Kreun, Kortrijk. The new Syndrome record “Forever And A Day” will be released mid-September on Consouling Sounds – Vinyl and CD. There will be a tape release also on Tartarus Records. Around that time , I will do a tour and play a lot of shows.IV) For the acoustic one, will you play only material from “Afterlife” or will you adapt other songs?

For the acoustic one, will you play only material from “Afterlife” or will you adapt other songs?

We are gonna play the “Afterlife” songs and also new songs – and probably some covers as well. The Amenra “Alive” album will be released on 15.04.16. It’s a live acoustic album of released and unreleased material.

If you could pick a band that you would love to watch at Roadburn for the first time, what band would it be?

I would like to see Dark Buddha Rising and Pentagram.